Protein Shakes – The Basics

As soon as I tell anyone that I’m going to the gym and I lift weights I get the obligatory comments of “don’t get too big” “are you going to be one of those competing women in the bikinis?” “muscles make girls look manly”

And unfortunately, there are often similar comments about protein shakes too. Many people believe that protein shakes are reserved for bodybuilders so that they can gain weight. Although this is true for some protein shakes, protein is essential for the repair, maintenance and growth of muscles. A prolonged lack of protein can lead to unwanted muscle and weight loss. So all of that time you spent sweating in the gym could be wasted if you aren’t consuming enough protein.

It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female. All athletes need to absorb the right amount of protein for the exercise they are doing. Protein shakes are a good way of upping your protein intake, building muscle quickly and shortening your recovery time.

Whilst there are some shakes designed to help you gain weight and muscle, there are different types of shakes dependant on your goal. The important thing when searching for the ideal protein for you is to remember what your end goal is.

When should I take my protein shake?

Protein shakes are designed to shorten your recovery time, as well as build muscle. So it’s important to know when to take your shake.

Although this hasn’t yet got a solid answer and I think some people will have different opinions on this, recent studies show that it is most beneficial to have your protein shake during or immediately after your workout. This is because your muscles are very absorbent and need as much help as possible to recover from the work you’ve just put them through. As well as this, your heart rate is increased and blood is travelling around the body faster, so those essential nutrients will get where they are needed much faster.

Personally, I like to take my shake straight after my workout. I’ve tried doing it before a workout and to say that that workout didn’t go well is an understatement. It made me feel bloated and lethargic so I literally sat on my sofa waiting for my body to digest it. I couldn’t even bring myself to work out because by the time I’d overcome the bloat it was getting late. Taking it afterwards means that my muscles are still buzzing from my workout and it can be digested much quicker.

My personal favourites ..

I have noticed a huge difference in my weight loss and muscle gain since using protein shakes. My favourite is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein. One of my favourite flavours is banana cream. It tastes like those little foam banana sweets you used to get in the pick and mix sweets as a kid!
You can check out Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard here.

A few people have told me that Optimum Nutrition is too expensive for them, so a good alternative is the MyProtein range. Since becoming a vegetarian a couple of months ago I’ve been using supplements from MyProtein and the flavours are fantastic. Speculoos is one of my favourites and they even have a vegan range!
Head over to this link for more information.

I hope this helps to give you a little more knowledge into the world of protein shakes. I’d love to know your experiences of protein shakes, particularly when you take them.

Happy training!

A.x

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