Q: Should I have a protein shake after a workout?
Many believe that protein shakes are exclusively used by pro bodybuilders and gym rats but that’s not the case nowadays. The benefits of drinking a protein shake after a workout are numerous and they can be enjoyed by individuals outside of pro athletes and the typical bodybuilder. The benefits of drinking a protein shake after a rigorous exercise session include the following:
- Repairs muscle damage caused by exercise
- Assists with weight loss, perfect snack after a vigorous workout, it has efficient use of calories
- Easily digestible and absorbed very quickly, replenishes energy after your workout
- Quick and easy to prepare, no cooking required
- Inexpensive and very accessible, can take along to the gym with you
Before you get carried away it is important to understand that protein shakes can be easily abused and used excessively if you are not careful. I highly recommend you consume a maximum of 3 shakes per day and that is only if you are performing intense weight training sessions. Under normal circumstance one to two shakes a day is sufficient to supplement your protein requirements. On average your protein intake should very from 15% to a maximum of 40% of your calories depending on your physical activity level. The more weight training sessions you perform the closer you get to the 40% protein mark. Based on the typical 2000 calorie diet this means you should be consuming anywhere from 75 to 200 g of protein per day. Each scoop of powder protein is typically 25 g so a typical male would consume the equivalent of 2 to 3 scoops of protein per day on the low end. It is also important to note that you should never solely rely on protein drinks to provide all of your protein requirements. It is advantageous to combine real food protein sources such chicken, fish and egg whites, in addition to protein shakes.
Are all Protein Shakes Created Equal?
Finally I must inform you that all protein shakes are not created equally. The best form of protein shake begins with whey protein powder. Whey is a derivative of milk and is regarded as the highest quality protein available for consumption. When selecting a protein shake I highly recommend it contains a majority of whey protein, this is your indicator it is a high quality substitute for meat. Inferior products such as soy protein or vegetarian based powders should be avoided unless of course you are allergic to whey or have an issue with lactose.