My take on Protein Shakes
You don't need to be a protein pro to digest the right information. So are all protein shake supplements bad? No. Are many brands full of bulking agents, unwanted additives with poor quality protein?? Yes. Is the protein shake supplement Industry corrupt? Generally speaking... Yes! Bottom line, there are some fantastic protein supplements out there amongst many, many below par products.
First & Foremost... Protein through food sources is the BEST option! Lean meats, fish, turkey, chicken, beef, eggs, quinoa, beans, nuts, wheatgerm, tofu, lentils etc are foods rich is protein - both in animal and plant form. If you're looking to keep your protein levels high then make sure your diet is rich in protein. After all, protein is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids, which are the building blocks for healthy bodies. Protein (amongst many health benefits) is responsible for the maintenance, repair and growth of muscle cells and is therefore a hugely important macronutrient for each and every one of us. Especially my HRF clients & active athletes among us!
The ugly truth: Companies will do just about anything to make you buy their product through a number of ways: Label claims, celebrity endorsement, before & after photos, protein potency claims etc. Don't be fooled! Understand what's going into your body before loading up on ingredients that are foreign to you!
For guys and girls looking for high protein sources, they might see a protein supplement with 50 grams per serving!? Winner winner right!? Not necessarily. Check the serving amount. 3 LARGE SCOOPS per serving?? 2 weeks later and it's all gone! Thats a strange serving size wouldn't you say? Best buy yourself some more. You see where I'm going with this. Margins, profits! These are businesses striving to make as much money as they possibly can! Cynical view point? Absolutely not. It's simply the truth and there's a sucker born every minute to keep these major companies booming!
Blends: If you're looking for a decent protein. generally don't get a blend... A lot of the time, it's another way of lightening the load and quality of protein. There are two common types of 'whey' protein. Look out for Whey Protein Isolate which is over 90% pure protein. This is the quality protein you need. Whey protein concentrate on the other hand can be as little as 25% protein with the rest made up of fat & carbohydrates. Read the labels carefully. However if you're looking for a bulking product to gain overall mass, a protein concentrate with added carbohydrates and fat may suit you better. There are some good blends out there, but know your protein before purchasing,
Which moves me onto my next point... There are different types of protein. Fast releasing, slow releasing, animal, egg, milk, soy, vegetable proteins that offer something different. So it's important you work out what protein source best suits your goals and what effect they have on your body. A male athlete wanting to gain muscle for example is likely to benefit from a whey or caesin based protein shake. However, he may not respond so well to a soya based protein shake as studies have shown that Soy increases oestrogen levels and lowers testosterone which is counterproductive for a muscle builder.
MY 3 HRF TOP TIPS:
1. Know what you want to achieve before you purchase protein supplements. Whether it's to add clean muscle bulk, overall mass, meal replacement, aid fat loss, faster recovery between sessions etc. There are literally millions of different products out there. Your selection is vital. Get in touch. Get it right.
2. Make sure you're aware of what's going in your body by reading the label carefully. Don't be fooled by the advertising and promotions of big companies. Avoid energy enhancing protein shakes. Sweeteners & other bulking additives like coffee extract, cocoa, guarana etc are short term stimulants that will spike you then drop you! These will not enhance your energy levels.
3. Don't substitute meals with shakes. Although these shakes are quick and easy, they don't have the same power & effect of fresh food! Use the shakes to boost nutrient levels to work seamlessly along side your healthy balanced diet...
Final note: If you have a high protein diet and take protein shakes daily, be aware that this can increase urine output so make sure you stay well hydrated.
With my Sports Science BSc Degree at the University of Bath, my Level 3 PT qualification & having tried and tested many protein supplements over the last 11 years of weight training, not to mention constantly reading up on studies and contacting large supplement businesses for answers. I am qualified, experienced and able to offer helpful advice. I also communicate with dieticians and specialists on a weekly basis. Hear to help & happy to hear from you. Get in touch today to help you find the right protein for you!