Want to know a great way to divide a group of girls? Ask them their opinion on protein shakes!
The different opinions you will receive are pretty interesting, often amusing!
The standards I find are:
- Ew no, I like to eat proper food (because when proper food is brought down to liquid form it isn’t proper food anymore apparently)
- Won’t they make me huge like a bodybuilder? (Ask the local skinny guy in the gym about how easy it is to turn into a bodybuilder)
- Myself/friend/family member did those; lost 10 kilo’s in 5 weeks then put it all back on.
Number 3 certainly isn’t amusing, as it’s the sad truth of fad diets. Either way the responses show that most females are confused on the use and role of protein shake supplements.
What I’m going to clear up here is whether protein shakes do help you tone up and get better results from your training, or if you should save your money.
It ultimately comes down to the question ‘are you getting enough protein from your regular diet?’ Protein shakes are a supplement therefore they should supplement your diet.
How do you know if you are? Let’s explore.
A good general amount of daily protein to aim for maximum recovery and results from your training is 2 grams per kilo of lean body mass.
Some research suggests even 1.8 grams may be enough, but let’s go 2 to be safe.
Jane here is 65 kilo’s, she’s by no means overly fat, but her arms still jiggle when she waves and her stomach still pokes out over her tights a little.
She wants to lose a little body fat, and firm up those areas.
We work out she is approximately 25% body fat, meaning her lean body mass is about 49 kilo’s. For the sake of simplicity, the ideal protein intake for Jane is about 100 grams then.
Jane, is starting to get serious and like many girls have heard they need a protein source at each meal, so she ensures she does that. Does that mean she’ll hit her protein goal? Let’s have a look at a typical days eating.
Breakfast: 2 whole eggs – approx. 12 grams protein
Lunch: Tuna and Salad – approx. 15 grams of protein
Snack: handful of nuts – approx. 5 grams of protein
Dinner: Moderate sized Chicken breast + Vege’s – approx. 40 grams of protein
Total protein – 72 grams of protein
Keep in mind, that’s when she makes an EFFORT to get more protein in, she even snacked on what are so called ‘high protein snacks’ of nuts (reality is the amount of protein to calories and fat doesn’t make them an ideal choice or equal with other protein sources, sorry guidelines to healthy eating)
Whichever clown decided nuts and lean meat fit in the same category should have been stoned with macadamia’s.
Back to our Jane example, imagine her protein intake if she was eating like many females do with cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and really only meat at dinner. No wonder so many girls never see the true results from their weights training!
So for Jane here, a simple protein shake supplement would go along whey (see what I did there) to reaching her protein needs. Most contain 20-30 grams of protein, and barely any carbs or fat. This would ensure she nailed her amount.
Could she get enough from diet alone? Definitely! If she added in a few egg whites and low fat cheese for breakfast, some greek yogurt as a snack, had another can of tuna with her salad and a slightly bigger chicken breast at dinner she’d be good to go.
For some though, it’s just far more convenient in terms of food prep and necessary portions to eat to just use a protein supplement.
Essentially, this is what it comes down to. So there is no yes or no answer. As always, it depends.
I’ll quickly address the three points from above that I mentioned as well.
- Protein shakes vary in what is exactly in them, but if used as a supplement they are not taking away from your main staples of food. Also, just because they are liquid does not mean they are necessarily of less quality. McDonalds does solid food, but you’d take a shake over that any day.
- Protein shakes won’t make you huge, bulky or grow muscles on your muscles. There are shakes designed towards mass gain that are loaded with carbs, so don’t confuse those for the standard whey protein powders that are low calorie, fat and carb. Otherwise you’ll feel like Regina George off Mean Girls eating her so called weight loss bars, only to be seeing the scales go up!
- If you replace all your meals with shakes, you will probably go way to low on your daily energy needs, lose weight rapidly, and then gain it back when your transient will power wears off. In short, don’t bother!
There you go, you can now examine your own nutrition, and make an educated decision that will move you to getting better results.
Sweet, sweet progress.
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Committed to your long term success
David – The Body Shapers