Why Should I Be Drinking Protein Shakes?
I, like most Personal Trainers, actively promote the use of protein supplements alongside your diet. Many people who aren’t familiar with shakes, bars and other forms of protein supplements will tend to share a negative opinion and associate it with a certain stereotype of gym user.
“Shakes are for meatheads”, tends to be the popular theory of most of those who don’t take supplements. It is true that most serious gym users do take supplements (with some taking some more serious ‘gear’), and there are some PT’s that I know of who try and eat clean without the additional help of shakes, snacks and tablets; but there is a simple benefit that cannot be overlooked.
Supplements help you reach your required daily protein intake. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to build muscle mass, or lose weight, protein supplements will help you achieve your goals.
And What Does Protein Do Again?…
All the organs in your body, including connective tissues, muscles, hair, nails and other forms of cells have varying amounts of protein that make up its mass. Unlike carbs and fats, proteins are not stored in your body and when there is a lack of it, the body cannot draw into a pool for replenishment.
You also use protein to create enzymes and hormones, as well as being a key foundation for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
You get different kinds of protein as well, but for this, you only need to worry about 9 amino acids (proteins) that you require for muscle growth and repair.
The 9 amino acids are; histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine (if you were wondering, which you may not have been!)
When you are working out, a by-product of exercising is muscle tissue damage meaning that your body needs to repair the muscle. The building blocks that the body uses are known as amino acids (proteins). Processes occur between those amino acids and satellite cells that attach to the muscle tissue and thus, repair and build new higher quality muscle tissue.
Therefore, high quality branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) must be ingested through our diet! Of course, poultry, eggs, nuts and fish are very popular sources of high quality protein. This process is more optimal when ingested with a good quality carbohydrate source.
Many dairy products, including whey, possess a high amount of the 9 essential BCAA’s needed for the muscle repair/building process. Whey, is a very popular source in protein supplements (My protein source is PHD Diet Whey). If you are to look at a protein supplement that is made from Whey then you are definitely on the right track!
But Which Protein Shake is For Me?
This is a very good question, and to be honest, each trainer will have a slightly different opinion. Some shakes will offer differing quantities of various nutrients, and some will claim to ‘build explosive muscle’ in a very in your face way. The truth is, you should shop around and find the best one for you.
I will be honest and say that I have tried a fair few suppliers and I have found that PHD have offered the best results for me, and are by far the best tasting! Look to buy online too, as the supermarkets and stores in town will rip you off big time. When I first started buying protein, it wasn’t long before I realised that you could get double the quantity for the same price as a supermarket outlet.
But, Do I Have to Start Downing Shakes
You do not have to start drinking shakes to make progress. You can keep trying to get in as much high quality protein through food sources. I am saying that if you have maybe even one shake a day that possesses around 30 g’s of protein upwards, then it will help you get to your recommended protein intake for you.
And if you are exercising regularly, you know that you need to be replenishing your body with high quality protein each day. As your body can’t store that much-needed macro, then you need to make sure your topping up your protein tank!
Linear PT Paul Walshe
BSc Sport & Exercise Science
Strength & Conditioning Coach