Eight Great Post-Workout Protein Shakes

Eight post-workout protein shake recipes
Diana L

Good job! You're getting out, being active, and working out. Don't forget it's also important to replace essential nutrients in your body to help your muscles recover and get you ready to keep on your pathway to a healthy lifestyle! Our guest author has some delicious protein shake recipes to try after your next workout.

After hard training, you need to replace essential nutrients in your cells to fuel recovery — and tomorrow’s workout!

Here are some shakes to help with that.

Fueling up after a tough workout is essential, especially if your goal is adding lean muscle and/or shedding fat (and whose isn’t!?). A postworkout smoothie or shake is an easy way to get some quick nutrition without a lot of prep.

These eight drinks offer plenty of protein to promote muscle protein synthesis and aid in recovery, and as a bonus, each contains a super ingredient that will accelerate the healing process and get you back to the gym faster. Drink up!  

ginger peach protein shake


Super Ingredient: Ginger

A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that ginger helps reduce inflammation postworkout and assists in accelerating recovery in muscle strength — good news for hard-hitting athletes.

A study in The Journal of Pain found that taking 1½ teaspoons of fresh ginger daily can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) up to 25 percent.

Other Benefits of Ginger

  • Aids with digestion
  • Helps quell dizziness
  • Improves blood flow


  • 1 peach, pitted and chopped
  • 1½ tsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 cup low-fat milk of choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • handful ice


Super Ingredient: Vanilla

Vanilla contains powerful antioxidants to help repair and replicate DNA and rebuild healthy, new cells. These antioxidants also seek out and bind to free radicals and act as anti-mutagens — e.g., cancer preventatives — in the body.

Vanilla helps prevent and reduce inflammation, and its anti-bacterial properties boost immunity, helping you recover faster from injury or illness.

Other Benefits of Vanilla

  • Helps with anxiety
  • Improves sleep
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Suppresses appetite


  • ½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp orange rind, grated
  • ½ banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • handful ice

chai tea protein shake


Super Ingredient: Chai Tea

The black tea in chai is reputed to prevent and alleviate soreness by reducing oxidative stress — damage to muscle cells from intense exercise — thereby speeding recovery.

Tea contains polyphenols, which protect your cells from DNA damage, as well as catechins and antioxidants, which, when combined with caffeine, boosts fat metabolism.

The spices in chai help relieve pain (cinnamon), reduce inflammation (cloves), promote fat burning (black pepper), detoxify your liver (cardamom), relieve stress (nutmeg) and even quell premenstrual syndrome (ginger).

Other Benefits of Chai Tea

  • Promotes healthy digestion and elimination
  • Has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties
  • Improves mental health
  • Increases bone mineral density


  • 1½ cups chilled, brewed chai tea
  • 1 cup low-fat milk of choice
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, more to taste
  • handful ice

cherry lime protein shake


Super Ingredient: Tart Cherries

Tart cherries contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid that has anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen and that helps mitigate soreness when consumed after an intense workout, according to the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, tart cherry juice helps reduce muscle pain and weakness after bouts of intense strength training and endurance activities.

Other Benefits of Tart Cherries

  • Improve sleep duration and quality
  • Boost immunity


  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ cup milk of choice, or water
  • handful ice

cherry avocado smoothie


Super Ingredient: Avocado

Believe it or not, avocados contain more potassium than a banana and help promote electrolyte balance, which is key after hard training.

Avocados contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamins E, C and B6, as well as folate, which promotes recovery and heals your muscles faster.

Other Benefits of Avocados

  • Offer plenty of heart-healthy fats
  • Contain fiber for proper digestion and enhanced immunity
  • Promote the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients


  • 1 scoop protein powder (chocolate or peanut butter flavor)
  • ½ cup frozen cherries
  • ½ tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • handful ice

pineapple banana protein shake


Super Ingredient: Pineapple

Pineapple juice delivers bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

The vitamin C in pineapple helps contribute to the body’s fat-burning processes as well as playing a role in tissue growth and healing. And according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, vitamin C was shown to significantly reduce soreness in the 24 hours following a workout.

Other Benefits of Pineapple

  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps create blood cells
  • Builds strong bones and cartilage


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 4 pitted cherries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tbsp low-fat yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

gingerbread smoothie


Super Ingredient: Blackstrap molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of the sugar-cane process, and it is basically what is left over when all the sugar is boiled off. Molasses contains a host of beneficial nutrients.

Molasses is super high in magnesium, which aids in the absorption of calcium and promotes healthy nervous system function while preventing muscle spasms. Furthermore, calcium — in concert with magnesium and potassium (also found in molasses) — plays a role in muscle contractions and the health of the nervous system.

Molasses contains tons of iron, which helps oxygenate blood and heal tissues faster while increasing endurance.

Other benefits of molasses

  • Replaces lost glycogen
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Promotes healthy bones and teeth


  • ½ scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • handful ice

lean green protein shake


Super Ingredient: Spinach

Spinach contains iron for energy and optimal hemoglobin health. It also helps improve endurance, enhances oxygen transport and helps your body maintain a proper pH balance.

According to research published in Frontiers in Physiology, the nitrates in spinach were shown to boost athletic performance by enhancing muscle fiber composition and increasing strength.

Other Benefits of Spinach

  • Protects vision
  • Boosts immunity
  • Improves bone and skin health
  • Helps fight cognitive decline
  • Combats cancer


(Makes 2 servings)

  • 1 cup unsweetened rice milk
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup kale
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup frozen mango
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 scoops plain protein powder
  • handful ice

Written by Lara McGlashan for Oxygen Magazine.

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