To Shake Or Not To Shake?
I get this question sooooo often. Like a protein shake is the missing piece to someone’s fitness journey. They must think “Join a gym, buy new gym gear, get protein. Job Done.” Whether you have a protein shake or not is one of the last things to worry about, depending on your goals of course. Hopefully I’ll shed some light and my experience with protein shakes.
Firstly, they’re pretty much all the same. Whey protein is the most popular type of protein and they don’t differ too much between companies, all you’ll pay for is fancy packaging or expensive athlete sponsors, let me explain. I don’t want to name any names, but let’s call this brand MaximumMuscle. Let’s say MaximumMuscle pay to sponsor a rugby team, pay for high level athletes to support the brand, pay for advertising, pay for fancy offices etc etc etc, they need to charge more money for their protein. As opposed to the unknown brand who don’t have as many costs, they can charge less. The thing in the tub at the end of the day is more or less the same, you just pay for a brand.
Then you need to think whether you actually NEED a protein shake. A protein shake is a quick dose of protein into your diet, that’s all. It’s not legal steroids, it’s not gonna blow up your guns, it’s just extra protein. If you get the average couch potato to take a protein shake every day, nothing will change. If someone is already eating 200g of protein (this is an excessive amount encase you didn’t know) and you give them a protein shake, nothing will change. Protein shakes are for people who don’t consume as much protein as they need to recover.
Now I’m probably gonna get this number wrong, as there’s so much conflicting info out there. But on average you need 1.4g of protein per kilo of bodyweight to recover from a strength training workout. Now this is a rough guide, and definitely changes per person, but that’s the guidelines I tell my clients. That means the average 100 kilo person needs AT LEAST 140g of protein per day. And unless you’re having 2 chicken breasts per meal, it’s quite hard to hit in breakfast, lunch and dinner. Therefore a protein shake would be ideal.
“I’ve heard protein shakes are bad for you?”. This is incorrect. A protein shake is basically powdered milk. Yes there’s a few more processes that it goes through, but this is what it comes from. I agree that food-based protein sources are better for you, but sometimes a protein shake is easier. For example it is a great on the go snack which you can keep in your car, in your office, or anywhere you want. Now there is one type of protein shake that I definitely disagree with.
Meal replacement shakes. This is an abomination. Replacing foods with powder should never be encouraged. This is what companies (again, I’m trying not to use names) like HerbaLiving are trying to do. Asking customers to swap meals for a protein shake. This teaches NOTHING towards how to eat or cook healthy food. It teaches you to starve yourself. Which might work in the short term, but when you stop having the shakes, you’re back to square 1.
All in all I think protein shakes are a useful SUPPLEMENT to a diet, and should never be used as a replacement. I think most people who have 3 meals a day would find it hard to get the required protein in, so a protein shake could be useful, but you need to figure that out for yourself. A protein shake won’t magic you into shape. Following a sustainable eating and training plan will get you into shape.
Anyway, I hope this blog doesn’t go viral and get noticed by any companies that think I might be referring to them and I get shut down, but only time will tell.
If you have questions, feel free to drop me an email
Thanks for reading