Most people know, on some level, that nutrition is vital to reaching any goal you have. Most people would also agree, or at least acknowledge, that protein is a key cog in that wheel.
You want to be taking in enough to feed the lean mass (muscle or fat-free mass) you have and have enough to build more muscle. It is almost always a good idea to add muscle when you can.
Let's pause for station identification and allow me to dispel the myth that adding muscle automatically means you will "bulk" up because it is just that easy. It isn't. Adding enough muscle to bulk up requires a number of factors including, but not limited to: training intensity, training volume, a caloric surplus, adequate recovery and hormone levels.
Adding in some extra protein will not cause this to happen.
So, protein is important, but protein is the one macronutrient that requires the most work to prepare. Carbs and fats can be easily accessible. How do we maintain our protein intake with our busy schedules?
Smoothies, as you will see, can take on a number of different forms. Gone are the days of adding some water to a medicinal-tasting chalky powder that appeared to be more of a punishment for bad behavior that an integral part of your fitness goals.
These smoothies taste great and are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals in addition to adding some much-needed protein to your diet. Smoothies can be a great way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake for those of you who are not big fans of the fibrous carbs.
You can follow the recipes as they are prescribed or use them as a template to make your own masterpiece(s). It is also a great way to sneak protein, fruits and veggies to your kids. The boys love it when I make them their chocolate chip protein shake.
In general, I would add my liquids first. Even though I may add more water in later, I would put some liquid in before I add anything else to make sure I do not fry the motor of my blender.
There are lots of recipes out there on the web but many that I saw don’t seem to align themselves with fitness-related goals, especially those that involve weight loss.
There are going to be many recipes that are loaded with so much sugar you would be better off with a can of soda.
I spent a lot of time tweaking the recipes to ensure they tasted good but also met other criteria for the exercising individual who is desperately trying to improve their eating habits. Introducing sugar-laden protein smoothies seems contradictory and irresponsible.
These smoothies do not have any garnish or extra nonsense. This requires extra time, which for most people is their top constraint. I am also not trying to win a reality-based cooking show so the presentation has less importance. If it tastes goods, fits in with the goals and can be made pretty quick then I automatically advance to the final round.
Some people like to add cottage cheese to their protein shakes. It will add extra protein and not much in the way of carbs or fat. This is something you can experiment with. Personally, I do not like it and would not enjoy my smoothie knowing cottage cheese had violated my drink. Different strokes for different folks.
When bananas start to go bad, put them in the freezer for use in smoothies. I recommend peeling them and breaking them in half prior to putting them in the freezer.
Enjoy the smoothies at the time you make them or put them in a protein shaker, or another suitable storage device for a protein smoothie, and bring it wherever you are going. Not only does it taste great, but it can be a great ice-breaker for making new friends.
[other person nods head]
[other person nods head in acknowledgment]
"Did we just become best friends?"
"Do you wanna do karate in the garage?"
Click below to download your free cheat sheet.
[Update from Dr. Tom] I updated this cheat sheet on 3.29.18. The old version resembled something a college kid did at 2 am for an 8 am class the next day after day drinking. The updated version is whey better.
See what I did there?