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Are Protein Shakes a Good Idea?

I have never taken a protein shake before in my life, so I know pretty much nothing on this topic. I lift 4 times a week (2 legs, 2 arm days) and have heard protein shakes are very good for you after a workout. So I have a few questions that I would really appreciate any answers for.

  1. Is a protein shake something I should look into?
  2. If so, what would be a good shake. (lower cost is preferred)
  3. Should I take the shake only on lifting days, and on those days, only after I workout?

I have to take a little bit of time off from lifting now though, because I just got some lower back pain that I am hoping will go away after a week or 2 of rest. But after I come back, I was hoping to have more insight on this topic.

Most people use protein shakes because they are convienent, especially after a workout.

Post-workout nutrition is very important. You should consume a mixture of simple carbs and protein immediately after your workout. Surge is what many use here. I have used it with great results. However, the expense of Surge is too much for me and I just use a similar mixture of macronutrients.

That being said. I would recommend a protein shake for 2 reasons. First, conveinence for post-workout nutrition. Second, determine how much protein you need each day and if you are having trouble getting that amount through whole foods then add a few protein shakes to help you reach your required amount (another conveinence factor).

Agreed, protein shakes after workout are pretty convenient. Also I like them before bed, to get a lot of protein with minimum calories. PS I hope by arm days you mean upper body, not just arms

Protein shakes arent steroid buddy. Its a substitute for food. You drink them because mixing powder and water after a workout is a lot faster and easier than cooking a bunch of chicken breast once you get home. No offense but you sound like someone fresh in the iron game. So let me give you some words to live by.As far as muscle building goes; The workout is the stimulus, What you do afterwards in recovery(eat, sleep, etc.) is where you re build muscle.

They can be very useful, especially post-workout when nutrition should be liquid.

However, they are no substitute for real food. They tend to be:

(a) fairly insulinongenic (i.e. spike insulin levels); and

(b) non-thermogenic (i.e. little/no metabolic stimulation).

Therefore, they are not great if you want low bodyfat and optimal health.

[quote]will-of-iron wrote:
They can be very useful, especially post-workout when nutrition should be liquid.

However, they are no substitute for real food. They tend to be:

(a) fairly insulinongenic (i.e. spike insulin levels); and

(b) non-thermogenic (i.e. little/no metabolic stimulation).

Therefore, they are not great if you want low bodyfat and optimal health.[/quote]

Best response.

[quote]will-of-iron wrote:
They can be very useful, especially post-workout when nutrition should be liquid.

However, they are no substitute for real food. They tend to be:

(a) fairly insulinongenic (i.e. spike insulin levels); and

(b) non-thermogenic (i.e. little/no metabolic stimulation).

Therefore, they are not great if you want low bodyfat and optimal health.[/quote]

Source?

I’ve never heard of either of these effects.

to the OP: Read the Beginner forum stickies, especially vroom’s thread. The stickies are the top four threads in the beginner forum.

How can what will of iron just said be true, if people on the V-Diet lose tons of fat while consuming nothing but protein shakes.

[quote]will-of-iron wrote:
They can be very useful, especially post-workout when nutrition should be liquid.

However, they are no substitute for real food. They tend to be:

(a) fairly insulinongenic (i.e. spike insulin levels); and

(b) non-thermogenic (i.e. little/no metabolic stimulation).

Therefore, they are not great if you want low bodyfat and optimal health.[/quote]

WTF?

(a) I’m diabetic and have to test my BG very regularly. I test straight after my workout, Then drink my shake (OP - convenience is the thing here really) then 1 and 2 hours pp to make sure I’m not going too high or low on my blood glucose. Never noticed ANY protein shake I’ve had spike me unless it’s blatently carb loaded too.

(b) Reference your post - I’d be interested to read who thinks this and why.

As far as support for the majority here, see Berardi’s articles:

#1 - http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle
.do?article=body_141post

#2 - http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle
.do?article=body_142post

Hope these help. There is a lot science there but it is all in support for at least having a post workout shake. I would say definitely a shake after you workout, but during really depends on you.

Many T-Nation authors believe it�??s better, but in my opinion it depends on when you last ate prior to your workout and the intensity of your workout. As far as which brand to go with, Biotest makes same great ones at a good comparative price. Good luck

As far as support for the majority here, see Berardi’s articles:

#1 - http://www.T-Nation.com/
findArticle.do?article=body_141post

#2 - http://www.T-Nation.com/
findArticle.do?article=body_142post

Hope these help. There is a lot science there but it is all in support for at least having a post workout shake. I would say definitely a shake after you workout, but during really depends on you.

Many T-Nation authors believe it�??s better, but in my opinion it depends on when you last ate prior to your workout and the intensity of your workout. As far as which brand to go with, Biotest makes same great ones at a good comparative price. Good luck

Shakes are a good idea. eating food is an AWESOME idea.

Yeah eating right should be your #1 priority - like everyone else said the shakes are about the convenience factor. Most people recommend at least 1 g of protein a day per pound of bodyweight, or even 1.5 g of protein per pound. That can be lot of lean meat to prepare, not to mention eat.

If your serious maximum muscle building and performance, a protein shake is the minimum. You will be crying everyone else is a genetic freak as long as you refuse to take it.

You can be very successful without it, but not nearly as successful as you could with it. Everybody’s response should’ve been protein shakes are great for bulding muscle. Unfortunately thats not the case, you have two guys who just gave you a pretty bad peice of information, so rather then get caught up in what might be an internet war, look at the results.

It’s not even a question for pro-bodybuilders they all use it. Their profession is to build the most muscle, if you want to build muscle you should too.

My reference is Poliquin. He advised me to eliminate them. I did and bodyfat fell dramatically.

(Bear in mind that this has to be read in context. Protein shakes are insulinogenic compared to meat, poultry etc, NOT compared to bread, rice. The drop in bodyfat was amazing because my diet was literally 100% PERFECT apart from the shakes. Once I eliminated them the difference was very noticeable very quickly.)

[quote]Gene_lasker wrote:
How can what will of iron just said be true, if people on the V-Diet lose tons of fat while consuming nothing but protein shakes.[/quote]

Because everything has to be read in context. I didn’t say that you can’t lose fat drinking shakes. The V-Diet works because it provides a lot of protein, low calories and (most importantly) no way to screw up.

Does it work? Yes. Is it the ultimate fat loss diet if you know what you’re doing? No. Chris Shugart has pointed this out on many occasions.

My belief is that getting ULTRA-LEAN (4%-8% bodyfat) will require wholefood for 90% of the population. For me at least, getting very lean had not been possible until I cut out the shakes (except a whey shake post workout).

To OP, what to take away from this thread:

Shake after workout = Great

Shake at other times of the day = Convenient way to get protein but not as good as eating real food(obviously).

The same could be said about simple carbs but they’re even more punishing to bodyfat when taken outside of the post workout window.

I’m not sure at what point a protein shake taken at the wrong time could actually promote fat gain, but I’m sure you will no longer be a beginner when you need to worry about it.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2250071

Without protein, your body will not be able to build new muscle. Years ago, a higher carbohydrate and lower fat diet was the rage, recommended by professional bodybuilders and trainers.

They claimed that this was the only way to eat for muscle gain. Unfortunately, the only people gaining muscle on that type of diet were a genetically gifted few. The rest just got fat.

Carbs serve mainly as energy for the body, while protein provides the necessary amino acids to build and repair muscle. For muscle growth, carbohydrates are not as essential as protein and fats.

High quality protein, which the body breaks down into amino acids, should be the center point of all your meals. There are many studies that show intense exercise increases demand for amino acids, which support muscle repair and growth.

Actually to maintain your muscle mass you need protein/per Kg of bodyweight. Everyone has different body’s and needs, but you do not need a gram of protein per pound, as many people say. To maintain a normal bodyweight ‘your own bodyweight’ doctors preach 1gram of protein per KG. Bodybuilders do need more protein due to the rebuilding process of working out. But, and there is a but! 1g of Protein per pound is ridiculous.

Whether you believe it or not, the fact is: High protein diets build more muscle when incorporated with intense training. Low protein diets do not. Period. Only protein can build muscle. Carbohydrates and fat cannot.

If you eat an obstantial amount of protein and it is not used but stored it will infact be stored as fat or be pissed out. This will give your pee a higher concentrate of protein and give your pee a darker yellow colouring.

Protein powders is great for post workout meals, It is easily digested and a quick fix bassicly. GET THE MAJORITY OF IT FROM SOLID FOOD.

Basically you need to take in a gram of protein for every pound you weigh simple as