Following every training ride, Tayler Wiles looks forward to one thing – her recovery smoothie.
“I’m obsessed,” Wiles admitted. “I’m obsessed with most food, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. When I’m riding, especially in the summer, I crave a cold recovery smoothie. I always plan my smoothie in my head while I’m riding. I think about the recovery smoothie I’m going to make and the meal I’m going to eat.”
She laughed as she said this, but she’s clearly not kidding. Wiles considers her post-ride smoothies a key part of her training adaptation and recovery. Her Velocio-SRAM team is sponsored by Osmo, and Osmo’s acute recovery powder* is an integral part of her recovery smoothies.
“A recovery smoothie needs some kind of protein,” Wiles explained. “Women actually require more protein than men for recovery, and Osmo’s acute recovery powder is specifically formulated to meet these needs. I add Osmo into all my smoothies and then usually add an additional protein source like yogurt or nut butter.”
“Beyond protein, a good smoothie will have fat and sugars – those sugars are a source of carbs,” Wiles added. “And, of course, it’s important the smoothie tastes delicious.”
Wiles tends to make one of two types of recovery smoothies – fruity smoothies or dessert smoothies. The fruity smoothies centre around (you guessed it) fruits, and the dessert smoothies typically include a bit of chocolate or nut butter.
“Something I learned from [Osmo founder Dr.] Stacy [Sims] is that you want to avoid antioxidants within two hours of your ride,” Wiles noted. “I used to make all my smoothies with frozen berries, and I’ve had to stop doing that. Antioxidants are good for you, but they’re not good for you immediately after your ride. This means fruit smoothies need to use fruits that are low in antioxidants or fruits that don’t have any antioxidants at all.”
Sims, an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist set to join Ella CyclingTips as a monthly columnist, explained the science behind the statement.
“Athletes want to avoid antioxidants post training as they impair mitochondrial adaptations,” Sims said. “A critical step in exercise stress is the oxidation process. The body has its own feedback system for overcoming oxidation within the muscle cells. If we introduce antioxidants close to the conclusions of experience, we inhibit this feedback system and significantly reduce the adaptations that athletes train for. Basically, when we ingest antioxidants close to the conclusion of exercise, muscles cells don’t change or adapt as much in response to exercise stress.”
With frozen berries out, Wiles has turned to frozen bananas.
“No matter what kind of smoothie I’m making, I always add a frozen banana,” she said. “It makes the smoothie creamy.”
Her liquid of choice is typically almond milk.
“Regular milk upsets my stomach,” Wiles explained. “I think it’s just a personal thing, so for me, it’s always almond milk.”
And when she craves something a bit more sweet, Wiles adds cacao or a nut butter.
“Cacao does have antioxidants,” Wiles admitted. “But I only add a very, very little bit. It’s just for a little bit of a chocolate taste. I also add peanut butter or almond butter when I’m looking for a dessert smoothie.”
The variety of options is part of the recovery smoothie obsession for Wiles. She shares four of her current favourite recipes below.
*Note: Osmo’s acute recovery powder has evolved into the new women’s protein powder. Where Wiles mentions the acute recovery powder in the recipes below, you can substitute for Osmo’s women’s protein powder – or any recovery powder of your choice.