Getting Enough Protein

In a time poor society such as ours, convenience becomes a very important concept. While we’re bombarded everyday with messages urging us to be healthy and fit, our busy lives and the environment around us make that goal harder to achieve than what the messages suggest. Imagine coming home after a hard days work and an intense weight or cardio session. The last thing you would feel like doing is preparing and cooking a balanced meal. This becomes a problem considering most industry experts agree that nutrition is perhaps 70-80% of where your effort should be concentrated at to attain your goals. Instead, after a hard days slog, many people turn to more convenient carbohydrate rich foods. Over time this can lead to a decline in the overall amount of protein being consumed. Lack of protein means a lack of muscle growth and recovery. In addition, overloading your body with the wrong carbs can wreack havoc on your pancreas over time, slowly leading you down the path towards insulin resistance and diabetes.

Protein Shakes are Convenient

Using protein shakes is a relatively cheap, effective and convenient solution to supplementing your daily protein needs. Remember though that your goal is to get the majority of your nutrients from whole foods first, so avoid relying completely on protein shakes to get your protein as you may be missing out on a variety of other fantastic nutrients found in real foods. Having said that, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use a good protein supplement to help you reach your training goals. In fact, if used properly, the right protein shake can help you achieve your goals faster.

Best Protein Shake For Me

Picking the right protein and the right supplementation procedure is almost as important as having the shake itself. Here’s a step by step guide to the different types of protein shakes available and when to use it.

Meal Replacement Protein Shakes

Meal replacement protein shakes or MRP’s are perfect for those people who just don’t have enough time to eat three square main meals per day. Many MRP’s are packed full of protein, fat and carbohydrates which mimic the macronutrient distribution of a main meal. On top of that, most MRP’s also contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients to ensure that you aren’t going to miss out on those as well. Many meal replacement proteins are also lower in calories than an average main meal of about 600 calories. So essentially, you do stand the chance of losing weight by using MRP’s.

  • For the busy man or woman who doesn’t have time to cook or eat one or more main meals.
  • Look for about 300-600 calories, high in fibre, contains vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fat.
  • Tips – make it a more filling, nutritious and flavoursome meal by adding a variety of fruits, yoghurts, sorbets or flaxseed oil.

Protein Powders

Protein powders are the lifeblood of supplementation for bodybuilders, athletes and the recreational trainer alike. Correct timing of protein powders is a great way to achieve maximum muscle growth and improve recovery. Generally low in carbohydrates, fat and other micronutrients, they are an easy and quick way to get a high dose of quality protein. Great before, during or after your workouts or as a low calorie snack option, one shake a day for low intensity trainers and up to 3-4 servings a day for higher intensity trainers will have you looking lean and mean in no time.

  • For anyone who exercises on a regular basis.
  • Look for at least 25-30g of protein per serving with at least 6g of essential amino acids.
  • Tips – making it with skim milk or skim milk powder can boost the protein content even further.

Fat Loss Protein Shakes

Fat loss proteins are a name given to protein powders which contain a variety of naturally derived ingredients which may promote weight loss through a variety of mechanisms including mild appetite suppression, increased thermogenesis and reduced digestion and/or absorption of fat or carbs to name a few. Still high in protein and low in carbohydrates, they can be used by persons wishing to lose some body fat while still achieving balanced or positive protein balance and for those with a predominantly endomorphic body type.

  • For – people who regularly exercise and want an extra boost in their ability to lose weight.
  • Look for – a good dose of weight/fat loss ingredients while still maintaining 25-30 g of protein.
  • Tips – with some fat loss proteins, it may be necessary to consume 2-3 serves in order to get therapeutic amounts of the fat loss ingredients.

Mass Gaining Protein Shakes

As its name suggests, mass gaining proteins are exactly that, they are meant to help an individual gain mass. They are high in protein, carbs and often fats as well, resulting in a supplement with a large amount of calories with anywhere between 250-1000 calories per serve. Sometimes eating an extra 500 calories on top of what you already are eating isn’t as easy as it seems and liquid supplements are a great way to achieve the necessary caloric requirements for weight gain whilst avoiding feeling too full in the process.

  • For – people looking to add on some mass or bulk as well as general hard-gainers or ectomorphic individuals.
  • Look for – a product with similar amounts of protein and carbs whilst being low in saturated fat.
  • Tips – sometimes the recommended serving sizes are much too large to be consumed in one go. Aim to get at least an additional 500
    calories per day split between 2-3 servings to avoid bloating, which can cut down on your usual intake.

Ready to Drink Protein Shakes (RTD's)

Ready to drink proteins or RTD’s are the ultimate convenience protein supplement. For those who don’t have access to or room to fit a shaker bottle, RTD’s are the easiest way to get a quick source of protein after your workouts or as a snack on the go. Their convenience does come at a price though. They usually end up costing anywhere between 1.5-2 times the average cost of a serve of protein from a tub, so have these sparingly if you’re looking to save some money.

  • For – the super busy individual who wants to avoid measuring powder and messy clean ups.
  • Look for – a RTD that provides you with at least 30g of protein with at least 6g of EAAs if possible.
  • Tips –  remember to always carry the drink in a bag or small container. There’s nothing worse than spilt drink over your belongings.

Protein Shakes for Adequate Protein Intake

While the need for protein is increased with increased training, remember that having adequate protein in your diet is just one part of achieving the results you want. Making sure you get plenty of other nutrients as well as training and resting adequately and properly will help you reach your goals faster. As the protein market is wide and plentiful, picking the right protein can sometimes be a daunting process. To help you out, why not ask around in forums or to the our friendly staff keeping in mind your goals and your build.

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