If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ve probably already gone out and bought yourself a huge tub of protein powder. This seems to be what just about every fitness fanatic does these days and it’s easy to see why.
Protein shakes are marketed as the answer to all our problems. They promise huge muscle gains and to many people, they appear to offer a solution to their gaining woes. The truth is, protein shakes are fantastic and when used correctly, they do allow you to supercharge your results. But you might have wondered, do you really NEED to drink protein shakes?
What You Need To Know About Protein Shakes
When it boils down to it, a protein shake does exactly what it says on the tin (or perhaps tub would be more appropriate). It allows you to significantly add to your daily protein intake in an easy, convenient and cheap way.
When you calculate the cost per serving of a protein shake, it will usually work out at just a few cents and for this, you’re probably going to get around 25 – 30 grams of high quality whey protein.
The thing is, you need to consume quite a lot of protein if you’re looking to gain muscle. There’s a lot of debate about the exact amount of protein you should consume each day, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s considered to be around 1 gram per pound of lean body mass.
So, let’s say you’re already quite lean and you weigh about 250 pounds. You’re probably going to need to consume around 250 grams of protein a day (if you’re regularly working out). If you obtained all of this from protein shakes, you’d have to have 10 servings every day; this would be far from healthy.
The Importance Of A High Protein Diet
As you can see, it’s important that you don’t rely on protein shakes for 100% of your daily protein intake. In fact, the average person shouldn’t really be consuming more than 2 – 3 protein shakes per day. Maximum.
Because of this, you’re going to need to make sure that you have a high protein diet so you can get enough protein to really make a difference. Obviously, getting this protein can be a problem for some people, which is where supplements come in handy but there really is a tonne of foods that are high in protein out there if you look.
Red meats, chicken, fish, dairy, eggs and even nuts are all high in protein so wherever possible, incorporate these into your diet.
Essentially, you only need protein shakes if you’re struggling to gain enough protein from your regular diet. You should figure out how many calories and how many grams of protein a day you need and if you fall short of this figure, incorporate protein shakes into your diet.
It’s also important to remember that whey protein can be particularly useful post-workout as your muscles will be in need of energy and protein in order to start repairing.