Whew! You just finished a tough strength-training sesh at the gym. You aren’t ready for a full meal yet, but you want to replenish your energy. How about a high-protein smoothie? Fast and easy to make, totally portable, and extra yummy, protein smoothies are an excellent post-workout snack, especially for those who want to gain muscle.
Not sure how to make smoothies for muscle gain? You’ve come to the right place! First, let’s learn why protein is the macronutrient your muscles need to grow. Then, check out 10 great high-protein smoothie recipes from all around the internet. You’ll be sure to find a smoothie that will hit the spot.
Why You Need Protein to Build Muscle
Protein is one of three macronutrients your body needs in large quantities in order to function. (The other two are carbohydrates and fat.) In particular, the role of protein is to build and repair your cells. This includes the cells of your muscles.
Resistance training (also known as strength training or weight training) causes microscopic damage to your muscle tissue. This may sound bad, but it’s actually a good thing. When you consume protein after a strength-training session, the amino acids in the protein will get to work repairing your muscles. With the help of certain hormones in your body, protein creates new muscle cells. The result? Your muscles become stronger and bigger!
(Note: Muscle gain happens when you perform resistance training to fatigue, meaning you get close to failure. You can gain muscle mass by performing a low number of reps at a high weight or a high amount of reps at a moderate weight. The key is to push your muscles close to – but not over – their limit.)
When Should You Consume Protein?
Many exercisers understand the importance of eating before a workout to give their body the fuel it needs to perform. However, it is equally important to replenish your body after a workout.
Eating after a workout may seem less intuitive, mainly because you may not feel very hungry right after laying it all down at the gym. However, an exercise session will deplete your energy stores, so eating allows you to refuel. Additionally, research has found that right after a workout, your body may be primed to use glycogen and protein to repair itself.
How soon should you eat after a workout? Generally, you should try to eat something within 45 minutes of exercising. According to some research, delaying your meal after working out could lower the rate of glycogen synthesis.
If you aren’t ready to tuck into a super-sized entrée right after getting home from the gym, a muscle protein shake could be the perfect way to get protein into your body without overwhelming your appetite.
How Much Protein Should You Put in Your Muscle Gain Shake?
How much protein do you need in your post-workout smoothie? Try for between 0.14 and 0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you are looking to gain muscle mass, then lean toward the higher end of the spectrum. For example, a 170-pound person can add as much as 39.1 grams of protein to their post-workout smoothie.
What happens if you add even more protein to your smoothie? Will you get even greater muscle gains? Nope. Your body can only process so much protein. Any excess that you consume will be passed through your urine. That’s not a very good use of your high protein smoothie. Also, eating especially high amounts of protein could result in kidney stones. Yikes!
One last thing to consider is…carbs! No matter what the latest diet craze says, carbs are not the enemy. In fact, you need them to refuel your glycogen after your workout. When adding carbs to your post-workout smoothie for muscle gain, look for complex carbs. Many vegetables and certain fruits can be excellent sources for low-glycemic index carbs.
Ready to try some tasty muscle protein shakes? Here are some of the best protein shake recipes for muscle gain.
10 High Protein Smoothie Recipes
Below are some of the yummiest and protein-iest smoothies for muscle gain. These high-protein smoothie recipes come in many flavors, but all are simple to make with the right ingredients.
Unless noted otherwise, the instructions on making your protein shake for muscle gain are the same. Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Each recipe calls for the addition of protein powder. There is a nearly endless amount of protein powders available, and they can be found at most health food stores. Many gyms also sell protein powder. If you aren’t sure what protein powder to buy, consider asking a personal trainer at your gym.
1. Peanut Butter & Jelly
From: Men’s Journal
Nutrition: 31g protein, 35g carbs, 20g fat
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 4 ice cubes
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp strawberry spread
- ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 scoop of strawberry whey protein powder
2. Avocado Spinach Fitness Smoothie
Nutrition: 14g protein, 15g carbs, 21g fat
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- ½ avocado
- 1 tsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/3 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp walnuts
- 1 tsp dark chocolate nibs
- 2 tsp coconut flakes
- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- ½ cup soy milk
- 1 scoop protein powder
3. Tropical Haven
Nutrition: 45g protein, 75g carbs
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 tbsp of honey
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ cup mixed frozen berries
- 3 mint leaves
Note: Throw everything in the blender except the yogurt and some of the coconut. After blending, add the yogurt on top and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
4. Super C Smoothie
From: EōS Fitness
- 1 ½ cup frozen mixed berries and cherries
- ¼ frozen banana
- 8ox water
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp Camu Camu Berry Powder (optional)
- 1 scoop of protein powder (optional for additional protein)
5. Chocolate Cherry Awesomeness
From: Men’s Health
Nutrition: 56 g protein, 47 g carbs, 13 g fat
- 12 oz. water
- 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder
- 2 cups of sweet dark cherries (make sure to remove the pits!)
- 1 fistful of spinach
- 1 tbsp of walnuts
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tbsp dark cocoa powder
6. Bahama Bro
From: Men’s Journal
Nutrition: 46 g protein, 59 g carbs, 8 g fat
- 1 ½ cups frozen pineapple
- 4 ice cubes
- ½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup canned light coconut milk
- ¼ cup 100% pomegranate juice
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
7. Power-Packed Green Delight
From: EōS Fitness
- 1.5 cup coconut milk
- 1 small avocado
- 1 banana
- 1 kale leaf
- 1 small handful of almonds
- 1 scoop of ice
- 1 scoop protein powder
8. Almond Alchemy
Nutrition: 40 g protein, 50 g carbs,
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
9. Blueberry Oatmeal Smoothie
From: Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: 18 g protein, 44 g carbs, 4 g fat
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup oatmeal cooked
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Water to create desired consistency
- 1 scoop any flavor protein powder optional to add more protein
10. Caramel Coffee
Nutrition: 51 g protein, 25 g carbs, 6.5 g fat
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1 tsp sugar-free caramel creamer
A Delicious Treat for a Job Well Done
Are these high-protein smoothies starting to make your mouth water? Run out to the grocery store (or order delivery) and stock up on the ingredients. Next, invest in a high-quality blender and keep it prominently placed on your kitchen counter. It’ll help you make your post-workout smoothie when you come home quickly and easily. The last step? You won’t build muscle without putting in the hard work. Make sure you develop a well-balanced strength-training plan and then stick with it. When that last rep feels extra tough, just remember that you’ve got a delicious muscle gain shake calling your name at home. Find an EōS Fitness near you.