As Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena notes, if you’re sore, tired, sweaty, and dirty — day in and day out — you’re doing it right. But whether you’re jumpstarting your fitness program or building on a solid foundation (because, no excuses) you’re going to need a serious recovery plan to train hard, injury free.
In addition to deep sleep, myofascial release, foam rolling, cross training, and supplemental bodyweight work, you’ll need to ensure your protein intake is on point. Athletes who consume protein pre and post exercise generate more muscle mass and recover faster, according to a study in Frontiers in Nutrition.
The good news? You can keep it simple. We tapped smoothie-lover, Spartan Pro and OCR coach Mark Batres for his favorite post-workout protein shake to get you started. It’s packed with protein powder so you'll feel fuller longer (think: meal substitute!) and you’ll recover faster as you ramp up your fitness routine… because nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated, and recovery for tomorrow starts today.
Plus, read on for a couple of RD-approved hacks from Oldham Carnes to up-level your smoothie game and get a dessert-like fix.
The Ultimate Spartan Protein Shake: ‘Banananog’
Anyone who knows Mark Batres knows he’s a badass. Not only is he an OCR phenom, but he’s also married to Spartan Pro Natalie Miano. When he’s not hitting the trails, he’s running a successful racing and fitness coaching business and helping her raise their two children. Bottom line: He’s a busy guy. But true to his Spartan nature and grit, he never misses a workout — he just follows it up with this smoothie recipe that’s ideal for his on-the-go lifestyle when he’s in quick need of recovery support and breakfast.
Why Batres Loves This Banana Protein Smoothie
This calorie- and carb-dense, post-run recovery smoothie is Batres’ first meal of the day.
"I like this recipe because it’s the ideal recovery smoothie,” he says. “It’s loaded with potassium — a mineral and electrolyte that endurance athletes need to maintain energy levels and muscle contraction — and the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat to kickstart recovery right after my workout. This is my one and done recovery meal!"
The 'Banananog' Recipe
- 2 Frozen bananas
- 1 Scoop Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder (vanilla)
- 2 Dates, pitted
- 1 Tbsp Almond butter
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 1/4 Cup Organic Protein Almond Milk (Unsweetened vanilla)
Easy: Combine the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until desired it reaches your desired thickness. Drink up!
BONUS: 2 Extra RD-Approved Smoothie Tips
Looking for more smoothie hacks? Try these fail-safe tips from Oldham Carnes to make the most of your protein shakes (and get your sweet-tooth fix, too).
1. Get Your Dessert Fix (the Healthy Way)
Add a scoop of dairy-based protein powder to oatmeal and peanut butter.
“This high-protein meal or snack can make you feel like you’re eating a chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookie,” she says.
2. Maximize the Protein in Your Smoothie
Add ½ to 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder to a non-fat vanilla (or plain) Greek yogurt.
“It’s one of my all-time favorites and can top out at over 30 grams of protein,” Oldham Carnes says. “This is about equivalent to eating 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast, but it tastes like you're eating vanilla frosting.”