Post-Workout Smoothie Essentials

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Smoothies make ideal post-exercise treats. Depending on where you seek refreshment, though, you could end up with a calorie- and sugar-packed slushy. Get out your blender instead.

More: Post-Workout Fuel You Need

"With the right ingredients, smoothies can jump-start recovery by providing carbs, protein, essential fatty acids, electrolytes, and antioxidants," says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in Jacksonville, Florida. Pick at least one ingredient from each category of our smoothie builder to create the perfect shake. (To stay lean and fuel your workouts, try Bicycling's Go Faster Eating Plan). 

More: 4 Delicious Recovery Smoothies

Pour the Foundation

1 cup milk of choice (adjust amount accordingly). A study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that drinking fat-free milk post-workout promotes muscle gain and fat loss. Not convinced? Find out more of the Benefits of Dairy for Cyclists.

Reinforce It with Protein

Silken (soft) tofu Provides soy protein and a milk-shake consistency

Ricotta cheese Contains whey protein, which bolsters muscle repair after a ride

Greek yogurt Twice the protein of regular yogurt, for a more satisfying smoothie

Add Sweet Touches

100% pomegranate juice The phyto-nutrients ease muscle soreness

Frozen fruit Most, especially berries, contain high levels of antioxidants

Pumpkin puree Beta-carotene revs up immunity and promotes good vision

Fat it Out

Almond butter Has calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus for strong bones

Ground flaxseed Supplies a healthy dose of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat

Walnuts Heart-healthy omega-3 fats, and magnesium for muscles

Boost Flavor

Matcha Contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea

Spices Offer flavor and powerful antioxidants without the calories

Cocoa powder (natural or raw) Flavonoids for improved endurance

Opt for Upgrades

Coconut water Low in calories but rich in potassium, an electrolyte lost in sweat

Coffee Speeds glycogen replacement when paired with carbs postride

Wheat germ The most vitamin- and mineral-packed part of the wheat kernel Store it in the fridge or freezer to maintain freshness.

More: Get Enough Protein Post-Workout