When Do You Really Need a Protein Shake?

I love my protein shaker. (I’ve even been known to mix cocktails in it .) This is a staple in my dumb life because I believe protein shakes help me achieve my muscle-building goals. But a protein shake isn’t automatically a must if you’re lifting weights, so let’s talk about how you know if you really need one.

Protein is important for everyone

Everyone needs protein, but most people who do daily exercise can get as much as they need through a healthy diet. If you’re trying to build muscle, you may need more protein than you can get from your diet. And if you’re losing weight, you need to keep your protein intake high so you don’t lose too much muscle along with fat.

The amount of protein you need, regardless of which of these categories you fall into, can be obtained through a normal, healthy diet. Meat, eggs, dairy, tofu, artificial meats, and to a lesser extent grains and beans are all excellent sources of protein. No protein shakes or supplements needed; they are just semi-finished products.

So what’s with all those shaker bottles at the gym?

If you need to get a lot of protein in your diet, shaking before (or during) your workout is one way to pack it. One school of thought is that you must release protein throughout the day for more muscle protein. synthesis , so that the shake will be just one of the many high-protein meals that the brother at the gym eats during the day.

However, if you’re new to the gym, you don’t need to adjust nutrient times or drink pre-workout powder or other specialty supplements. Exercise and shaking is not a complete package. You can simply exercise and eat healthy food before and after; Don’t add anything to your daily routine unless you have a specific reason to do so.

Think of Protein Powder as a Food, Not a Supplement

Of course, the FDA regulates it as a “supplement,” but I prefer to think of protein powder as a food. If I want to get 30 grams of protein with a meal, I can achieve that goal with a chicken sandwich or protein shake. Which one I choose will depend on which one does the best for my immediate goals.

Do you want something satisfying? If you’re hungry, a sandwich is better. But if you’re trying to get something in your stomach before your morning workout, a protein and carbohydrate shake will help you without making you feel too full.

Are you tracking your macros? Protein powder contains protein and very few other nutrients. Whether you’re counting calories or restricting macronutrients such as carbs, a powder can come in handy because it’s low in calories but still contains a lot of protein.

You are lazy? Protein powder is cheaper than many other protein sources, and shaking a blender bottle is faster than preparing a gourmet meal. To be honest, this is probably the main reason it is popular with bodybuilders, especially those who eat four to six times a day. A shake is just food that doesn’t need to be cooked.

How to make a great protein shake

Okay, let’s say you decide you want to drink a protein shake. What’s the best way to do it?

First, you need to choose a protein powder. Don’t buy everything GNC has on the label – quirky dude. Many of the foods marketed as protein shakes are actually “gainers” that contain a ton of calories in addition to protein. If you want to increase the number of calories to gain weight, this is fine, but think carefully about whether you would prefer to eat food instead of maltodextrin suspension.

Then, once you have real protein powder – we’ve got a guide to the most common types – you’ll need something to mix it up. I use a blender bottle (not brand loyal, it’s just the one I got from my grocery store). Any shaker with a whisk inside will work. Unfortunately, stirring with a spoon or shaking a regular jar just doesn’t mix the powder with the liquid well enough.

If you’re going to make thicker smoothies with more fruits and other ingredients, you’ll need a real blender. But let’s take a look at the quick and easy type of protein shake, which I would say is the best.

I use a 16 ounce bottle, which is the smallest possible, and then pour in 8 ounces of water (if I’m trying to minimize calories) or sweetened, flavored almond milk (if I’m trying). to maximize flavor). I love Trader Joe’s Blueberry Lavender and Almond Matcha Milk, but chocolate or vanilla will work too.

Then I add a scoop of unflavored whey powder. Protein powder comes in a wide variety of flavors, so I’ll just say that if you choose a flavor, make sure you like it before grabbing a whole water lily. Unflavored product mixes well with any drink (or other food like yogurt ), but that’s my choice. If your powder is flavored, you may prefer water or milk or a more neutral-tasting beverage over my almond flavored milk.

Finally, place the whisk into the ball and close the lid tightly. I like to stir the mixture for a few seconds before I start shaking, because otherwise I find that some of the dry powder clogs up in the drinking spout.

This gives you 8 (plus or minus) ounces of liquid protein fluid, which you can drink quickly before starting your workout. If you find it tastes bad, I recommend preparing it with less liquid so you can drink less of the mixture. Or you can throw it all down the drain and eat a sandwich instead.

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