If you mention protein shakes, most people would probably think of big, burly men and muscle bros. However, protein supplements can be beneficial for anyone on a gym routine too. Here’s the low-down on them.
Are protein supplements really necessary?
Not really, but it is an easier and less time-consuming way to get your daily dose of protein. If you get enough protein from other whole food sources, then a protein shake is not necessary for you.
Protein shakes are basically protein powder mixed with water, and they help you reach your recommended daily protein intake. It may not seem like it, but getting enough protein is essential for muscle gain and fat loss.
If you are looking to tone up by losing weight and building muscle, hitting your daily protein intake is essential. Most people might think that cutting carbs would be a simpler solution to losing weight, but that my friend, will only make you skinny fat. And you don’t want that, do you?
Building muscle mass is important because it raises your overall metabolism, which in turn burns more calories in the long run.
So how do protein supplements help with fat loss and muscle gain again?
It’s kind of complicated but I’m going to try and simplify it, so don’t fall asleep yet OK?
High intensity workouts cause micro tears in muscle fibres, and these have to be rebuilt in order for muscles to develop. Protein is crucial to the rebuilding process.
If you find yourself stagnating with your physical progress or strength levels, it might be due to a lack of protein. You can train relentlessly, but if you don’t have enough protein to build those muscle fibres, you might not achieve your desired results.
What are some benefits of protein supplements?
As mentioned, protein shakes are really not necessary if you can hit your daily intake with food (and I’m not talking about McNuggets here…I mean wholesome, healthy food). However, there are definitely some benefits to protein shakes.
1. Protein shakes save you time and effort. Just mix it as per the directions, and you can take it with you to work or school. No cooking required.
2. Protein shakes get absorbed into your system quickly, as opposed to solid food, which takes some time to digest.
3. Protein shakes keep you full and satiated in between meals, which means less cravings and guilty snacking.
OK, I’m sold. But…how do I make a protein shake?!
Making a protein shake may seem simple, but take it from me – you don’t want to mix the wrong amount, or it’ll turn out either too watery or clumpy (which is as gross as it sounds, yes). Here’s how I usually do it:
1. You’ll need a shaker bottle and protein powder (obviously). Add 500ml of cold water into the shaker bottle.
2. Add 1 scoop of protein powder. Like this (see below).
3. Cap the bottle and shake it ferociously. Shake shake, shake it off.
4. Drink and feel all that protein goodness rushing through your body.
If you have time for a fancier recipe, you can use a blender to mix your protein with ingredients like milk, bananas and berries for a power protein smoothie.
Looks good, doesn’t it? (Source: dailyburn.com/Perry Santanachote)
Types of Protein Supplements
Whey Concentrate is one of the most common types of protein supplements, and is a good option for beginners as it is often affordable and easy to use. Whey can be used pre or post-workout, or even as a snack in between meals.
Best for: Protein powder newbies, people on a budget, or those who are looking for something simple to complement their strength training.
The difference between Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate is that the former has very low (or almost zero) carb content. However, Whey Isolate can be pricier than Whey Concentrate, as it is a purer form of protein (with less filler ingredients).
Best for: People who are on low-carb diets, or those looking to lean out.
Caesin (Before Bedtime)
Having Casein before you sleep ensures that your body has a constant supply of protein throughout the night. Due to its slow digestion rate, caesin sustains nutrient release to the muscles while you’re sleeping, which keeps your metabolism running throughout the night.
Best for: People who want to retain muscle mass.
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) aids muscle retention, increases protein synthesis and enhances performance. As the building blocks of protein, BCAAs can be used as an immediate source of energy during your workouts, or even to fight off fatigue. Add a scoop of BCAAs into your water and drink it during your workout.
Best for: People who want to give their workouts a boost.
I’m now a protein shake convert. But wait…where do I even buy protein supplements from?
You can get protein powder from most health or fitness stores, but here are a few online stores to check out:
Free local delivery for orders above $120 ($7 for other orders).
Free local delivery for orders above $120 ($6 for other orders).
Free local delivery for orders above $100 ($6 for other orders).
Free local delivery for orders above $90 ($5 for other orders).
Free local delivery for orders above $100 ($6 – $10 for other orders).
Free international shipping for orders above 40 USD.
One more thing – what kind of protein supplements should I get?
Beginners usually need to learn to be consistent with drinking protein shakes, so pick a flavour you like, be it whey concentrate or isolate. You’ll also learn the difference between crappy protein (doesn’t dissolve or digest well) and good ones.
If you feel lost, start with something like Whey Concentrate for a month or so. See what results you get with that, before investing in other brands.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Donna Samuel is a fitness enthusiast and certified personal trainer who specialises in Sports Massage. For enquiries about personal training sessions or group classes, drop her an email. If you’re in need of #fitspo, follow her on Instagram (@donnasamuel) or check out her fitness and health blog here.