If you’re looking to add muscle, then you need to add protein to your diet. Muscle is made from amino acids, which in turn come from protein. If you’re breaking down your muscles with training then, you need an ample supply of amino acids ready to repair that damage and help them to come back thicker and stronger. This is a fundamental law of hypertrophy and cannot be dismissed.
But where you do have a little bit of flexibility is in choosing how and when you get your protein. And one of the biggest questions here is whether you go for a protein shake, or you try to get all your protein from meat in your diet. What’s better?
Shake Vs Meat
You might notice that we haven’t included the option of getting protein from plant sources. That’s because this is a clearly inferior method for increasing protein intake. Plant sources of protein like soy are less bioavailable, have a worse amino acid profile and have even been shown to lower levels of testosterone. There’s a reason why real athletes use whey and egg protein shakes and not soy protein shakes. Sorry veggies!
As for the meat vs shake argument, the winner has got to be meat. When you get your protein from actual animal sources like eggs, steaks and chicken breast, you get that protein in a highly bioavailable form that is in all the right proportions for the body to absorb. Why? Because we evolved while eating meat in this form – the meat isn’t perfect for us, we’re perfect for it.
Did you know that you can also get CoQ10 and creatine from beef? It’s effectively a superfood for bodybuilding that combines multiple potent bodybuilding supplements alongside highly bioavailable amino acids – all washed down with a good amount of fat for aiding absorption and providing energy. Organ meats are actually even more awesome.
Why You Still Need Protein Shake
But all that said, most bodybuilders will still use some protein shake or other. Why? Because it’s simply more practical. Not only is eating a ton of meat highly expensive but it’s also incredibly difficult to carry around and to find when you’re travelling. Protein shake is very cost effective, it can include all sorts of other useful nutrients and supplements blended in (if you use an ‘all-in-one’ product) and it tastes good to boot.
So protein shake is good (as long as you choose the right one) but the key is to remember that it is a supplement. As in, it should be supplementary to your diet – not a replacement for your protein. Eat lots of chicken, egg and everything else you can and then just use your protein shakes to knock yourself above the target 1gram per pound of body fat. Meanwhile, you can also take them along with you whenever you’re
Meanwhile, you can also take them along with you whenever you’re travelling or otherwise might struggle to get the protein from your diet. Peri-workout shakes are far more convenient than taking chicken legs to the gym for instance…