Alex Morgan's post-workout recovery routine and plant-based protein snack recipe

·5 min read

Proper post-workout nutrition is just as important for avid runners and fitness class aficionados as it is for professional athletes like soccer star Alex Morgan.

While the 33-year-old forward was busy notching up a win against Canada to advance the U.S. Women's National Team to the World Cup, "Good Morning America" got the inside scoop from one of the many experts who help her refuel, plus tips to recreate Morgan's recipe for success at home.

Acacia Wright, a registered dietitian and expert nutritionist who works with Morgan and her San Diego Wave FC teammates, explained what types of nutrients are most important after a workout and offered tips and recipes that help the plant-based pro perform at her best.

"The first 30 minutes after exercise provides an important opportunity for nutritional recovery. This is when the body is most effective at replenishing glycogen -- the storage form of carbohydrate -- and promoting muscle repair and growth," Wright explained. "Consuming adequate protein, carbohydrates and fluids after a workout improves performance, reduces soreness, supports muscle growth, improves immune function, aids in the recovery process and optimizes overall body composition."

Ultimately, she said that's what helps athletes "feel better and have more energy overall."

Morgan, meanwhile, told "GMA" that her mentality for games and workouts is to "bring your best now because you only have two and a half hours and you're done for the day, so make the most of it."

PHOTO: San Diego Wave FC forward Alex Morgan is greeted by her daughter Charlie Carrasco after the game against the Racing Louisville FC at Lynn Family Stadium, May 18, 2022, in Louisville, Ky.  (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)
PHOTO: San Diego Wave FC forward Alex Morgan is greeted by her daughter Charlie Carrasco after the game against the Racing Louisville FC at Lynn Family Stadium, May 18, 2022, in Louisville, Ky. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

"Goals aren't everything," Morgan said, but when it comes to big moments like breaking single-season scoring records, her hope is always to make things happen "next game."

After a workout, Wright suggests people "focus on getting quality carbs and protein into your body -- this gives your muscles the ability to replenish energy lost by replacing glycogen stores, while helping to repair and rebuild."

Foods like the protein and fruit smoothie recipe below that are "rich in quality carbohydrates" can help "replenish muscle fuel stores," while lean proteins act to "promote muscle repair and growth," Wright explained. "This also boosts adaption from the training session and helps to minimize muscle soreness."

In addition to protein and carbohydrates, she said an "ideal recovery meal should be abundant in plant foods which [supply] a natural source of antioxidants, which help protect cells from free radicals produced from the physical stress of exercise."

"Never sacrifice good nutrition, sufficient calories and adequate carbohydrates and protein post workout," she said. "This is an important time to refuel and ensure your body will respond well to the workout while also ensuring that you will go into the next workout strong instead of run-down, sore and low in energy."

Another important aspect of recovery for Morgan includes cryotherapy and red-light and infrared sauna sessions. The California-based athlete said she uses that time to "throw in a meditation ... to kind of help me slow down."

"I'm always going a million miles an hour," the coffee lover admitted. "So it's really nice to slow it down and stop thinking about my game from last night or my game tomorrow -- and just breathe and be at peace with where I am now."

PHOTO: Alex Morgan of the celebrates scoring a goal with teammates, July 18, 2022, at the Concacaf Women Championship - Final - United States v Canada - Estadio BBVA, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Daniel Becerril/Reuters)
PHOTO: Alex Morgan of the celebrates scoring a goal with teammates, July 18, 2022, at the Concacaf Women Championship - Final - United States v Canada - Estadio BBVA, in Monterrey, Mexico. (Daniel Becerril/Reuters)

"I still absolutely love playing soccer, but I know time away from my family needs to be well-used," she said. "I need to reset my state of mind and make sure I'm making the most of my time on the field because when I step away I want to be mom and I want to be someone that's not always Alex Morgan, but someone that's just Alex -- a sister, a daughter, a mother, a wife."

Alex's Post-Workout Protein and Oatmilk Blueberry Bars

PHOTO: Alex Morgan-approved post-workout plant-based Orgain organic protein bars. (Mullen Lowe)
PHOTO: Alex Morgan-approved post-workout plant-based Orgain organic protein bars. (Mullen Lowe)

Wright shared an easy-to-make recipe for protein-packed bars made with plant-based ingredients for after a workout. The bars are beloved by two-time Olympic medalist Morgan, who lives in San Diego with her husband Servando Carrasco, a fellow footballer, and their 2-year-old daughter Charlie.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups oats

2 scoops organic vanilla oatmilk protein powder

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup cashew butter

3/4 cup oat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of blueberries

Toppings

1/2 cup oats

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 tablespoons cashew butter

Instructions

PHOTO: Alex Morgan with her daughter Charlie baking protein snacks in the kitchen. (Mullen Lowe)
PHOTO: Alex Morgan with her daughter Charlie baking protein snacks in the kitchen. (Mullen Lowe)

In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups oats, 2 scoops protein powder, ground flaxseed, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, combine the honey, 1/4 cup cashew butter, oat milk and vanilla. Mix until fully combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until fully integrated.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle blueberries on top.

To make the topping, combine the remaining oats, coconut sugar and remaining cashew butter until mixed thoroughly. Sprinkle evenly on top of blueberries.

Bake 25-35 minutes at 325 degrees until the top is golden brown. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing and cutting into 8 pieces.

Vanilla Protein Berry Smoothie

This smoothie recipe is made with organic, plant-based protein and contains a balanced ratio of carbs and antioxidants, which Wright says is optimal for refueling after a workout.

Ingredients

2 scoops vanilla bean, organic, superfoods plant-based protein powder

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chia seeds

2 cups organic protein almond milk, unsweetened vanilla

Instructions

Place all the ingredients except the plant-based milk into a blender.

Pour 1/4 cup of milk into the blender and start blending.

Add remaining milk and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass and top with extra berries before serving.

Alex Morgan's post-workout recovery routine and plant-based protein snack recipe originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com