Even non-bodybuilders understand what an important role protein shake has in building muscle. One of the questions that bodybuilders will hear most regularly is ‘if I use protein shake and don’t workout… will I still get into good shape?’. Well that’s one of the questions anyway; the other one you hear is ‘should you really be pumping that rubbish into your system?’.
Both of these questions of course are completely misguided and do nothing other than illustrate the ignorance of the people asking them. But before you get to harsh on those ‘normal folk’, it’s worth remembering that a lot of bodybuilders also don’t know nearly enough about the shakes they’re spending so much money on.
Protein shakes are a simple, safe and straightforward supplement with an important role for bodybuilding. They are not 100% required and they are not a wonder drug that will miraculously make you super strong overnight. Likewise they aren’t in anyway dangerous and are a lot more ‘natural’ than a lot of the rubbish we all eat on a daily basis. To get the most from them you need to understand precisely what they are and how they work, and then you need to introduce them to your training in a logical and smart fashion.
What is Protein Shake?
or starters then, what precisely is protein shake? Well as the name suggests, protein shake is essentially just a powder that can be mixed with milk and which will offer the user a large amount of lean protein in a particularly convenient format that they can carry around with them and mix into a tasty drink. Protein meanwhile is crucial for bodybuilders because it is made up of amino acids – the constituents that our bodies use in order to repair and grow our muscles.
Types of Protein Shake
So where does this protein come from? Well that depends on the type of protein shake, with the very most popular kind being ‘whey protein’. Whey protein is made from whey powder, which in turn is a by-product of the cheese making process. In other words it comes from milk and provides a particularly good amino acid profile. Basically when you use protein shake then, you’re just consuming the same stuff you get when you drink milk. It’s perfectly natural and so people who tell you it’s ‘bad for you’ really don’t know what they’re talking about.
Another option meanwhile is ‘casein’. Casein is another protein that comes from milk and is similar to whey in many ways. The main difference though is that casein is ‘slow release’. In other words, when you drink casein your body will get the amino acids from it slowly throughout the day. This is in contrast with whey which releases the amino acids much more rapidly.
The next option is egg protein which has a particularly good amino acid profile (meaning it’s particularly ‘useable’ protein for the body) but which is quite expensive compared with other forms of protein. Finally you have soy protein which is suitable for vegetarians but isn’t quite as good in terms of the available amino acids.
Using Protein Shake
Now you know what’s in your protein shake you need to know when to use it. For maximum results you want your body to gain access to the amino acids just as it starts building and repairing muscle and other tissue. In other words you want to get protein in your system when your body is in an ‘anabolic state’ with lots of available testosterone and growth hormone. The best time to do that is either while you sleep (in which case casein is the ideal protein choice) or straight after a workout (in which case you want whey or egg protein).
There’s much more to learn about protein shake, but now you’re armed with the basic information you need to start getting the most from yours!