Why I refuel after a workout and my daily eats

Happy Wednesday, my friends! First and foremost, I’m so glad you enjoyed yesterday’s post about my confessions from the world of fitness. You never know how things will fly with readers, and it went well. The best part about sharing that post is your comments. It seems that those of you who work in the medical profession agree that you’ve also “seen it all” in your workplace. I bet you have, and I’d love to read your confessions one day.

But today, it’s all about food. In addition to sharing a look at every single thing I ate on a recent weekday, I’m also talking about fueling up, most importantly refueling after a workout.

How and why I refuel after a workout

When I first started getting into fitness and resistance-training many moons ago, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t building muscle as quickly as I had hoped. I remember calling my older brother, who was the one who convinced me to sign up for a gym after work, and he told me I needed to have a protein shake after my workout because I was waiting far too long to eat dinner after finishing my sessions. This idea was foreign to me at the time (which seems shocking, based on the fact that I ended up getting into fitness), but I took his advice.

From that day forward, I was adamant about drinking a little shake within 30-45 minutes of finishing a strength-training workout, and all of a sudden, I started to notice some little gains in my muscles. Just like that, I became a believer. And since that revelation so many years ago, I’ve been all about post-workout refueling. 

Why? Because after a tough workout, especially after strength-training, you have to put some nutrients/protein/sugar/carbs all back into your body so it can repair itself. While there are plenty of healthy and easy food options for refueling, I almost always reach for something in liquid form.

Introducing the Berry Almond Nutmilk juice smoothie 

As a Naked Juice ambassador, I recently had the chance to try a brand new beverage the company is debuting next month, Berry Almond Nutmilk, packed with plant protein. And I decided to use this smoothie as a refuel for my past few workouts …

Naked Juice Berry Almond Nutmilk

Boy, it’s tasty. A berry-flavored almondmilk smoothie with 11 grams of soy protein and a ton of fruity goodness is quite the refreshing treat as a snack any time of day. Not to mention, this creamy bottle has 26 blueberries, 8 blackberries, 2 raspberries, 1 strawberry, 24 almonds, 1 and 3/4 apples and 1/3 of a banana. I’ve actually enjoyed popping it in the freezer for a little while to make it into a slushy, as well. A delicious refuel.

Be smart about your refueling

But I don’t always have a smoothie like this after each sweat session — only the longer ones that require it. That’s because you need less refueling after gentle yoga, than you do after a two-hour power-lifting session. Don’t let every workout make you think you should down a shake — you’ll be adding unnecessary extra calories at that point. In fact, you have to be careful not to overdo it with shakes and smoothies and other high-calorie liquids. If you’re planning to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner within an hour of your workout, you’re probably okay without any of them. However, I find that fast-acting shakes and smoothies revive me much quicker than food, and I don’t always have the chance to sit down for a full meal within that hour time-frame. Of course, there are plenty of studies that say you have a larger window than an hour, but I’ve always felt that one hour is what’s best for me. And that’s the key right there. Find what works best for you.

Now that we’ve covered refueling, let’s get into the food …

What I Ate Wednesday

Each week, I take a moment on Wednesday to share with you pictures and descriptions of a full day of my eating. In no way are my eats altered due to the fact that photos will be taken, and I usually choose a different day each week. The point of this weekly post is nothing more than to share some insight into real-life eats.

What I Ate Wednesday via A Lady GoesToday, I’m recapping everything I ate on Monday of this week. On Monday, I taught classes at Orangetheory Fitness, worked and got in a workout while teaching BODYATTACK in the evening.

Breakfast at 7:45 a.m.

Breakfast smoothie bowl 6.22Ugly but good: Many times my real meals aren’t all that pretty. Here’s a great example. I started the day with a green smoothie bowl, full of spinach, kale, blueberries, protein powder, veggie powder, half of a banana and soy milk. It may have been a dark mud color, but it was tasty and nutritious. I enjoyed it alongside some hot green tea, sweetened with stevia and soy milk. Good stuff.

Lunch at 12:45 p.m.

Leftovers lunch 6.22Leftovers are the best-overs: On Sunday night, Dave made me some grilled salmon, and there was enough to save for the next day. I had that extra salmon, grilled zucchini and squash, as well as two fried eggs for my mid-day meal. It’s not often that I get to enjoy salmon for lunch, so this made me very happy. I may or may not have mixed all of this goodness together in each bite.

Snack at 4:45 p.m.

Tasty snack 6.22Snack time: This little platter features some pineapple slices, raw almonds and a mini GoMacro bar, and it was the perfect combination of food to pep me up for my workout. And would you like to know something? Those pineapples are from a can.

Post-workout refuel at 7:30 p.m.

Nutmilk protein shake 6.22Fueling up: I so look forward to my post-workout shake. After I got home from teaching and doing BODYATTACK, I reached into the freezer to find my Berry Almond Nutmilk almondmilk juice smoothie from Naked Juice getting all slushed up for me, and it was delicious. (Please note the fuzzy photobomb, as well.)

This brand new product from Naked Juice is a non-dairy juice smoothie full of nutrients. It’s gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan and has no added sugar. And by the way, Berry Almond Nutmilk will be available nationwide in stores in July, as well as another flavor, Peachy Almond Nutmilk, so if you’re in the market for an easy breakfast, snack or post-workout option, check these puppies (and my puppy!) out.

Dinner at 8:30 p.m.

Turkey burger dinner 6.22A regular appearance: Not a week goes by that Dave and I don’t have turkey burgers for dinner. Monday night featured grilled turkey burgers, topped with cheese, tomato, avocado and salsa, served on a toasted whole wheat thin bun, with some roasted veggies on the side. True story: Dave likes his veggies slightly un-done, while I like mine over-done. The solution? I pull half of them out of the oven a few minutes early for his plate, and let mine sit in there a bit longer. 

To finish off the night, I had some vanilla soy milk straight from the carton. And that was it for eating.

Alright friends, on Wednesdays, my routine is always the same. I teach BODYATTACK at lunch, work and then teach two classes at Orangetheory Fitness in the evening. Have a great day doing whatever it is that you do on Wednesdays. 

Read more daily eating recaps

Each week, “What I Ate Wednesday” is hosted by Peas and Crayons for bloggers to showcase their eats to the world. If you want to see more food recaps, check out some of my posts from the past here:

  1. A full day of eating in pictures
  2. Another full day of my eats and drinks
  3. Real food isn’t always pretty
  4. Do you have a balanced dining out strategy?
  5. What I ate and drank all day
  6. Three meals, two snacks and a shake
  7. Food trucks and rest-day eating
  8. Plenty of protein at every meal
  9. Colorful fuel for a day of training
  10. Long days of training require a lot of food
  11. Making do on “What I Ate Wednesday” 
  12. Healthy foods for a rest day
  13. Who doesn’t like pictures of food?
  14. A look at a full day of eating in pictures
  15. Snapshots from a day of delicious meals
  16. Pictures of food, because you like them
  17. Food pictures and the juice cleanse that wasn’t
  18. A look at what I really eat in a day
  19. What I ate in the Sunshine State
  20. My weekend eats and a little narrative
  21. Stories about food and yesterday’s meals
  22. A day of eating and some commentary
  23. Do you want to know what I ate yesterday?
  24. Healthy challenges and foods from my day
  25. Eating, napping and eating again
  26. Filling up on healthy food before the holiday
  27. A perfect birthday at home and my eats
  28. Top blog posts, reader stats and my food
  29. A different kind of training and my food
  30. Joining a healthy green movement and my eats
  31. Must-try veggie pasta tip and my eats
  32. Are you eating this sweet and satisfying fruit?
  33. What a difference a week makes and my eats
  34. On Wednesdays we look at pictures of food
  35. Food, drinks and a very hydrating giveaway
  36. Front-loading all the healthy this week
  37. MealEnders giveaway and back to healthy food
  38. Eating, drinking and sharing the pictures
  39. I don’t like bad people, I do like good food
  40. Smart training nutrition tips and my meals
  41. “What I Ate Wednesday” and a Phenoh 7.4 review
  42. What my daily meals look like in pictures
  43. Food pictures from a light and healthy day
  44. Life lately and a look at all of my meals
  45. What’s normal to you? (And my daily eats)
  46. A bit of chatter and “What I Ate Wednesday”
  47. How you eat beets and a look at a day of food
  48. What I ate yesterday in the Sunshine State
  49. A full day of lazy eating from the weekend
  50. Every thing I ate yesterday in pictures
  51. BlogFest 2015 and “What I Ate Wednesday”

**Please note: I’m a Naked Juice Ambassador, and this post is sponsored by Naked Juice, but all the words, thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for getting behind an awesome brand, who is so kind to support A Lady Goes West. 

Questions of the day

How do you refuel after a workout?

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten lately?

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50 Comments

  1. I don’t have anything specific to say other than to let you know how much I enjoy starting my weekday mornings with your blog.

    I do love the Wednesday posts about food though. I can’t get enough foodie photos. And I love that you mix your eats together because I do the same thing. Especially when eggs are involved.

    Have a happy Wednesday! Hi Rudy!

    1. Rudy says hi to you, Courtney! And if he ate people food, I think he’d like all the same things as us. I just know it heheh! 🙂 Thanks for the blog love, my friend.

  2. I always eat eggs and veggies after a workout but because of my long commutes to work during the week I’ll have a protein shake with water mixed in only to refuel right away. I like that you stated they are not always needed. I think protein bars & shakes can be overdone by some. I like your smoothie bowl idea. It’s like an acai bowl! You just gave me so many recipe ideas!

    1. Hi Megan, I’m not sure why, but slurping a smoothie out of a spoon is so much better to me than drinking it heheh! But that would make it hard to have on-the-go of course. Nice work on your healthy post-workout eats and refuel! Happy Wednesday! 🙂

  3. Naked Juice is a great way to have healthy fresh food on the go. I always grab one in every airport I go to, so I can have a healthy snack on the plane while everyone else has their fast food or peanuts. I am starting to explore more post-workout fuels and find that something like Naked juice is much easier for me to stomach than a lot of other things. Lately I’ve been really into oatmeal for breakfast. I just re-tried it for the first time and found it to taste much better than I remember!

    1. Hi Jenna! Well you know, I’m an overnight oats gal of course. Good for you for trying new things. I always get Naked Juice at the airport too! The green one usually. 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

  4. I am totally with ya on the protein or meal after I quick workout. I often find that I just get starving and make bad food choices if I wait!

    1. Ditto, Hilary! It’s not good to end up famished and standing in the kitchen in front of all the bad stuff heheh! 🙂 Happy WIAW!

    1. Hi Lauren! They are great. I look forward to them too, especially after a hard workout, when I know I’ve got a shake waiting for me heehhe! 🙂 Happy WIAW!

  5. Yep, big believer in getting in a mix of protein and carbs soon after a workout. I usually do a protein bar since that has carbs too, but this Naked Juice option would be ideal too. Regular protein powder or shakes don’t usually have carb, which is important for replacing glycogen in that PWO window

    1. Hi Mo, Most of my protein powders do have carbs, I always check for that, because yes you are right, we need cards just as much as protein to rebuild. Glad you’re a believer in the benefits of the PWO hehe and loving that acronym. Have a great day!! 🙂

  6. Wow, I didn’t know they made smoothies with almondmilk now- awesome!! I agree with fueling after a workout with protein- it’s so important and really makes a difference. P.S. I want that smoothie bowl!

    1. Hi Katie! Only a healthy living blogger would think that smoothie bowl looks good. hahah! LOVE it. I bet you have some good refueling options after all your tough races and events. Happy Wednesday!! 🙂

    1. Hi Jen, There are many times when I just use protein powder and water (sometimes with a little icy chill to it), and that gets the job done too. Happy Wednesday to you, lady! 🙂

  7. After running, I always have tart cherry juice. It’s great to prevent cramping! I don’t have much of an appetite after working out but try to force some food down because it’s so important. Love your idea to freeze the Naked juice..definitely trying that!

    1. Tart cherry juice? Totally cool! I’ve heard that cherry juice is good for you. And you’ve got to get a little freeze to your smoothies sometimes. Maybe you can freeze your tart cherry juice? heheh! Happy Wednesday, Gretchen!

  8. Ashley, I love that your meals are mostly whole food, veggies, meat and fruit!! I actually like protein bard (Double Chocolate Chunk Quests) more than chocolate bars and will just over rely on those when I get busy instead of whole food because I’m addicted. This is why food prep is important!!

      1. haha Ashley, I can’t believe it! No Quest bar ever?? That’s pretty amazing, you should just stay on that train forever. If you do try it, I highly recommend double chocolate chunk and cookies and cream. Make sure they are soft to squeeze – an old Quest is no bueno. 😉 Have a great weekend!

        1. So you’re saying if I have a Quest bar, I may develop an expensive habit? hahah! Good to know:) Hope you have a great weekend as well, Jill!

  9. I absolutely love your blog! I’m a Les Mills group fitness lover/participant (my favorites are attack and grit) and sometimes are workouts look very similar. 🙂 You are a great example of leading a healthy yet balanced and fun lifestyle!

    I’m a big fan of smoothies after a workout (usually frozen banana, protein powder, spinach, almond butter, almond milk, ice). That Naked almond milk smoothie looks amazing–will have to try!

    1. Hi Erica! Oh my goodness, thanks for saying hi, fellow Les Mills friend. I’m always looking forward to a post-workout smoothie, and can’t wait to have one after teaching BODYATTACK today. Your smoothie creation sounds similar to many of mine. Hope you have a wonderful and balanced week, full of fitness and some treats! 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

  10. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Naked Juice has a ton of sugar and no fiber, so your body doesn’t digest the sugar the same way it would as if you were eating the fruits and drinking some water. How is that healthy?

    I like how naked juices taste but when I discovered that I stopped drinking them.

    1. Hi Emma, Of course you can always voice concerns about products, so thanks for speaking up. However, this particular almondmilk juice smoothie does have dietary fiber — 5 grams in fact. And there is no added sugar, only the natural sugar from the fruits included. Therefore, yes, you are getting nutrients from drinking it. I can’t speak to every single Naked Juice product out there – but overall, your body does take in some of the nutrients, and these juices are far healthier juices for caloric intake than many other things out there. And boy they taste good, which I know you’d agree with. 🙂

      1. That’s great that this one has fiber. Maybe it’s because the almond fiber doesn’t get stripped like the fruit does with the other juices. I’m happy to hear it! Like I said, I only stopped drinking them because of the sugar/fiber ratio being off, but I’ll be sure to try this. Maybe you can get them to figure out how to to strip the fiber in their green juice 😉 Thanks for responding!

  11. I’m currently drinking my protein shake after my morning workout! So yummy and also an easy way got me to get in some fruits…I always add blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. Yum!

  12. I with you about the difference having some protein fairly soon after a workout. I have not been too good about getting enough protein in my day, and I definitely feel like it is effecting my workouts.
    Happy WIAW!

    1. Hi Heather! I know, I know — not always easy. And you can get good protein from a lot of things outside of meat, like Greek yogurt, protein powder, eggs, almond butter, cheese, soy milk, etc. All the good stuff heheh! Good luck adding more:)

  13. Loved your meals girl, I was actually most intrigued by your morning smoothie, that is one interesting color! I really do agree that working out required proper fueling, and it is something I did not accommodate for myself in the past. Thank you for sharing your insights :).

    1. Hi Niki! You’re so welcome. My dark ugly smoothie intrigues you, ehh? AHhaha! Good! It sure was tasty. Here’s to a happy and healthy Wednesday for us both!

  14. Oh my, don’t even get me started on the things I’ve seen (or heard) working in healthcare! I couldn’t do a post about it because my content is primarily food but I’ll share the most recent thing that happened with you. I have to do transvaginal ultrasounds where we stick a camera up women’s hoo hahs. Btw, I had no clue this was a part of the field before I started the program. But anyways, after I explained it to one of my patients recently, she said she was, ahem, constricted in that area and asked if I could stick it up her butt instead- LOL!!! I guess that hole was looser? Okay, sorry. I’m stopping now. 🙂

    That nut milk sounds scrumptious! And I like your point about not needing to refuel after low impact workouts. That’s important to mention, especially if someone’s trying to lose weight!

    p.s. I love the pic of Rudy! 🙂

    1. ahahahhaha Sarah! I think this is the first time “hoo hah” has made it onto my blog. So THANK YOU for that. Hilarious stuff!!! 🙂 And Rudy says hi to you!

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