Maximize your gains after you train

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is one of several star athletes who has worked with nutritionist Sarah Snyder. AP Photo/Dave Martin

In the fourth nutrition article of our year-long Build A Better Athlete series, University of Florida coordinator of sports nutrition Sarah Snyder has nutritious post-workout shake recipes that will help athletes maximize their muscle repair and growth. Snyder, who previously was at Athletes' Performance in Phoenix, has worked with star athletes like Julius Peppers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jeff Demps.

As told to ESPNHS.com

Right after a workout, the muscle building and repair process begins. The longer you wait to take in nutrients, the longer it will take your body to absorb them and your window for recovery closes.

Each recovery smoothie recipe below includes some sort of protein, whether it's yogurt, milk or whey protein. Protein repairs muscle tissue damage and stimulates growth after a workout. Whey protein absorbs in your system quickly, while casein protein continues the process.

The other key ingredients you need in your post-workout shake are carbohydrates. The sugar you get from chocolate milk or cherry juice are two good examples of carbohydrates.

Anything with a high fat content in the shake isn't ideal because it takes longer to break down. So try not to go overboard on the peanut butter or use ice cream.

A shake is ideal for athletes after their workouts because it will digest quickly and will get nutrients in their systems right away.


Strawberry Banana Orange Smoothie
1 cup Greek yogurt for protein and probiotics
8 oz. of orange juice for Vitamin C
1/2 banana for potassium
1/2 cup of strawberries for Vitamin C and fiber

Very Berry Smoothie
1 cup Greek yogurt
8 oz. skim milk
1/4 cup frozen blackberries for antioxidants
1/4 cup frozen blueberries for antioxidants

1/2 frozen strawberries for Vitamin C and some fiber

Chocolate Banana Shake
8 oz. low-fat chocolate milk
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop of 100 percent chocolate whey protein

Strawberry Banana Shake
1 scoop of 100 percent vanilla whey protein
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 frozen banana
1-2 tsp. of honey
8 oz. of orange juice or skim milk