[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the biggest subjects that comes up to me as a personal trainer is clients asking if they should invest in protein shakes as they are getting more and more popular within the fitness industry.
Straight of the bat I am going to tell you protein shakes are not a magic pill, and they will not give you the results you desire without putting in the hard work, but they do have their benefits when consumed alongside a well-balanced and healthy life style.
Many companies and even some trainers, love to promote these drinks a lot more than they should without telling you everything you need to know about them and when and why they should be used.
When you start exercising your protein intake will be a lot higher than before as your body needs more to repair your muscles (especially after resistance training, which you should be doing if weight/fat loss is your goal). Does this mean you HAVE TO consume a protein shake straight after your workout? No.
At the end of the day, protein is protein, it doesn’t matter whether you consume it through whole foods or supplements, but what does matter is that you’re getting the right amount from day to day specific to your goals.
If you are unsure of how much protein you actually need, then here is the simplest answer. Whether you are trying to gain weight or lose it, you need to consume 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound of body weight, so if you weigh 180 pounds, you should be consuming circa 180 grams of protein daily. For many clients on weight loss programmes, their protein intake is usually increased anywhere between 1.1 grams – 1.3 grams of protein per pound to maintain as much muscle mass as possible while burning fat.
If you know that your protein intake is too low, this doesn’t mean you should grab a protein shake straight away. Good high quality protein can be easily consumed from a wide variation of food such as fish, lean meats, eggs, dairy products, beans and nuts.
One thing I would definitely avoid doing is consuming a protein shake as a meal replacement. See it more as a snack to have quickly and easily after your workout, to see you through until your next meal whatever time it may be.
As a personal trainer, I never push anyone towards any type of protein shakes unless they 100% cannot consume the amount of protein required on a daily basis.
One circumstance I would recommend a protein shake is if you are on the go a lot, as it is so easy to stick in the car or in your bag while you don’t have anything else on hand.
Hopefully you now know if you actually need protein shakes in your plan or not, if you are still unsure about anything then don’t be scared to ask!
Reece Halsey – Impact Personal trainer