A Banana Cacao Pre-Workout Smoothie Recipe
This energizing smoothie is made with banana and cacao powder for a rich tasting chocolate banana flavor.
With the addition of matcha, cinnamon, mucuna, whey protein and coconut oil it provides a potent boost of energy before weight training or any other kind of exercise where you need a lot of fuel for your body.
Why This Banana Cacao Smoothie is Great Before a Workout
Bananas are a healthy fruit, high in potassium, prebiotic soluble fiber, magnesium, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B6. They do have a problem though — high levels of natural sugars.
This makes them not the best fruit to eat regularly, or add to your smoothies, if you’re trying to lose weight. Right before a workout though, with all the potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, bananas are excellent.
Matcha Green Tea
Powdered matcha is actually an extra high-powered version of green tea with a mild flavor and some exceptional health benefits. It is also great in pre-workout smoothies.
The teaspoon of green matcha tea in this recipe is incredibly high in antioxidants, such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) for reducing your risk of heart disease and energizing chlorophyll that alkalizes and cleanses the blood.
Matcha green tea contains around half the caffeine of a regular coffee but it provides a much long lasting and more stable energy boost due to the high levels of l-theanine in it.
This unique amino acid counteracts excessive stress hormone stimulation from caffeine and leads to a more balanced energy and ability to concentrate effectively without the usual caffeine rush.
Raw cacao from cocoa beans is a superpowered version of all the recently praised health benefits of chocolate, without the excessive sugar and vegetable oil that usually more than cancels these benefits out.
Exceptionally high in magnesium for optimal muscle function, raw cacao also contains l-theanine for mental alertness without the high stress hormones that come with too much coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Mucuna is a potent South American herb that has the unusual ability to gently stimulate dopamine production. Increased dopamine has been shown to stimulate human growth hormone production, which in turn can increase your body’s lean muscle mass.
Powdered mucuna is great in your smoothie before a workout and there’s more on using this herb for dopamine, testosterone and extra energy here.
The spice cinnamon adds a wonderful aroma and taste to this smoothie but its real purpose is to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes.
It’s recommended to add a teaspoon of real Ceylon cinnamon like this one to any smoothie recipes with banana or other fruits with reasonably high levels of natural sugars.
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are an excellent source of slow burning energy that have actually been shown to stimulate fat burning within the body.
Like cinnamon, coconut oil evens out blood sugar spikes and adding it is recommended for any smoothies containing banana or other fruits high in natural sugars like pears, mangos or melons.
Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
Grass fed whey powder is an excellent protein to add to any smoothie but it’s especially important before a workout or exercise where your body will need to repair muscles after you finish.
Research has shown it’s very valuable to consume protein both before and after a weight training for best muscle-building results. You can read more about the many benefits of grass fed whey protein here.
Milk of Your Choice
I recommend 1 cup of coconut milk, diluted with 1 cup of water for more of the thermogenic effects of coconut’s medium chain triglycerides.
You can also use hemp milk, almond or hazelnut milk, coconut water or organic cow’s milk (if you tolerate it well). Conventional feedlot dairy milk and soy milk aren’t recommended from a health perspective.
- 1 ripe banana.
- 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil.
- 20 – 30 grams of grass fed whey protein like this.
- 2 teaspoons of raw cacao.
- 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder.
- 1 teaspoon of high potency powdered mucuna like this one.
- Half a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon.
- 1 cup of coconut milk + 1 cup of water. Alternatively, use 2 cups of almond, hazelnut or hemp milk, coconut water or grass fed, organic cow’s milk.
- Optional: A scoop of green powder, like the excellent Organifi Green Juice reviewed here, will significantly increase the health benefits of this smoothie.
How to Make a Banana Cacao Smoothie
- To make this before exercise smoothie, simply pour in your coconut milk and water, or other milk of your choice to your blender.
- Add the cacao, matcha, cinnamon, mucuna, grass fed whey protein, coconut oil and peeled banana broken into a few pieces.
- Add a couple of ice cubes if you like it colder and then put the lid on tightly and blend it all up well.
- Drink immediately for the best taste and results but this smoothie recipe should keep for a short while if needed.
Timing for Best Results
Due to the energizing ingredients in it, it’s generally not recommended to make this banana pre-workout smoothie recipe up too late in the evening.
The best time to enjoy it is about half an hour before you start a workout for extra energy and focus during training. If you really want to maximize your results you could also make up this testosterone boosting smoothie recipe post workout too.
You can of course make this energizing smoothie up any time you need more get up and go, but it’s definitely worth trying just before a workout, run or playing sports where you can really notice the extra boost it gives you.
I hope you like this banana cacao smoothie and enjoy the way it makes you feel. Please share it and feel free to comment with any extra energy ingredients you’d add to it.
Photo credit: Kasey Shuler
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