protein shakes are a very popular way to get protein into your everyday diet and are used by athletes, recreational gym-goers, slimmers and yummy mummies. Protein shakes help your muscles grow and recover after exercise.
If you’re new to protein shakes then choosing the right one can be very tricky. There’s a plethora of different ones out there on the market. However, don’t worry. I have put this ultimate guide to protein shakes together to make life easier for you.
How much protein do I need daily?
To build muscle you need to consume 1g of protein per pound of body weight. Protein shakes enable athletes to meet this goal easily on a daily basis. Depending on your personal training programme, you may be required to consume more protein than this.
We like to use the basic protein model, which is 1g of protein per goal weight in lbs.
For example, if your goal is to weigh 180lbs and you currently weigh 160lbs, then you should be consuming 180g of protein each day. This is a very simple model that works.
Why do you need protein?
The body uses protein to grow and repair muscles. Many people get protein in their diets from things like eggs, chicken, steak etc., but there is a huge benefit to getting extra protein into your diet and this is where protein shakes can help.
If you consume protein in high enough quantity from food or a protein powder then your body will use this to grow and repair muscles. You may have heard of the term ‘protein synthesis’, this is simply where your body uses protein for building and repairing muscles. Sometimes eating high quality fish, meats and poultry gets expensive so it can be cheaper to have a protein shake to help hit your daily protein quota then it can be to eat a steak for lunch, as an example. Protein shakes such as our grass fed whey protein powder allows you to consume a high quality fast absorbing protein source without unwanted fats and carbs and without spending a fortune on supermarket bought foods
What does a protein shake do?
Protein shakes simply help you build and repair muscles. Protein shakes act as quick fire convenient way to get quality protein into your diet. Some people simply struggling eating tons of food all day everyday so by having a protein shake to hand it becomes much easier to hit your protein goals for that day. Professional athletes, bodybuilders and crossfit athletes typically require higher dosages of protein for performance gains. Plus they typically train for much longer then a recreational gym-goer so would require more protein to help them recover faster.
When should I drink my protein shakes?
Protein shakes are commonly consumed straight after a workout like we mentioned above. This is because protein immediately helps the muscles to heal and grow following exercise. We also recommend 2 hours before training too. This can help fuel your workout better, allowing you to train that little bit harder for longer.
Other beneficial times to drink protein shakes are first thing in a morning to kick start the metabolism and last thing at night before bed to fuel recovery whilst you sleep.
Protein types and uses
Whey protein is one of the most commonly used proteins and is best for day-to-day use. It contains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digested. It helps boost energy and can reduce stress levels. Whey isolates and concentrates are best to use after a workout.
Soy protein is another common choice. It helps reduce high cholesterol and can ease symptoms of menopause for some women. It can also help with osteoporosis by helping build bone mass.
Other types of protein include:
Egg protein, released more slowly than whey, can be taken throughout the day.
Milk proteins help support immune function and enhance muscle growth.
Rice protein, which is 100 percent plant-based, is a good choice for vegetarians or for people who don’t consume dairy products. It’s also gluten-free.
Pea protein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic and economical.
Hemp protein is also 100 percent plant-based. It’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Matching a powder to your needs
With so many choices, how do you decide which protein powder is best for you? Here are some general guidelines, based on the outcomes you’re looking for:
Build muscles — For muscle growth, choose a protein powder with a high biological value (a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein). Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options.
Lose weight — To lose weight, choose shakes with no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch). Don’t choose those with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote muscle growth and weight gain.
Stay vegetarian or vegan — If you are vegetarian or vegan, don’t choose milk-based protein shakes (e.g., whey, milk proteins); instead use 100 percent plant proteins.
Go low-sugar with diabetes — Patients who have diabetes should choose protein shakes without added sugar (don’t choose protein powders with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients). It’s also best to look for a shake that’s low in carbohydrates (less than 5 grams per serving).
Limit protein for kidney disease — People with kidney disease can’t tolerate a lot of protein at one time. Stick with powders that have a lower-range protein content (10-15 grams per serving).
Avoid gastrointestinal problems — Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance should choose powders that don’t contain lactose sugars, artificial sweeteners or dextrins/maltodextrins. If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, don’t choose powders that contain gluten.
Stick to your budget — To save money, buy tubs of protein powder instead of ready-to-drink protein shakes which are more expensive because they’re convenient.
Get the most from your protein powder
Here are a few things to consider:
To recover after exercise, an athlete or avid exerciser should consume protein within 60 minutes of a workout. That’s when your muscles are most responsive to the use of protein for the repair and growth process.
To control your weight, it’s best to consume a steady supply of protein at each meal and snack to help keep you full.
Although there’s no magic number for how much protein to consume at one time, it’s best to aim for at least 3 ounces of protein per meal.
I have tried quite a few protein shakes and my favourite which i am currently using PHD Diet Whey Protein (Shown above) I picked this protein as its high in protein per gram per serving one scoop is 20g protein. It is low in calories 91 per scoop, its very low in fat, sugar and salt (Really important to look at the sugar contents as sometimes the calories are lower but the sugar content is higher. )
It’s also high in branched chain amino acids BCAA;s including cysteine and Glutamine.
I found this is really great for post workout recovery and would highly recommend to people who want a low calorie low sugar recovery protein shake. (Vanilla is my go to flavor great to add half a banana and and handful of blueberries.)
In the next few weeks we are going to discuss protein bars and snacks - Whats your go to Snack ....?