There’s a big misconception when it comes to protein shakes and working out.
Any South Park fan out there can attest Cartman’s consumption of protein shakes did not result in automatic muscle gain.
Do protein shakes work? Should you use them?
The answer lies in your goals and your activity level.
Are you looking to increase muscle mass? If so, protein shakes can help. But so can altering your diet to ensure you are intaking enough protein. Fitness magazines are full of articles touting various protein supplements, but take a look at the bulk of the ad space in those publications. Behold the power of marketing.
If you’re a casual workout person, there’s really no need to be downing shakes before and/or after your bout. If you do 10 pushups at home and down a shake you’re not going to see results.
To gain muscle you have to train smart and hard. You should be focusing on lower reps and higher weight resistance, with a goal of trying to add 5% more weight each week.This level of training actually tears your muscles and forces them to repair and grow. This is where the protein comes into play. If you’re not pushing yourself, you don’t need the increased intake.
Those in peak physical condition need about 0.8 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. If you’re not quite an Olympic caliber athlete, but are still hitting the gym 3-5 days a week, you should be taking in about 0.5 – 0.6 gram of protein per pound.
Your body does not store protein. You digest 10 grams of whey protein per hour, but your body will only absorb what it needs. So anything above and beyond what your body can use passes through your kidneys and out of your body.
If you are opting to drink protein shakes to supplement your hard training, aim to consume the cleanest whey protein you can find. Avoid those that are full of sugars, colors and other additives.
Bottom line…if you’re training hard and for muscle gain drink up. If you think downing a Muscle Milk after walking around the block will add size…it will, but in the form of fat from the sugar that’s added to the product.