T Nation

Solid Meals vs. Protein Shakes


Has anyone else noticed a huge difference in muscle gain when eating only solid meals and leaving the protein shake to only PWO, as compared to when having a few of the meals replaced with shakes.

I've been really busy at work for the past few months and noticed that I'm replacing about 2 meals a day with protein shakes eaten with a piece of fruit for the carbs and the gains are just a world of a difference.

I just wanted to hear from others on this. I almost feel as if the shakes are worthless outside of the post workout window.


And before someone asks, calories are the same more or less.


I like whole food over shakes. I feel fuller, get more nutrients in general and no doubt tap in to food synergies (either discovered already or not) as opposed to only protein provided by shakes.


Personally I like Casein shakes, I'll usually add some greek yogurt to them to help with digestibility as well as some cod liver oil so help with calcium absorption. I do this really to supplement calcium and as a sort of meal replacement for satiety. I'll usually have a piece of fruit with this as well. I notice a lot of people don't pay much attention to their calcium intake.

During heavy lifting, squats, deads especially part of the process of getting stronger is the whole osteoclasts vs. osteoblast functions. Your body breaks things down to build them up stronger. If you don't supply your body with the proper nutrients, in the long run you are boned (deboned) pun intended.

It depends on your nutrition philosophy. If your protein shake is only giving you protein and you are falling short in your general nutrition, that might explain why you are seeing fewer gains. It also might be the digestibility/absorbability of the protein you are consuming. If it's plant based, it might be going right through you and not absorbed at all.


IMO....all else being equal; sold food will always 'trump' liquid calories where gains are concerned.


Actually yeah, ran out of whey not long ago and never got round to ordering any more for a couple of weeks (my food money and supp money are on dif cards it's a right faff to switch about) ended up waiting 3 months before ordering more as I was making so ,uch progress. I think if I haven't got whey I've no excuse not to put a decent meal down, rather than just slam oats and whey on the go.


I usually just keep my shakes only PWO, but if i feel like adding in more protein in my diet, i will add a small shake after a meal or snack, i feel like having other macros and nutrients from the solid food helps the shake to be used better and the food with fiber, fats, other proteins will prevent the whey (or what ever powder im using (hemp, egg etc...) from spiking insulin so i can save the spike for PWO.


I notice no difference at all if using a quality source of powder protein.

I wouldnt use a whey only product though. I use a blend 34%whey iso 33%casein 33%egg whites




Apex predator diet. Chaos and pain.


I take maybe 6 shakes a year. I find as long as I hit the calorie/protein goals of the day with solid food, I get gains. Timing is largely irrelevant. I tend to prefer solid food because it keeps me full longer. A shake fills me up for an hour and then I'm hungry again...


What about with fat loss? Why do solids trump liquids?


Solid meals vs. Liquid meals?
I use both, daily.


Especially with fat loss. When is improved satiety, extra nutrients ever a bad thing?


I think it would be very difficult to ascertain how much you did or did not gain muscle and/or lose fat with liquid versus solid food.

Maybe solid would beat liquid if you're having only a scoop of whey in water.


I dont think its hard at all. When replacing protein shakes with real food even with less total protein overall I found it easier to maintain and gain muscle and easier to lose fat.


I use both, but I always prefer a solid meal. I usually just use shakes as a way to meet protein requirements when I'm out and can't eat a decent meal, or don't have time to sit down and eat and need something for the road. Basically, whey is great for filling in the gaps, but if you have the time sit down and eat.


Dude, you may not want to hear, calories are calories, but that is simply the case here. As long as you are getting the same amount of carbs and protein, there will be no difference in gains. Shakes are much easier to make. Thats why I personally use them. But protein shakes should be more effective, cause the protein gets in your system alot faster than food.


They are more effective post workout (obviously), but why would you care if you get the protein into your system quicker at any other time. It's kind of a moot point, as long as you get your daily total. I don't know if it's only in my mind but when I don't take any shakes for months at a time and only get in real food other than PWO, I grow more. Maybe it's just my own body I guess.


In terms of solid meals (no supps), what do you guys recommend post wo?