Smoothies are a great way of getting nutrients into your system fast.
Whether it’s the macro nutrients (protein, carbs and fats) you are trying to get right, or more specific vitamins, electrolytes, or a combination of all of them, nothing quite liberates all of these things and readies them for absorption like a good blender.
This website was originally conceived to help people pick out products and make nutritional choices to fulfill every aspect of the Fuel – Endure – Recover cycle of physical conditioning.
So, in an effort to provide you with nutritional smoothies tailored to specific goals within that cycle, this is hopefully the first of many in the smoothie series.
The best place to start is probably with the Fuel part of the cycle and give you an energy lifting, strength boosting smoothie to take you to another level in the gym, on the track, on the bike, or whatever activity you want.
I’m a triathlete at heart, and this is a take on one of my favourite mixes from a long time ago when I was training for Ironman. Caffeine is a cyclist’s best friend – it is a very well caffeinated sport!
The Mochana is a ‘dive straight in’ smoothie. The name is my not-genius combination of Mocha and Banana. There’s not many frills in terms of fancy ingredients, but it does provide you with a good balance of carbs, protein, fat and plenty of go-to strength and endurance vitamins, not to mention the coffee to really push it up a gear.
You’ll notice my recipes aren’t scientific formulae, you don’t need to measure everything to the milligram.
Also, if you don’t have something, substitute for something similar with common sense in mind. Always think: will this make it taste funny?
Ice – 1 cup
Strong coffee (brewed and cooled) – 1/2 cup
Almond Milk* (preferably vanilla) – 1 cup
Banana – 1
Caramel Syrup** – a squirt
Cacao/cocoa – 1 tbsp (tablespoon)
Replacements if necessary:
Soy milk for almond milk.
Sweetener (stevia or coconut sugar) for caramel syrup
Avacado – 1/2 fruit
Cinnamon – small pinch (ground powder)
* The vanilla flavoured soy/almond milks really help with taste in my opinion as they are otherwise a little bland or even weird tasting, dare I say it. If you can’t get hold of the vanilla sort then you can find vanilla syrups (like they use in cafes) and add a dash.
** Speaking of syrups, I find Torani to be a good make, but there are plenty out there. You will find these products very useful for a number of things, including smoothies.
The Good Stuff
The Mochana looks like a dessert shake or something to me, but there really is a high nutritional value, and as far as fuelling the body goes, there aren’t many better for short-term energy response.
In an average Mochana, you are getting about 200 calories. Carbs are between 25g and 30g, with protein at just under 10g and Fat about 5g to 7g.
That’s the macros, and they are at a nice balance for energy purposes, and even for recovery after an intense exercise session.
There’s also a few grams of Fibre to keep you heart-healthy and regular.
Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron are present at nice base values for you to add to over the course of the day.
The banana is an excellent fruit, which gives you a lot of energy and supplies a decent amount of the electrolytes you need if you are going to get a serious sweat on.
When to Drink It?
The Mochana is in the ‘Fuel’ category primarily but it really could be a useful recovery drink.
However, cacao and a couple of the other ingredients are pretty strong antioxidants and while these are considered ‘good’ for you in the sense that they purge your body of free-radicals, research suggests it’s not such a good idea to dump a bunch in your system straight after exercise.
Part of recovery is allowing our bodies to adapt to the rigours of training and loading it with antioxidants immediately afterwards does not marry with this.
In a pinch though – or if you have some Mochana left – it’s not going to ruin you!
So…stick to using this as a Fuel, and depending on how your constitution deals with this kind of thing before working out, drink it:
30 – 45 minutes before your warm up.
FUEL – ENDURE – RECOVER