This fantastic post-workout recovery shake was one of the first recipes I ever developed here at Eat2Run Sports Nutrition. It meets the requirements for optimal recovery being carb-rich and with protein in the ideal ratio of 4:1 or 3:1 carbs to protein. For faster recovery, be sure to drink it within 20 to 30 minutes of finishing your long or hard run.
Its base is made up of coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes, along with tart cherry juice, a powerful source of antioxidants (specifically anthocyanins) that help our muscles recover from workouts faster. The banana (or medjool dates) makes for great quickly absorbed carbohydrates to refill those depleted glycogen stores, plus bananas are a great source of potassium. The blueberries and strawberries are also sources of the sugars that your body will turn into your glycogen stores but more importantly they contain powerful antioxidants to help alleviate inflammation.
While your recovery shake should be primarily composed of carbohydrates with little fat, a small amount of protein helps to both push the carbs into your cells more quickly and kickstarts muscle re-synthesis. Hemp hearts and chia seeds provide protein as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. In order to bring the shake into the optimal ratio of between 3:1 to 4:1 carbs to protein, you can use a half scoop of high quality protein powder (such as Ergogenics plant-based protein [from hemp] or Kaha New Zealand whey [from grass-fed dairy]).
Raw cacao powder can be added if you’re a fan of chocolate! Choosing raw unprocessed cocoa powder ensures it contains the beneficial flavanols (a type of phytonutrient) known to be heart-healthy. And if you choose to add greens powder or dark leafy greens, they are full of phytonutrients known to support the immune system. Lastly, this shake contains no added processed sugars of any type. This is beneficial as sugar is inflammatory – meaning it can delay recovery – and sugar lowers our immune system leaving us more susceptible to bugs and illnesses.
(Chocolate) Cherry Berry Recovery Shake
makes 1 serving
- ½ cup coconut water
- ½ cup tart cherry juice (must be tart, not sweet or black – nothing added)
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 Tbsp hemp hearts (and/or chia seeds)
- 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, preferably organic
- 6-8 frozen strawberries, preferably organic
- ½ scoop of high quality protein powder (such as hemp protein or grass-fed whey)
- 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- add 1-2 medjool dates, pitted (for a sweeter shake and additional carbs)
- 1 scoop greens powder (such as Ergogenics Organic Greens) or handful of baby spinach or 1-2 kale leaves, washed and de-ribbed
- Place all ingredients in a high powered blender, pulse and then mix on high until completely smooth.
- Enjoy immediately; or pour into a to-go container to bring with you in order to consume it as soon as you complete your workout.
- Total carbohydrates: 50 grams (without dates), add ~15g carb per date
- Total protein: 15-17 grams
- Total fat: 2-3 grams
* carb to protein ratio is approximately 4:1 *
To deliciously healthy food and stronger faster running… Cheers,