The Best DIY Pre-Workout Shake

Why buy a bottle of engineered-to-last-a-year chocolate milk when you can make a better version at home?

This month, the coaches of Breaking Muscle UK were asked to consider strength as the focus of our articles. This is pretty easy for me to cover as a recipe contributor, as my advice for building strength is simple: fuel your workouts properly to get the best results in the gym.

Chocolate milk is a popular and convenient choice for pre-workout fuel. And a quick hit of sugar and some easy-to-digest protein does check some of the boxes for a solid pre-workout shake. But why buy a bottle of engineered-to-last-a-year, store-bought crap when you can make it yourself? If it’s strength and health you’re after, we can do far better with some nutrient-dense but just as delicious ingredients.

Inspired by a simple homemade chocolate milk recipe of cocoa powder, icing sugar, and a drop of vanilla extract, enter The Best DIY Pre-Workout Shake. Instead of sugar, this recipe uses a ripe banana for a sweet hit of carbohydrate and an added potassium boost to stop you cramping mid-workout. I’ve also mixed in almonds to maximise your energy levels and pack an extra punch of protein and magnesium.

For the final flourish, I’ve added chocolate’s best bedfellow, coffee, for a perfect pre-workout pick-me-up. Enjoy.

The Best DIY Pre-Workout Shake

Prep Time: 2 mins

Cook Time: N/A

Yield: 1


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 300ml milk of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 20 whole almonds, or 1 dessert spoon of almond butter
  • 1 shot of espresso or your favourite freeze dried coffee dissolved in a little boiling water
  • Dash of vanilla essence


  1. Load all the ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend until thick and creamy.
  3. Boom. Done.

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Photo courtesy of Tim Harrison.

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