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Are pre and post workout drinks really necessary? To fully achieve your health and wellness goals, the answer is yes. These drinks are generally known as being a powder that the user can mix into their own juice or shake, and provide the best benefits for that user’s fitness journey. Pre-workout is primarily known to provide energy so you can get a maximum workout, but it also assists with respiratory functions and increases blood count. Post-workout should replenish electrolytes and aid with muscle recovery.But rather than turning to expensive powdered drink mixes to help with performance, energy, and muscle recovery, you can get all the nutrients you need from these healthy pre- and post-workout juice recipes. Not only is fresh juice more delicious than drink mixes, but the natural sources are good for your body.
Before you head over to the juicer (or blender) to whip something up, it helps to know exactly what kind of fuel your body needs before and after working out. This way, you can be strategic about which ingredients you choose in order to get the most out of your workouts
What to Have Before and After a Workout:
Before a workout: Whether you're at the gym, on the trails, or just in your living room, the last thing you want to feel in the middle of your workout is tired and weak. Fueling up with carbs 30-60 minutes before you exercise will ensure you have enough energy not only to sustain you, but also to challenge yourself to crush new goals. Energy is crucial not only for powering through your workout, but also for carrying on with your day afterwards.
After a workout: You’ll also want to fuel up with a recovery drink loaded with simple carbs within 30-45 minutes of working out to replenish your muscle glycogen stores (energy stored within your muscles that gets used up as you work out). Replenishing your body leads to the most efficient recovery and growth.
Simple carbs such as fruit are the quickest to digest, which means they’re the fastest source of fuel. When you choose fruit for simple carbs (instead of bread, pasta, or pastries), you also get several vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that aid in hydration, energy metabolism, and boosting immunity. Because bread and pasta take longer for your body to break down and use, these complex carbs can be eaten with a longer period before the workout. But watch out! Breads, pastries, and pastas often have extra sugar and fillers that won’t provide the same health and nutrients as fruit.
Before a workout: You hear about protein all the time for post workout meals and shakes, but it’s also important to sneak in a bit of protein before your workout— especially if you’re lifting weights or doing strength training. This will help repair and build your muscles as you train and speed up post workout recovery time.
Of course, you’ll want a protein source that’s light and easy to digest before a workout so that you don’t feel nauseous or sluggish halfway through, like hemp hearts or hemp protein.
After a workout: While step one is to hydrate with a green juice, you’ll also want to make sure you have a complete protein source within 30 minutes of your workout. A complete protein will contain all nine essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) needed for muscle building.
Before a Workout: Lastly... caffeine, who? Any plant food that contains chlorophyll (the plant pigment that gives vegetables their green color) may help to provide smooth, sustainable energy (without the crash). For example, leafy greens, zucchini, and the green algae, chlorella.
Chlorella is a single celled green algae that can be taken as a powder or supplement. It mixes beautifully with smoothies and green juices. When combined with fruit, you can’t even tell you’re drinking algae.
Pro tip: Keep a stash of chlorella tablets in your car or work desk to fuel optimally, even if you don’t have time to make a juice or smoothie.
Before a workout: Electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium are needed for hydration and are lost through sweat. This can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and muscle cramping, so it’s extremely important to hydrate with electrolyte-rich drinks during the day and before a workout.
After a workout: Now it’s time to replenish those electrolytes lost through sweat. Electrolytes are also needed for rebuilding muscle tissue, and preventing those deadly muscle cramps that can happen after a workout or while stretching.
Fruit, vegetables, and greens are the most abundant sources of electrolytes. Rather than going for a sports drink loaded with refined sugar, a green fruit and vegetable based juice or smoothie with a pinch of sea salt will quench your thirst and provide you with some necessary nutrition— including antioxidants.
With all the benefits of a pre- or post-workout juice, it’s time to dive into some delicious recipes. For all 4 options below, throw your ingredients into the juicer for your new favorite workout accessory.
Hydrating Pre-work out Juice 1
2 sticks celery
6 mint leaves
1 granny smith apple
3-6g (1/2 - 1tsp) of Sun Chlorella Powder
The above juice is delicious, hydrating, and loaded with electrolytes, making it a great addition to your pre-workout routine. The Sun Chlorella Powder provides benefits for supporting muscle repair and reducing recovery time, as well as energizing vitamins and minerals.
Why is Sun Chlorella the best chlorella choice for athletes?
Sun Chlorella is NSF Certified for Sport, which means it’s gone through rigorous testing to ensure purity and quality. NSF Certified for Sport allows trainers, athletes, and consumers to make the best decisions possible for their health and performance.
Hydrating Pre-workout Juice 2
1/4 of a pineapple
2 medium sized carrots
1inch of ginger
2 turmeric sticks
2 whole raw beet-root
This nutrient-dense juice is a perfect pre-workout drink. The juice contains beetroot which may support production of nitric oxide levels in the body.
The research into beetroot has increased its popularity among athletes for aiding in their improved performance, especially with endurance. If you’re a marathon runner, beets are the perfect pre-workout fuel for you!
Post Workout Drink 1
2 celery sticks
1 green apple/granny smith
6 g of Sun Chlorella Powder
Handful of parsley or coriander
1 inch of ginger
2 fresh turmeric fingers
1 teaspoon of maca root powder
Post training is all about reducing. Ginger, chlorella, and turmeric are amongst some of the most potent foods in the world. This mineral-rich juice is sure to help your body refuel from a workout well done. Plus the addition of apple provides an extra dose of fiber which may help regulate your body’s blood sugar.
Post Workout Drink 2
Handful of Kale
1 unwaxed lemon with skin
Handful of basil
3g (1/2 tsp) Sun Chlorella Powder
The above post workout juice is highly alkaline and rich in vitamin C. Alkaline foods may help your body recover from lactic acid build up in the muscle tissue, which can cause muscle pain and soreness. Kale also comes chalk full of fiber, and the cucumber’s water content makes this drink a great way to rehydrate and quench your thirst.
Author: Brandi Black, RHN