It’s a pretty common recommendation for someone who exercises after they work out on their own or with a personal trainer to have a protein shake. But do you really need one? The answer will probably surprise you. Let me explain…
First A Little About Protein And Exercise
It’s a common to think that lifting weights will make you more tone, and it does. BUT, there’s something else going on in there in the middle that’s EXTREMELY important to understand.
While you’re lifting weights you’re actually damaging muscle tissue and breaking it down. It’s during the recovery process that you repair muscle, helping it grow and give you the lean hourglass shape you’re looking for. Think of losing body fat as “taking up less space”, and think of increasing the amount of muscle you have as “toning what you have”.
There are a lot of factors on the exercise side of things that will also determine whether or not you’ll increase the amount of muscle you have. I’ve discussed some basics in “Build Your Own Exercise Program. However, when it comes to protein you need to make sure you’re having enough.
Protein will be used to repair your damaged muscle, and if you’re not getting enough it won’t tone up the way you want it to.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
There are formulas that we can use to estimate these number of protein you’d need in grams, but that’s it… Estimate. There are SO many factors that will influence the amount of protein you’d need including:
- Preferred Type Of Exercise
- Duration (length) And Frequency (days per week) Of Exercise
- Is your program progressive?
- Current body composition
The best way to figure out this number is by tracking your progress month to month. If time is going by and your body composition isn’t changing much, you can narrow down what the cause may be. For many women looking to tone, it’s common they don’t eat enough protein.
So Do I Need Protein Shakes?
Which One Should I Get?
A lot of supplement companies like to brag that their protein powders will get into your blood stream faster and yield faster recovery after a workout. Research has show that this doesn’t matter as much (either way, it still has to pass through the digestive system first). Instead, the focus should be on total grams of protein per day. However, if you find you like having your shake immediately after a workout, go for it. There is no right or wrong time to have a protein shake.
When it comes to picking a protein powder, it’s all “cost vs taste”. How much does the product cost, and do you like how it tastes?
If you look at the nutrition labels, you’ll see minor variances in fat and cholesterol content between the different grades of protein (concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates). Save that stuff for the athletes. If you’re a mom that is more concerned with looking good in a dress than looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, just get something that tastes good. If you have any questions you can contact me for online personal training and I can help you.