Some of the top New Year’s resolutions for any year is always either getting fit, losing weight, having a healthier lifestyle or all of the above. Protein shakes and muscle milk are usually the go-to drinks to promote the development of lean muscle mass and encourage fat loss. Many people are also reaching for energy drinks to rev them up for their after-work or early-morning workout.
One of the problems with these liquid diets is the fact that they are very costly. Pre-workout energy drinks can range from $2 to $3.50 per serving. If you’re working out three to five times per week you are looking at shelling out between $24 and $70 per month. Not to mention your after-workout protein shake that will run you about the same price, if not more.
Instead of shelling out the cash for these expensive products, make some of these homemade pre- and post-workout drinks that are better for your body and your wallet.
Pre-Workout (Energy Drinks)
Most energy drinks contain workout-crashing sugars, caffeine, and synthetic ingredients that are not always great for your body or workout. These superfoods are natural energy boosters, can increase blood count for better performance, reduce inflammation, and repair cellular damage caused from physical stress.
1. Carrot and Beet Shot
When you can take a shot before you work out, you know you’re going to have a good day.
Ingredients: 8 carrots, 2 beets, 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Directions: Use a juice extractor to process the carrots and beets. Add the cayenne pepper. Take 2 ounces before your workout and store the remaining 2 ounces for up to 24 hours.
2. Apple and Kale Juice
While this one may not taste the best, green juices are packed with nutrients and enzymes that boost your energy and pack a punch.
Ingredients: 2 green apples, 3-4 leaves of kale or a bunch of spinach, a bunch of Romaine lettuce, a bunch of cilantro, ¼ lemon, thumb sized piece of ginger, a few mint leaves
Directions: Use a juice extractor or a Vitamix to process all ingredients. Drink 30 minutes before workout.
Post-Workout (Protein Shakes)
Protein shakes are s great way to obtain you post-workout nutrition. However, protein powder is a refined food that has been taken out of the original food source, is unbalanced, and won’t fill you up for long. Here are some healthier alternatives:
Homemade Protein Shake
Ingredients: 2 cups milk, 1 banana, 1 peach, ¼ cup dates, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup almonds
– Green smoothie: add 1 cup spinach (tightly packed)
– Optional extras: ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Blend dry ingredients and liquids for a short time. Add the greens and blend again. Blend the fruit and the rest of the ingredients last until smooth.
Other Protein Packed Ingredients
Here are some other protein-packed ingredients you can add to your normal post-workout smoothies: 2 tbsp. peanut butter (7g protein), 1 cup coconut milk (5g), 2 tbsp. flax seeds, 1 cup oats (11g), 1 tbsp. Chai Seeds (4g), and 1 cup cooked Quinoa (8g).
These homemade energy drinks and protein shakes are one way to help achieve a happier and healthier you in 2015.
– By Stephen Reynolds, Editor