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Olympian Ryan Murphy’s Go-To Smoothies for Healthy Sports Nutrition

Swim lane barrier close up image.

Nutrition is my fuel for my swimming career. Training is a huge part of my career, but my diet complements that training and helps me to compete at my potential. I didn’t necessarily realize this early in my career and it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I started to really focus on my nutrition. Now it’s something I think about every day.

Efficiency and flavor are still really important to me when it comes to nutrition, and I think smoothies are the easiest way to get a ton of quick nutrients. It’s also very easy to hide the flavors of some bad tasting foods in a smoothie. And by bad, I’m talking about things like spinach!

Considering all the benefits, I will have at least three smoothies per week. I typically like to have them for lunch because they are good for both pre-workout and post-workout fueling.

THE SCIENCECarbohydrate intake before and after exercise can help to restore sub-optimal glycogen stores, which is critical for prolonged periods of exercise. While allowing for personal preferences and physiological factors, the pre-event meal should be high in carbohydrates, non-greasy, and readily digestible. A 12-ounce fruit smoothie has 47 grams of carbohydrates!

My smoothies are usually focused on nutrition first and taste second. Below are a couple of my go-to smoothies for sports nutrition and it’s worth noting that the first one tastes way better.

Nutrition and Flavor:

  • Shot fro above of spinach and frozen berries in a blender.Bananas
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Coconut water

All Nutrition:

  • Glass of dark red liquid next to carrots and a beet.Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut water 

Whether it’s getting micronutrients like iron and magnesium from spinach, or vitamin C from strawberries, every ingredient in these smoothies have different benefits. My main goal is to have highly nutritious, well-balanced drinks. 

THE SCIENCEAthletes have increased energy needs, which allows for more opportunities to obtain the nutrients they need through a balanced diet composed of a variety of natural foods. Most sports nutrition professionals agree that supplementation will not necessarily improve performance.

About Ryan Murphy

Swimmer Ryan Murphy with his gold medal in Rio.A three-time Olympic gold medalist, swimmer Ryan Murphy claimed his medals in the 4×100 medley, 100 backstroke, and 200 backstroke at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Murphy has also achieved success at numerous World Championships, including several silver medals in 2019 and three gold medals in 2018. In 2011, he took home a bronze from the Pan American Games.

What is food-first nutrition?

Every athlete wants to reach their peak performance, which often means pushing harder and longer in training and in competition. In the quest to reach their maximum potential, many athletes know that good nutrition is critical, but they may also look to the latest supplements and trendy diet regimens to give them that extra boost.

Some athletes, on the other hand, have found that a food-first approach is all they need to achieve peak performance. While some athletes may need to supplement their dietary intake because of a medical condition, many athletes can properly fuel their bodies and meet all their bodies’ needs with the right food.

In the Food-First Nutrition series, Olympians, Paralympians, and elite athletes share how they maintain the strength and energy they need to compete at the highest levels of sport through a food first approach. For more information on the best foods for athletes, check out the TrueSport Nutrition Guide.

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