Working out and protein shakes go together like peanut butter and jelly, but there’s so much noise surrounding protein shakes that it can be challenging to figure out when to drink them and how much to drink. Especially for those of you new to working out, the whole concept of protein shakes can be a bit of a mystery. That’s why we’ve crafted the ultimate guide to protein shakes!
In this post, we’ll clarify the major misconceptions surrounding protein shakes and cover the basics of when and how to drink these liquid power shots.
One of the largest conversations surrounding protein shakes is the blanket statement that they’reALL bad for you. However, not all protein powders are created equal; it’s the ‘bad ones’ that contain inflated levels of sugar, calories, or worse—toxins (thanks to loose FDA rules)—that taint the usefulness of protein powder.
In just the same way you examine labels at the grocery store, you’ll also need to do this with protein powders. If you’re interested in finding out if your protein powder has toxins in it, check out cleanlabelproject.org.
Protein is a macronutrient comprising 16% of your body mass and it plays a role in constructing blood, bone, muscle, skin, and cartilage. It also has a hand in repairing damaged tissue and creating hormones and enzymes. Basically, protein is a heavy-lifter, so if you’re not getting enough to support your activity level, you’re at risk for deficiency, overtraining, or injury.
The most important thing to remember is to eat enough naturally occurring protein (animal or plant-based sources like chicken or tofu) every day to maintain good health.
Just keep in mind that not all protein sources are complete, so protein pairing (e.g., beans and wild rice) becomes essential for a properly balanced diet.
The truth about supplements is simple: take a vitamin or protein on an AS NEEDED basis. It’s so simple and can be so clean and healthy that it’s criminal to assert protein powder is bad for you.
Take it if you need it, and be sure to follow the recommendations on the label when you do. Here are some reasons why you’d supplement with protein shakes:
No matter your dietary preference there’s a powdered protein to suit your needs. Learn more about protein by reading our post on:Plant Protein vs. Animal Protein.
Here are the most common protein powders.
Interested in plant-based diets? Check out ourBodyRock Plant-Based Vegan Ebook. (It’s on sale now!)
Once you nail down a protein source, the next step is finding the right protein powder for you. As we said before, not all proteins are created equal, so when it comes to finding the best protein powder, there are a few golden rules.
This may seem straightforward, but the actual answer to when to drink protein shakes depends on your fitness goals. Keep reading.
In addition to reading the label, you’ll want to use a protein calculator to determine what your daily intake should be. Read our article onProtein Requirements by Age. Your goals, sex, activity level, and genetics will also play a role in determining your requirements.
Keep in mind that factors like breastfeeding or pregnancy can impact your calculations as they affect your energy requirements.
Generally speaking, your daily protein requirement is:
Once you’ve got your number, the average scoop of protein powder runs in at 25 grams of protein—nearly half your daily requirement—so this makes planning your protein pretty straightforward.
You’ve decided it’s time to supplement with protein shakes, but if this is new terrain, this is your HOW-TO guide to mixing up a shake to avoid the dreaded “chalk-o-shake.”
Ask anyone in the fitness community if they believe protein powder mixes well with water, and the overwhelming answer is hell no—but in a pinch, it does the job.
If you have the time and the ingredients, however, try amping up your protein shake with these tasty tips.
Love smoothies but need a crash course in making them at home? Check out ourBodyRock Smoothie eBook for dozens of protein-packed smoothies that are also replete with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Okay, all that said there are some ground rules you’re going to want to follow so that you don’t blow your fitness plan with the best of intentions. At the end of the day, protein powder is here to help NOT hinder your efforts, so avoid these common protein shake fails.
Whether you’re drinking protein shakes for weight loss or lean gains, they can serve a useful purpose in making sure you’re getting enough protein to compensate for protein lost during exercise and/or fat loss. And now that we’ve given you the shake-o-logy there’s no need to settle for chalk water: just dig out your blender and whip up a protein smoothie and you’re golden.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite, heavy HIITing workouts that will put every ounce of your protein shake to good use. Feature lifting-based classes, the Protein Shake playlist is perfect for people who want to supercharge their lean gains.
We'll give you one workout for FREE, but you'll need to become a subscriber to enjoy the full Playlist.
Your skin after a workout has unique needs. Here’s what you need to include in your post-workout skincare routine for vibrant, beautiful skin.
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