If you are working out and want to pack on some muscle, you should be packing some more protein into your diet. Protein is made of amino acids which help your body build and maintain muscle tissue. Protein also supports the immune system and the production of red blood cells. Some good sources of protein include meat, eggs, fish, milk and soy.
Many people who want to promote muscle growth also add protein shakes to their diet. Protein shakes are a blend of protein powder and a variety of other healthy ingredients such as nuts, vegetables, milk, fruits and more. Protein shakes offer a balance of protein, carbs, fat and vitamins that fuel your body with muscle-building nutrients.
Which protein powder should you use?
For muscle gain, Bodybuilding.com suggests using whey protein powder because it is a complete protein and contains essential and nonessential amino acids. In fact, whey protein offers many other healthful benefits. To learn more, read Authority Nutrition’s Whey Protein 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
The best time to drink a protein shake
One of the best times to consume a protein shake is immediately after an intense workout, when your muscles are recovering. The shakes supply your body with protein that will help your muscles heal and grow.
Protein shake recipes
Protein shakes don’t have to be boring. Shake up your protein powder routine with these great recipes.
Pina Colada Protein Shake – Give yourself a little taste of the tropics with this Pina Colada Protein Shake made with pineapple juice and coconut milk.
Blueberry Almond Shake – Almond butter gives this shake a delicious nutty flavor and blueberries add an important boost of antioxidants.
Super Shake – Men’s Health shares the step-by-step formula for making the perfect super shake.
Mocha Protein Shake – Rev up your workout with this caffeinated protein shake.
Orange Creamsicle Protein Shake – Is it a dessert? Create this refreshing shake with just a few simple ingredients.
Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Shake – This classic favorite is high in protein, potassium and flavor.
Spinach Protein Shake – Spinach is rich in iron and other vitamins and nutrients. Blend spinach with protein powder, almond milk and other ingredients and you have a green shake that’s both delicious and nutritious.
Can you have too many protein shakes?
In this Eat This, Not That! article, nutritional experts Martha McKittrick, Rd CDE and Isabel Smith, RD, CDN, said you can consume too many supplements such as protein shakes and protein bars. Protein supplements should be just that – supplements to natural food. They suggest that you consume no more than two protein supplements a day. McKittrick said, “Since shakes and bars often don’t have as much fiber or volume as natural foods, they don’t make us feel as full. This can make it more challenging to lose weight. What’s more, many products contain artificial sweeteners that can increase cravings for sweets.”
How much protein powder do you need?
Bodybuilding.com has a protein intake calculator that makes it easy to determine the optimal protein intake for your age, goal and activity level. Check it out here!