A Basic Protein Shake to Feed Your Muscles

If you’re a strength athlete, you already know how important protein shakes are. As meals on the go, pre-workout fuel, or post-workout recovery, shakes need to have a basic nutrient makeup to do their job.

A good protein shake should include:

  • Protein, duh. Not any protein will do. It should be of high-quality and include BCAAs or glutamine. I prefer whey isolates, but hemp, soy, casein, or egg will do. {Tom’s note: I dig the Ultimate Pro Blend from Heavy Athletics Nutrition. Enter “SROKA10” at checkout and these generous dudes will take 10% off the most awesome protein powder around!)
  • Simple carbohydrates, typically in the form of a fruit. From berries to bananas, anything you like will work here.
  • A nutritious liquid base. Water doesn’t get the job done here. I prefer almond milk, but any type of milk, coconut water or juice will work (just keep an eye out for high sugar content if you’ve already included fruit in your shake!)

To up the nutritional ante, I like to include greens like spinach or kale in my shakes. This provides extra iron, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals I might miss throughout the day. Post-workout shakes usually include a squeeze of honey, as this simple glucose helps increase the rate of absorption of the protein. On heavy days, or days when I have two workout sessions, I’ll add a spoonful of almond butter into my shake. This adds good, healthy fats while giving your shake a creamy consistency to help you feel full. My ultimate shake recipe below is great both post- and pre-workout, or in place of a small meal.

Basic Protein Shake

Serves 1
Prep time 1 minute
Meal type Main Dish, Snack
This basic protein shake will help your muscles recover after a good workout, or provide fuel beforehand. Contains essential nutrients to build and repair muscles.

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops chocolate whey protein ((I prefer Heavy Athletics Nutrition's Pro Blend))
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach (raw)
  • 2 cups almond milk

Directions

Step 1
Add milk into blender first, to ensure protein powder doesn't stick to the bottom.
Step 2
Add the protein, banana and spinach (in that order) and blend on high until well-mixed and you can no longer see the spinach.
Step 3
Drink immediately.
  1. […] Shakes (and other supplements), while fine, just don’t get the job done.  Unless the “job” is going to the bathroom. […]

  2. Jim Hayes CSCS left a comment on January 13, 2013 at 9:36 am

    There is in fact no evidence to suggest that including simple sugars increase protein synthesis and absorption. The idea that insulin spikes aid protein absorption is just a presumption but finds no support in any scientific literature. The inclusion of simple sugars does however aid recovery through glycogen replenishment

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