Look around any gym in America, and you’ll likely see people lined up at the juice bar at the conclusion of their workout, ordering protein shakes. Open up any muscle magazine and you’ll see dozens of advertisements for protein powders of various flavors, makes and models. After a while, you begin to realize this magical powder must hold some key to success when it comes to getting bigger, stronger and leaner. And yes, this is the case! Protein is the macronutrient that makes your body to develop muscle following a very tough workout. It is a highly complex chemical process taking place at the cellular level in your body. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about all the chemistry behind you. You just have to train hard, get lots of rest, and consume a lot of protein!
Rare is the incredible physique that wasn’t built with daily protein shake feedings. The reasons are many, but the bottom line is that shakes deliver results. Protein shakes offer serious levels of convenience, but also fast delivery of amino acids. Why does this matter? Following your workout, your body is in a very rare state of thirst. A small period known as the “anabolic window” is open for perhaps 15 to 30 minutes following your workout. During this small window of time, your body wants and NEEDS a low-fat protein source, and quickly. This is where shakes come into play – and why you see so many people with amazing physique who are always shaking up their whey protein shakes following every single workout.
Convenience is the other obvious answer. The average scoop of protein powder will yield 20 to 25 grams of protein. A typical shaker will hold two scoops plus about 2 cups of water, easily accessible from a water fountain. Shake it up, chug it down, and you’re enjoying 40 to 50 grams of fat-free, highly useful protein in just 45 seconds! Due to the low fat content, these amino acids from the protein will be delivered in less than an hour. Your muscle fibers – hungry and deprived of amino acids – will become saturated which will lead to new muscle growth!
Your levels of overall body hardness will increase within about 3 days of starting twice-daily protein shake feedings. If you are currently consuming too many carbohydrates on a daily basis, then you probably possess a softer, puffier look that you’d prefer. This will go away if you cut back the carb intake and boost the number of protein grams you eat each day. Or, you can drink more protein! This is another situation where shakes are extremely useful. Meeting your daily numbers requirements for protein grams can be very difficult. Adding 40 to 50 grams with a quick shake will leave you hungry again just an hour later – which is ideal for athletes working to add a great deal of mass through daily protein consumption of 350 to 450 grams.
High protein diets lead to stronger, leaner athletes. There are limitations to how much protein is ideal for athletes, and your natural status will dictate that. Those athletes using AAS or GH will discover they can really eat virtually unlimited amounts of protein without gaining much weight in terms of body fat. We’re talking 400 to 600 grams per day – and they just seem to get bigger and stronger! On the other hand, natural athletes will start to gain body fat with a diet like that. So take your individual situation into account. You can also bump up your daily protein intake on training days and immediately following high volume training sessions. You need more calories and protein grams when you train hard, and fewer when you’re taking it easy on rest days.
Some lifters will bring their own protein shaker to the gym, leaving it inside their locker containing two scoops of protein. They’ll find
Others will prefer to buy a shake from the front desk at their gym. If your budget allows for it, then you might enjoy not only the variety of shake flavorings there, but other benefits as well. You can add other ingredients like bananas, peanut butter, or creatine. Also the addition of ice will leave shakes worlds more delicious. And as we all know, items that are enjoyable to eat are going to be a lot more likely to be consumed! If you love the taste of whey shakes from your gym, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to miss too many shakes following workouts!
You can read reviews online to see what flavors and brands of protein powder are going to best serve your needs. As far as flavors go, the taste and quality of shakes has improved drastically over the past ten years. Back in the 1980s, powders were bland, dry, and often tasted like powdered cardboard. Given the advent of new food processing technologies, and the competition delivered by worldwide shippers, protein companies have stepped up their game, delivering shakes that taste better, offering greater purity and nutritional content to consumers. The result is that you, the customer, have more options on a wider variety of products, in different flavors, with better taste! Most often, you get what you pay for. Most protein powder available on discount on the grocery shelves of your local Wal-Mart is going to deliver the exact quality you’d expect. On the other hand, higher end products with superior blends will deliver better results in terms of muscle recovery, leading to greater strength and size gains.
Recovery is the key to muscle growth – and the protein you drink each day will make all the difference in the world. Remember that too much protein isn’t ideal for anyone – but that the extremes needed to reach these levels of macronutrient intake won’t happen on accident. Eat your meals, throw down shakes frequently, and hit the gym hard. The results will be greater muscle and strength improvements each night as you sleep – are you ready for that?