When it comes to juicing for fitness, there seem to be two dividing camps. Those that swear by it and those that think it’s a damaging method of pouring sugar into your body in liquid form. I’m on the ‘swear by it’ team. Juicing massively changed my health last year, it’s a brilliant way to ingest a mountain of nutrients very quickly, and so long as you’re mixing it up with vegetables, nuts and super foods, the sugar content needn’t be a concern.
Drinking freshly pressed juice before hitting the gym floods the body with an easily digestible ton of nutrients, essential to help maintain stamina and endurance. Juicing fruits or vegetables that have complex carbohydrates can provide you with the best energy-producing fuel for your body. Complex carbs supply the type of glucose that your body converts into energy slowly, giving you a more consistent supply of energy throughout your workout. It takes your body a couple of hours to process carbohydrates, which makes fresh juice a quick and easy source for your exercise routine. To be clear, I’m not talking about bottled, processed, concentrated fruit juice. That stuff contains a mountain of sugar with very little nutritional benefit. I’m talking about freshly pressed juice, extracted from whole, fresh fruit and veg.
Juicing provides your body with the same beneficial vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals that you would get from eating whole fruits or vegetables, in a very easily absorbable source. A juicer removes the insoluble fibre from whatever you put through it. Whilst fibre is responsible for slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar (a good thing), it also slows down and prevents the fast absorption of nutrients (not such a good thing). Without the insoluble fibre your body absorbs 100% of these nutrients. It’s like flooding your system with a ton of instantly accessible vitamins in one easy hit, but asking nothing of it in return in terms of digestion. Juicing gives the body’s major organs – primarily the stomach, pancreas and colon – a break. Due to the lack of insoluble fibre, a massive amount of ‘plant juice’ can be consumed in one ‘meal’. Take a look at the huge plate of greens you start off with when juicing, that’s a lot of goodness you’re consuming. In addition, the abundance of nutrients within these fresh juices may help reduce your risk of cancer, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, assist with detoxification, aid digestion and enhance weight loss.
1 SUPER GREENS
This morning green juice has become an essential part of my daily routine. It’s my absolute favourite, energy boosting breakfast. I love it because it’s such a simple way to absorb a ton of nutrients, it’s high alkaline and a brilliant way to start the day in a healthy frame of mind. Green juice floods your system with so many nutrients and enzymes, this vitamin rich beauty will help boost your energy for a great morning workout. The ingredients will also reduce inflammation, repair cellular damage from physical stress, help to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow, carrying nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body for an effortless and extended physical workout.
Handful of spinach
Chunk of broccoli stem (stem holds more juice than florets)
Half a cucumber
Stick of celery
Small chunk of lime
Small chunk of ginger
2 GINGER BLAST
If you suffer from lots of muscle aches and pains after exercise, this shot is the one for you. Taken pre or post workout, the potent anti-inflammatory properties of ginger work wonders in easing muscle pain. The addition of lemon, which is highly effective at dissolving uric acid and other poisons in the body, will assist in reducing joint stiffness and swelling.
1 chunk of ginger
1 chunk of lemon
Pop the ginger and lemon in your juicer chute. Add the pear on top and juice! Drink like a shot.
3 TROPICAL GAINS
Adding pineapple to your pre workout juice can help heal injuries fast, boost gains, and prevent post-exercise muscle damage. Pineapple is a great source of potassium, which ensures proper muscle function. Although carbs are most important before your workout, you want to have a little protein too. The high bromelain content in pineapple aids the digestion of protein. Pineapple also provides fibre, which lowers cholesterol levels, vitamin B6, which helps with the formation of red blood cells and manganese, a mineral needed in trace amounts but not often found in today’s heavily processed foods.
Pre-workout hydration is equally as important as pre-workout nutrition. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and a loss of coordination. Your exercise performance can rapidly decline if your hydration level decreases by just 2 percent. Adding coconut water to this tropical pre-workout juice not only makes it taste amazing, it provides you with the electrolytes needed to maintain fluid balance in the body. The high potassium content of coconut water is also crucial to smooth and skeletal muscle contraction, and can help prevent muscle cramps.
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise found that one scoop of whey protein prior to working out increased calorie burning over the subsequent 24 hours. A scoop in this blended juice makes a perfect pre-workout addition.
1/3 of a pineapple
300ml coconut water
Scoop of whey protein
Juice the pineapple, throw everything into a blender, pour in the juiced pineapple and blitz.
4 GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE
In terms of flavour, carrot, apple and turmeric is probably my favourite spicy little juice combo. In addition to tasting good, this juice is designed to provide long term energy and is so easy to make. Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, the famous antioxidant that protects against the damaging effects of exercise and increases oxygen in the blood, tissues and brain.
The secret to achieving high level conditioning is effective recovery and this is where turmerics awesome health benefits play a vital role. Turmeric can effectively reduce recovery time and increase peak performance and endurance. In addition to its incredible cardiovascular health benefits, turmerics high curcumin content acts directly on new muscle cells to increase growth and fusion.
Small (it’s powerful stuff!) chunk of fresh turmeric root (careful the orange colour can stain)
Small chunk of ginger
Put the carrots in your chute juicer, add the turmeric and ginger roots, then the apples and juice the lot
5 CHOCOLATE COCO NUTS
If you’re new to juicing, replacing breakfast with a pint of green liquid can often leave you feeling cheated and hungry! The concept of not needing to overfill your stomach with solids whilst still benefiting from an abundance of nutrients can be a gradual process. This thick, chocolate smoothie very definitely feels like more of a pre-workout breakfast treat than a juice.
Almonds are my favourite nut! My skin used to hate peanut butter (my belly loved it!) so I switched to almond butter a few months ago and haven’t looked back. So much more alkaline with less potential allergy problems, almonds are a great addition to your breakfast smoothie. Healthy fats, such as those found in almonds, can slow digestion to prevent hunger during your workout, lubricate joints, and aid in muscle synthesis and repair. The cacao powder gives this smoothie a gorgeous flavour while adding a powerful punch of free radical fighting antioxidants, energising iron, and heart-healthy magnesium. Bananas are a brilliant source of potassium, which ensures proper muscle function and finally the addition of cinnamon is perfect for regulating blood sugar levels.
This is my weekend pre-workout treat. With good fats, antioxidants AND a superfood, it’s indulgence at its very best!
1 cup of coconut or almond milk
Half a teaspoon of vanilla paste
Palmful of almonds
Scoop of cacao powder
Teaspoon of chia seeds
Sprinkling of cinnamon
Blend the lot (add a little coconut water if you’re including protein powder – to ensure there’s enough liquid)