Looking for the perfect fuel for your next exercise session? We’ve got just what you need! This pre-workout smoothie is bursting with wellness-enhancing ingredients to support your fitness. Plus, the recipe includes a dash of energy-boosting cordyceps powder to help you take your performance up a notch. So, grab your trainers and blender, and let’s get started!
The importance of pre-workout nutrition
Good nutrition is key for a successful workout. This is true regardless of whether you’re training for a major sporting event or just doing a casual gym session. There are several reasons for this. First, it gives you the strength and energy necessary to improve your athletic performance. Moreover, consuming the right nutrients can also help to minimise muscle damage and boost your post-exercise recovery. So adding a pre-workout smoothie to your routine could definitely pay off! Each of the three main macronutrients has a different role to play in sports nutrition:
Carbohydrates – these are our principal source of energy. The body breaks carbs down into glucose, which it can store as glycogen in the muscles and liver. Our muscles use both glucose and glycogen as an energy source when exercising. Eating carbs before a workout can therefore give your body a greater store of energy to draw on.(1)
Protein – this is vital for the growth and repair of our muscles. Consuming protein before exercise could help to increase muscle mass, performance, and strength. It can additionally enable your body to recover more effectively after a workout.(2)
Healthy fats – these also act as a source of energy for the body, particularly during longer and less intense exercise sessions.(3) This makes healthy fats especially important for people who take part in endurance sports.
In addition to eating the right food, it’s crucial to stay hydrated when exercising. This will boost your performance, improve your recovery, and reduce the risk of injury.(4) So, this is where our pre-workout smoothie comes in! It contains protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, as well as several key vitamins and minerals. Plus, the drink helps you up your hydration levels. All of which makes it perfect for fueling your exercise sessions.
Refreshing and energising: our pre-workout smoothie recipe
Like all good pre-workout smoothie recipes, this drink is quick and easy to make. It’s also bursting with wellness-boosting ingredients to enable you to get the most out of your training. To begin, peel and cut up two bananas and one avocado. These ingredients are fabulous for adding a natural thickness and creaminess to your pre-workout smoothie. Not to mention all the health benefits, which we’ll look at below! Pop these into your blender, then add a cup of washed spinach. This enhances the green colour of the drink, plus adds plenty of nutritional advantages of its own. Next, in go the oats and almond milk. Feel free to swap the latter for a different type of plant-based milk if you prefer. Then add a cup of ice cubes to the mix. This ensures your pre-workout smoothie is extra cool and refreshing! Top this off with two tablespoons of date syrup, or another liquid sweetener of your choice. Agave nectar and maple syrup both make great alternatives. Of course, if you’d like your pre-workout smoothie to be less sweet, you can reduce the amount you use. Now it’s time to add our special ingredient: the cordyceps mushroom powder. This performance-boosting fungus is what truly makes this the best pre-workout smoothie – as you’ll find out later in the article! Finally, add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to bring a gorgeous depth of flavour to your drink. Blend the mixture well until it’s deliciously smooth and creamy, then pour it into a glass or smoothie shaker. Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa nibs and enjoy your pre-workout smoothie before hitting the gym!
Plant power: the health benefits of spinach
There are several reasons why spinach is an ideal ingredient to include in a pre-workout smoothie. For example, it could work to support energy levels thanks to the fact that it’s rich in iron. This mineral is vital for building haemoglobin, which helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body. That enables our muscles to function at their best during exercise.(5) Spinach can also be beneficial for the health of our eyes. The vegetable contains key plant compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which work to protect our vision. Numerous studies have found that these carotenoids could reduce the risk of conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.(6) As such, spinach might be particularly useful in a pre-workout smoothie if you play a sport that requires good eyesight! Moreover, spinach helps to support your cardiovascular health. This is because it contains compounds called nitrates, which have a positive influence on your heart. They can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow by reducing arterial stiffness and promoting the dilation of blood vessels.(7) In turn, this decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke. On top of which, good cardiovascular health will boost your exercise performance. Just one more reason to pop spinach in your pre-workout smoothie! Finally, spinach is additionally rich in vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These nutrients are all important for maintaining healthy bones. Therefore, adding them to a pre-workout smoothie could help to lower your risk of fractures when playing sports.
Why bananas are the perfect food for fitness enthusiasts
It probably came as no surprise that bananas are on the ingredients list for our pre-workout smoothie recipe. The fruit has long been a popular snack before exercise, and with good reason. Actually, many good reasons! First, bananas are loaded with potassium, which acts as an electrolyte. This mineral has several important functions, including supporting muscle contractions during exercise.(8) Indeed, studies indicate that low levels of potassium may lead to muscle cramps. Potassium additionally helps to maintain nerve function, control fluid balance, and regulate your blood pressure. Consequently, having bananas in your pre-workout smoothie could support the health of your heart. Research shows that tucking into potassium-rich foods can lower your blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.(9) This is bolstered by the fact that bananas also contain magnesium, which further assists in managing blood pressure levels. Like most fruits, bananas are superb sources of antioxidants. These defend your cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Studies link this oxidative stress to numerous harmful conditions, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer, as well as signs of ageing. As such, this is a key benefit whether you’re a gym lover or not. Moreover, bananas are easily digestible. This means that popping them in your pre-workout smoothie won’t leave you feeling heavy or sluggish. At the same time, their high fibre content ensures that you still feel satiated.
How avocado boosts your wellbeing
Avocados provide the healthy fats in our pre-workout smoothie. Evidence suggests that, as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids, avocados can support cardiovascular health. They may help to improve cholesterol levels, as well as regulate blood pressure.(10) The fact that they’re rich in potassium and magnesium enhances this positive effect on the heart. In addition, avocados are high in fibre. This has benefits for the health of your gut, as it encourages the growth of good bacteria.(11) In turn, that may support the immune system, digestive system, and even the health of your brain. Interestingly, although avocados are high in calories, research suggests they could help you to maintain a healthy body weight. One reason for this is that their high fibre and healthy fat content promotes satiety. Indeed, studies have linked avocado consumption with decreased abdominal fat and a lower risk of obesity.(12) Furthermore, avocados are bursting with bioactive compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(13) These include vitamin E, vitamin C, and several carotenoids, such as lutein. Such compounds offer a wealth of benefits, from supporting the health of your eyes to lowering the risk of chronic illness. That’s a powerful argument for popping avocado in your pre-workout smoothie!
Cordyceps: your energy-boosting secret ingredient
It’s time to turn to the star of this pre-workout smoothie recipe – the cordyceps powder. For those who haven’t heard of it before, cordyceps is a type of medicinal mushroom prized for its health benefits. And chief among these is the fungus’s potential to enhance exercise performance. One way that cordyceps does this is by improving how the body utilises oxygen. For instance, studies have found that the fungus may help to boost your VO2 max.(14) That’s the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use while exercising. A greater VO2 max could enable you to take your fitness performance to the next level. Likewise, research indicates that cordyceps may reduce fatigue and increase endurance.(15) One reason for this might be because it decreases levels of lact