What Do You Eat for Exercise Recovery?

Soy Milk and Banana Smoothie for Exercise Recovery  -  BoulderLocavore.com

I live in a very sporty city.  When moving here I was aware that Colorado was one of the fittest states in the U.S. but really had no idea how dedicated Boulder’s residents were to staying physically fit.  My first clue was when attending a cocktail party to meet my new neighbors.  Everyone moved in to our development phase within about 3 weeks of each other so there was lots of getting to know each other activities.  Once at said cocktail party, my first ‘pair off’ was with a doctor from around the block who asked me point blank ‘so, what’s your sport?’  I was a bit thrown off guard.  I actually began to panic inside my head; like when you are at a job interview and the interviewer veers unexpectedly off track asking about your hobbies.  I’d been to plenty of events where people kicked off with ‘what do you do?’ meaning for a living, but had never been nailed on my commitment to physical activity.

I feverishly searched for an answer.  Truth be told it had been a long time since I had ‘a’ sport.  I was a stay at home mom of a two year old, and had moved across the country twice in eighteen months but answering ‘packing and unpacking my household’ did not seem like the right answer.  I stroller-walked like a fiend, loved sneaking in a session on a Stairmaster when I could but really I had no sport.  I fumbled saying I liked to hike and swim, then quickly changed the subject to ask about his ‘sport’ which went much more smoothly.

Chocolate Soy Milk and other snacks for Exercise Recovery  -  BoulderLocavore.com

I always have been active, or had a gym membership, but really have not been involved with organized athletics since I was in high school.  I was an avid swimmer but candidly grew up in the nutrition Dark Ages where we were given dry Jell-O mix to suck down like Pixie Stix before a swim meet ‘for energy’ (I shudder thinking about it as I do recalling laying in the sun, on purpose, in my case on tin foil using Baby Oil and Iodine for a darker tan).

The first year of high school swim team for me was led by the school’s very temperamental Shop teacher who did not possess the emotional constitution for the histrionics of teen girls and thought candy bars were great fuel.  He was replaced the following year by an official swimmer and coach who led us to glorious success and cautioned us not to drink carbonated beverages because they were thought to effect one’s breathing capacity in some manner.  With that as my only nutritional guidance, I consumed a huge plate of spaghetti and two Big Macs on the break between the regional morning Prelim meet and afternoon Finals and though typically a fast athlete, I swam the 100 yard Butterfly that day as though I was swimming through tar thanks to my ill-advised fueling.

Fortunately things have changed and I did not realize how much until my daughter begin to swim for her High School swim team.  Candidly other than drinking water, I’d never given thought to ‘recovery’ until we were educated by a professional sports nutritionist about the finer points of fueling an athlete.  The swim team feeds the swimmers within 30 minutes of exiting the pool with chocolate milk being key for the recovery process.  I was dubious but after reading multiple studies learned it is the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein that aids recovery for endurance athletes (defined by more than 2 hours of exercise on most days), making it in the mind of many superior to sports drinks targeting the same result.  The girls are given chocolate milk after their 2+ hour workouts along with other snacks of cheese, nuts, granola bars and fruit snacks, which they inhale on their way out the pool door.

What about those athletes with lactose intolerance, or that purely don’t care for dairy milk? Silk Chocolate Soy Milk also bears the golden 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein providing it can be used as a recovery option for endurance exercise especially for those preferring a plant-based diet.

Soy Milk and Banana Smoothie for Exercise Recovery - BoulderLocavore.com

What about recovery for those pursuing regular fitness plans or activities, who are not working out at an endurance level?  Having a post work out snack of quality protein and complex carbohydrate within 30-60 minutes of working out is still important to aid in muscle function recovery.  A favorite plant-based recovery snack I love is combining 8 ounces of Original Silk Soy Milk with a frozen ripe, medium Banana in the blender.  The pre-freezing of the banana (peel it and place the fruit in a plastic bag in the freezer) creates a creamy consistency when blended with the delicious soy milk, like a milkshake.  Ripe bananas are naturally sweet requiring no sweeteners be added to the drink.

Soy Milk and Banana Exercise Recovery Smoothie

Yield: 1 smoothie

Pre-freezing a ripe banana provides a creamy consistency to the smoothie without adding ice. Additional sweeteners are also not necessary from the natural sugar in the banana. The combination provides the desired 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio great for exercise recovery especially for those preferring a plant-based diet.


  • 8 ounces Silk Original Soy Milk
  • 1 medium, ripe Banana, peeled and frozen (place the peeled banana in a sealed plastic bag to freeze it)


  1. Combine in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

Eight ounces of original Silk Soy Milk has 8 grams of plant-powered protein, 9 grams of carbohydrate as well significant percentages of daily suggested intake amounts of Calcium (45%), and Vitamin D (30%) (a dynamic duo for exercise recovery and muscle functioning).  The banana supplies 27 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of protein; combined with the Silk Original Soy Milk the 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio is achieved.  Additionally, Silk Original Soy Milk has sodium (105 mg) and potassium (370 mg) which are both important electrolytes lost via perspiration during exercise.  Coupled with the potassium from the banana (422 mg), this simple snack is a great option to get your body recovering and ready for your next exercise session!

If you have not tried Silk Soy Milk (11 varieties and flavors), you can use this Silk Soy Milk discount coupon to try any variety!

Chocolate Soy Milk and other snacks for Exercise Recovery - BoulderLocavore.com

References:  Sports Nutrition for Endurance Exercise {About Health}, 10 Ways to Speed Recovery Quickly After Exercise {About Health}, My Favorite Recovery Drink: Chocolate Milk (Renya Franco, RD), Chocolate Milk: A Better Sports Drink? {Mona Rosene, RD}

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. says

    haha if someone asked me about my favorite sport they would get the “deer in headlights” stare from me. lol I love to be active but sports… no. I will however be making this Smoothie to try after a afternoon at the gym though! yum!

    • says

      On top of the trauma of feeling like the kids left out if I DID NOT have a sport, I’m sure I was severely sleep deprived at the time, having trouble summoning the English language for the most simple of responses. Suffice it to say, it was traumatic! And pretty funny in hindsight. I’m with you on the post gym fueling Angie.

  2. says

    I enjoyed your story about moving and the doctor’s question. I would have totally froze, then had to fess up to not having a sport or even exercising much at all! Awkward! After reading your post, I want to find a sport just so I can justify making this recovery drink!

    • says

      Don’t you love it when the universe aligns to meet your needs? Or should I say Silk aligns to meet your needs?! They have so many tasty options for him to chose from. Thanks for sharing Taylor!

  3. says

    Get out! I didn’t know Silk made a chocolate soy milk! This smoothie is just what I need after my morning run…easy to make and great for recovery. Pinning!

  4. says

    I LOVE having chocolate milk after a long run, but definitely reach for soy milk more frequently than regular milk. It would be so much more refreshing as a smoothie, though!

    • says

      That’s exactly why I called for one in the recipe Jeanine! I completely agree. Love that trick with bananas to avoid adding extra sugar but getting the benefit of a shake.

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