Recently, I had a friend of mine, who just last week made the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League) ask me some advice to put on some weight in the upcoming months. There are so many crap supplements out there that many athletes can get confused and simply think that if they take weightgainer, it must be good. The fact is that calories are not created equal, certainly you need to take in more calories than you burn in order to put on weight but eating a ton of garbage is not the way to go especially considering that athletes need to stay quick, explosive, and strong. Today, I saw an hour long documentary on a day in the life of Arkansas football players, mainly the QB. They showed him making a protein shake with around 5 scoops of ice cream, milk, and some MuscleMilk protein. I do not know that exact details of what they are trying to accomplish but in my opinion that is no better than going to McDonald’s for a smoothie, loaded with sugar. Dairy, sugar, and protein in a shake, and that is it? One way to check your smoothie is to start incorporating ingredients that have protein, healthy fats, vegetables, fiber, and some quality carb choices in the shake itself. Much more calorie dense, not filler, not loaded with added sugar. One of the best ways to follow this is to look at Precision Nutrition’s easy to follow table to make what they call SuperShake.
Step 1: Start with ice
- Use 1-4 cubes for a thin, chilled shake
- Use 5-10 cubes for thicker, pudding-like consistency shake
|Step 2: Pick A Fruit||Step 3: Pick A Veggie||Step 4: Pick A Protein Powder||Step 5: Pick A Nut/Seed||Step 6: Pick A Liquid||Step 7: Pick Your Topper|
|Frozen banana||Dark leafy greens: Kale/Swiss chard/spinach (stems optional)||Whey protein||Walnuts||Almond milk (unsweetened)||Coconut|
|Frozen berries/berries||Pumpkin/sweet potato||Rice protein||Flax, hemp, chia seeds||Soy milk (unsweetened)||Cacao nibs, dark chocolate|
|Dates||Beets/beet greens||Pea protein||Cashews||Hemp milk (unsweetened)||Pomegranate seeds, goji berries|
|Pineapple/mango||Cucumber/celery||Hemp protein||Almonds||Iced green tea||Oats, granola|
|Powdered fruit supplement||Powdered greens supplement||Other proteins or protein blend||Nut butter||Water||Cinnamon|
|Notes: Frozen bananas give an excellent consistency. Using half of a banana is usually enough.
Dates are very sweet. Make sure to get rid of the pit first.
|Notes: Canned pumpkin is great. It goes well with vanilla.
When using beets, try roasting and removing the skin first. Beets go well with chocolate.
If you add celery/cucumber, make sure to adjust the amount of liquid you add.
|Notes: Some protein powders have thickeners added. This will increase the thickness of your shake.
Find the protein supplement that you digest well and enjoy the taste of.
|Notes: Nuts and seeds give the shake an excellent consistency.
A handful is usually enough.
|Notes: Less liquid = thick shakes. –More liquid = thin shakes.
Adding liquid at the end of the process can improve how the shake initially blends.
|Notes: A little goes a long way.
Cinnamon is good with vanilla and pumpkin.
So, how about an example? (JB’s recommended favorite)
- Step 1: 5 ice cubes
- Step 2: ½ frozen banana & 2 pitted dates
- Step 3: 2 kale leaves & 1 tsp of powdered greens supplement
- Step 4: 2 scoops of plain pea protein powder
- Step 5: Handful of walnuts
- Step 6: Water (just enough for it to mix)
- Step 7: Top with a few sprinkles of coconut
- Step 8: Drink. Feel smug about getting more nutrition than most people get in one week.
Some of the ingredients are not available in typical grocery stores, but here are ingredients that I know you can find at a local food store with supplements needed. The beauty of this, is that there are so many variations you can try until you get the taste you prefer.
- Ice cubes
- Use a Greens Supplement such as Greens+ Wild Berry or Superfood (Biotest) if you do not want to put vegetables in the shake
- Protein 1 or 2 scoops of Metabolic Drive ( whey+ casein protein) from Biotest
- Frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- 8-16 oz of unsweetened Almond Milk, milk, or water
- Flax seeds (scoop or two)
- Natural peanut butter (I like to add a scoop to mine as well)
This is one way of creating a simple and significant improvement in one’s nutrition throughout the day. If you do not know what else to do besides this, a few principles to live by are…
- Eat protein and a vegetable at every meal
- Drink plenty of water
- Get good amount of sleep
- Take fish oils and fiber