When you’re in Raiding Season (losing fat and increasing muscle definition), packing in all of the extra calories isn’t a huge priority. You can casually eat what you feel like and trust your appetite. Combined with all of the extra supersets and drop-sets in your workouts, you’ll achieve a calorie deficit and cut down your body fat.
But what about when you’re mass building and need hella calories?!
When you’re in Winter Season, you’re trying to pile on the mass, and get beast mode huge and strong. It’s when your body does it’s growing, and that requires lots of calories.
But that’s not always easy for Modern Vikings with the stresses and problems of a modern lifestyle.
What if you overslept and now there’s no time to prep your regular Viking breakfast before getting the kids ready for school? What if you know it’s going to be a mixed up day and you’ll struggle to make all 6 meals and 5,000 calories (My personal goal is 5,000 /day but yours could be 3,000 – 5,000).
What if you just want to blast down the nutrition you need because at the end of the day – Food Is Füel and you really don’t want to spend your day worrying about each meal being good?
Well for those days, here’s my personal breakfast smoothie recipe. I find breakfast is by far the easiest meal to get right and even if the rest of the day fucks up, as long as I smash breakfast, I’ll have an epic workout and an epic day.
This smoothie gives you a 1,300 calorie kick and 82g of protein (overkill but whatever) and it tastes good (“good” is as good as it gets in a 1,300 calorie shake, sorry but thats the truth)
(The exact recipe is at the end of the post)
Choosing Your Swirling Axe Blades… (Blender)
These boxes of miniature berserker axe blades are responsible for obliterating whatever you put inside until it has the consistency of baby food. And just as you wouldn’t run into battle with an Axe bought on sale at Walmart, so too should you not invest into a suspiciously cheap blender. They create a lumpy smoothie that will put you off shakes forever, and quickly burn out the motors inside, causing a false-economy anyway.
Invest the most that you can but try and go with something at least over 1,000 watts and ideally a trusted brand like Nutribullet or Vitamix.
Stuff That Came From Stuff With Faces
As well as the overall calories, as with any meal we need to make sure that the shake will hit our protein numbers. Your body can absorb between 40-60g of protein per meal, so I always get in the maximum 60g whenever I can. Any unused protein will become (expensive) calories so it’s no huge deal, but if I hit 6 meals of 50g-60g I know I’m definitely going to give my muscles the maximum potential for growth through the day.
To make this easy, just add stuff that came from stuff with faces. It’s high in protein, convenient and easy, and won’t give you killer gas like Pea Protein or Brown Rice protein will.
My favourite two protein sources for shakes are Whey Isolate and Whole Eggs. Whey is easy, cheap and incredibly high quality protein. It’s also packed with BCAA’s which are essential for building new muscle.
Over the last 6+ months I’ve become incredibly tired of the sweetness and monotony of flavoured protein (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc.), so I now buy unflavoured Whey. It basically just tastes like watered down cows milk – fine for me. But this especially mixes great into these shakes as you don’t need to worry about the artificial sweet flavourings taking away all the delicious food flavours of the ingredients in your shakes.
If you aren;t quite there yet, just be aware that you might need to keep a few different flavours of whey around – ones for your simple shakes and ones to go in smoothies (chocolate whey + spinach is BAD!)
Possibly the most important ingredient in our shake from a testosterone-boosting point of view is organic/free range whole eggs.
Egg yolks are incredibly high sources of HDL – good cholesterol – which studies have shown is required for healthy testosterone levels. Also, many people have anecdotally shown the benefits to testosterone levels by increasing their HDL levels from their diet from sources like egg yolks and meat.
I also occasionally add raw broccoli, which is high in indoles, a compound which has been shown to block unhealthy levels of oestrogen production in men.
Olive oil helps you Leydic cells, which are responsible for the production of testosterone. One study found a direct link between increasing olive oil and increased testoserone.
Egg whites are incredibly convenient – you can buy pasteurised liquid egg whites in most supermarkets, and can also buy egg white powder. Egg whites are totally flavourless to me, so I can usually just drink them on the go, like you would a can of coke.
Especially in London, I’m never more than 5 minutes away from a Tesco or Sainsbury’s or other major supermarket where I can buy a small bottle of pasteurised organic egg whites for £2-£3 and get a 50g protein hit.
Because these are usually lying around in my fridge I’ll usually add a few extra egg whites on top of the whole eggs. Too many causes the smoothie to “whip up” though. Or if you’re really really nervous about eating whole raw eggs, pasteurised egg whites can be a safer bet (though honestly, I’ve now eaten hundreds or thousands of whole raw eggs and I never died).
As well as boosting testosterone production, healthy fats offer many health benefits from a healthier heart to healthy joints.
But one of the best benefits of adding fats into this morning smoothie is a quick and cheap way to boost the calories.
After our body has the protein it needs, and we’ve absorbed the maximum amount of carbs as muscle glycogen, all the calories we take after that are pretty much just calories. And when we’re trying to hit a calorific surplus so that we stimulate anabolic processes in our body, we just need to take in calories. From anywhere.
So calorific-dense food sources like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil or MCT Oil are easy, cheap and you wont even notice them in your smoothie. I usually use Olive Oil as I have it around, it’s cheap, and thanks to a year in Spain I grew to really love the flavour (I regularly drink a small glass of olive if I know my calories are low for the day).
You can also throw in some flaxseeds, almonds or walnuts. Nuts and nut flour aren’t that cheap so when I’m trying to control my already sky-high grocery bill, nuts are usually one of the first sacrifices. Buying a bulk bag of flaxseeds is much cheaper and they add a fun “This is healthy” texture to the smoothie.
Carbs For The Battlefield
If you’ve read my book, you know how much I love oat flour. It’s full of low GI carbs, comes with some high BV protein, disguises in most shakes/smoothies, and most importantly – it’s cheap as fuck!
My morning smoothie is no exception to every other shake or meal – plenty of oats. I’d love to pack in more but the texture gets a little heavy and with the spinach and occasional raw broccoli, I’m already approaching “anti-social gas danger zone” fibre levels!
The carbs from the oats will go straight into muscle glycogen and ensure you have good stable energy levels for your workout that day.
Kale is a superfood, sure, and everyone tells you to put it into your “Super Shakes”. But kale is also super fucking expensive!
Fuck kale. Yeah I said it!
I eat so many greens in my week, if I used Kale I’d need to sell my ass on the weekends to pay for it all! I just have better things to spend my money on, and I’m yet to see a study that shows me Kale offers any benefits over Spinach with a multi-vitamin.
My morning smoothie uses frozen spinach, and then a single dose of a powdered multi-vitamin. I used to add a “super food greens” powder but after looking into the vitamin and mineral profile more, I couldn’t justify the price.
I buy fresh spinach (cheap as hell) but then put it in the freezer. I use 1 bag a day, maybe 2/3 bag. But adding the spinach to the freezer means it blends easier and also chills the smoothie.
To finish off the list of ‘stuff that grew in dirt’ I’ll add in some cucumber, a pear or an apple, a banana, and occasionally a random cut or two of whatever else is in my vegetable drawer and looks like it needs eating. I’m not that precise and you shouldn’t be either – it’s fuel, not a Michelin star table order.
I don’t need to tell you that eating vegetables is good but I have learned that most of them will make this smoothie taste like shit and quickly kill the habit. So stick with spinach, cucumber, pears, apples… and then very small amounts of random stuff but never enough to overpower the flavour of the shake.
I also throw in my sports supplements into my morning smoothie, just because it’s there, it’s being blended up, and it’s easy.
I buy a powdered unflavoured creatine monohydrate for better muscle ATP transfer (study – but there are tons). And the fruit sugars in the smoothie help the Cretine to be absorbed properly. I also use a powdered Beta-Alanine for increased anaerobic performance (study – but there are tons).
the multi-vitamin is a cheap “safety net” for any vitamins and minerals that the rest of my days diet might miss.
Bringing It All Together
Here’s the recipe for my 1,200 calorie smoothie (give or take):
- 2 scoops whey protein isolate
- 2 whole eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 1 pear (or any other fruit)
- 1 banana
- Spinach (a big handful)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- Oat Flour (75g)
- 1g powdered multi-vitamin (or open a multi-vitamin capsule)
- 5g Creatine monohydrate
- 3g Beta Alanine
- Just enough water to get it to mix
Of course with a bit of give and take depending on your brand of Whey and which vegetables/fruits you add, but this will give you:
- Calories: 1,300
- Protein: 82g
- Carbohydrates: 128g
- Fat: 59g
- Fiber: 18g
If you want to measure out your own specific smoothie based on the exact ingredients you have, I definitely recommend the free app MyFitnessPal. It will give you your exact macros and allow you to keep a track through the day.
Drinking It Down
This is a big drink. It will very quickly make you feel full, maybe even bloated, but that is just because of the volume of water that will come out. Within 30 minutes that “Holy Fuck, what did I just eat?!” feeling disappears, just in time to leave the house for work or whatever.
However, I can smash these every morning no problem and on days where I’m just really struggling with food, I can smash another in the afternoon.
I also have a slightly more “Astronaut Food” version of this, which is a true 100% Meal Replacement drink that I can in theory, survive on only that (similar in principle to Soylent, but made for Vikings, not skinny nerds). I’ve been experimenting with for the formula last few weeks. When I solve it’s gas/bloating issues in the recipe, I’ll publish that up here too.
Image Credit: Food Porn Vegan Style. I didn’t want to scare you folks away with an photo of my actual smoothie… that and I such at photography. But I’ll come back and update this post with some photography later!