Recipe of the Week: Banana and Chocolate Recovery Shake

It was an early start for us today, as we headed out onto Dartmoor for a few hours of hard mountain biking. It was hot, dusty, rough, tiring and relentlessly hilly. Don't get me wrong, I love this stuff, but it leaves you feeling quite depleted afterwards so it's nice to come home to a refreshing drink that contains a load of great ingredients to help your body recover. Remember, exercise breaks you down and causes micro-tears in your muscles (that's why you wake up feeling stiff and sore the next day), but eating and drinking the right things soon after exercise, while your body is still warm and primed to absorb it, can greatly aid how you recover and rebuild after a hard session. It's how you recover that will impact how quickly you can exercise again at a higher level. So here's what we made...

INGREDIENTS:

- 250ml of homemade natural yoghurt.
Because yoghurt is derived from milk it contains a great combination of whey (fast acting) and casein (slower digesting) protein to help your body repair the muscle that has been worked hard during exercise. The whey will be sent to where your body needs it most immediately and the casein will work over a longer period, normally while you sleep! Yoghurt is also an excellent source for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes (calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium) that are required by your body for most of its normal functions, but which are lost through the skin when sweating.

- A generous dollop or hearty tablespoon of honey.
More than simply for flavour, honey adds a dose of carbohydrate to work alongside and aid the protein synthesis as well as restore glycogen stores.

- Half a banana.
A banana is a great source of natural sugar for replenishing glycogen stores (the energy source that's most readily available for your body) and is high in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium as well as a good source of vitamin B6. B6 is beneficial in the production of haemoglobin, which helps to transport oxygen around the body.

- 1tsp Cocoa powder and 85% dark chocolate shavings 
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and adds a touch of bitter sweetness to balance the banana and honey. 

METHOD:
It's quite simple - stick it all in the blender and blitz it for 30 seconds or so. Pour into a glass and enjoy in the sunshine, basking in your post ride or run glory.

Top view of a YogurtNest chocolate and banana recovery shake