There is often a lot of confusion about who should be drinking protein shakes and the effect that then can have on your body. But the truth is, no matter what your fitness goals are, protein is a vital part of your diet and people often do not get enough of it.
Protein shakes are a great way to get in the extra protein that you may be missing out on without lots of extra unnecessary calories.
Your goals will determine both what is included in your shake, and when you have it.
For weight loss, you may want to substitute a meal for a protein shake. E.g if you have just had a 6am workout, and have got to run off to work after, a protein shake is a quick, easy, low fat way to get in some nutrients.
This could mean:
- Adding a banana to
- 1 scoop of protein powder with
- half a cup of milk and
- 1 cup ice
Putting your shake at just below 200 calories but still being filling enough to satisfy you for the morning. However if your goal is mass gain but you find yourself in the same situation, you could make a shake with:
- half a cup of oats,
- a banana,
- 2 scoops of protein and
- some peanut butter with milk.
This is still easy to make and can be drunk on your commute, but instead hitting above 500cals per ‘meal’.
One thing to watch out for is the type and quality of protein you are buying. Shakes can be bought pre-made, or you can buy powders and make your own. When buying pre-made always be cautious of the sugar content in them. Some may say they have high protein but actually have a larger amount of sugar. These are generally called ‘refuelling drinks’. They claim to be ideal for after a workout but can really be giving back all the calories that you’ve worked so hard to burn off.
Protein powder has loads of variations in flavour and quality, and there’s an overwhelming amount of brands to choose from. Although a lower price tag may seem more appealing, you want to make sure you are going for good quality protein. Where the protein is sourced and what its mixed with will affect the amount that your body can actually take in and use. So although you might think you’re getting a good deal, the protein isn’t actually being used by your body and will not have any health benefits. Look out for the quality assurance and always check where the protein is coming from!
Once you have chosen your brand, the next one is the flavour! I won’t list every flavour of protein shake under the sun but there are a lot of options for you! Chocolate, mint, strawberry cheesecake….. The lowest calorie option is to mix with water, but depending on the brand this can leave a funny texture of shake so most prefer to mix with milk for a smooth tasty drink.
Another plus of making your own shakes is that you have more freedom of what else goes in it, other than having less sugar, you can choose to add oats, bananas, berries or anything else you fancy! Experiment and make it your own, as if you enjoy it you’re more likely to consistently get the protein in.
You can, of course, control the calories too by adding/ removing these things to suit your needs. You can find out how much protein you should be eating depending on your goals in the simplest way:
If your goal is mass gain you want to have 1.5-2.6g of protein per kilo of bodyweight. So a 80kg person should aim for 120-208g of protein a day. For someone looking to maintain their muscle mass, the goal is 1.2g per kg: 96g for someone of the same weight.
If you are interested in learning more about how protein, carbohydrates and fats can impact your training make sure you sign up to our 21-day programme (THERE’S ONLY 3 SPACES LEFT) by clicking the link: https://sandownsports.co.uk/offers/21-day-kickstart/.
Don’t forget you can always enjoy a fresh protein shake at the Terrace Bar after your workout!