T Nation

Why Are Protein Supplements Useful?


Hey guys. I'm a skinny dude that's been training for about 5 months. In that time I've gained about 10-12 lbs. or so. I attribute these gains to hard work in the gym (3-4 days a week) and an increased diet (primarily due to supplements like weight gainer shakes). I recently ran into a friend who critisized me and called me naive for drinking protein/weight gainer shakes.

He said "they don't work" and just "pass through your system". He basically told me I was just wasting my money. I personally think they've been the main reason that I've gained weight, but since I don't properly understand the science behind the nutrition, I couldn't defend myself.

Can someone explain to me the science behind whey protein shakes, and if they have an advantage over eating a regular meal after a workout?


Well your friend is a fucking idiot for one. Increasing your protein gives your body extra aminos to rebuild muscle tissue that is broken down during a workout. Powder protein is good because it is easy to take and is absorbed by your system better than having to break it down from meat. That means less work for your body to use it, more of it being used to rebuild than fuel for digestion. Keep your shakes and tell your friend to get an education.


The reason they have an advantage is because they are liquid... Meaning they leave the stomach(no "break down time") quicker and start getting the job done. After a workout you typically want a shake with Carbs and protein, not just protein.

The reason are you gaining weight is becase of your diet, not the hard work in the gym. The hard work makes that weight muscle, not fat.

Keep drinking your shakes and keeping your calories high and you will like what you see.


Ultimately you are doing what you are doing and seeing results.

So who gives a shit what your friend says at all?

Results are the best reason i can think of to do anything.

And Lonnie is right.
How frequently do you work out?
Now how frequently do you eat, sleep and drink water?
Which do you think is going to affect your body the most?


Protein supplements are useful because some of us lead busy lives.When we're bulking some days it's hard to get in all those calories.Thats when supplements come in handy.


I'd be leery of the "weight-gainers". Most of these are almost pure sugar.

Here's Chef Boy-R-T's recipe:

(Get it? Instead of Boy-R-Dee, I used 'T', because it's T-Nation, and...ah, fuck it.)

Fill your blender cup halfway with milk. I like 2%, but if you're really trying to gain, go with whole.

2 packets instant oatmeal

2 or 3 tbsps of NATURAL peanut butter (None of that Skippy shit)

2 scoops whey protein

1 tbsp flax/fish oil

Blend well (Reeeeeeeally well.) Drink it before it hardens.

That's 900 calories. Do that 3 times a day, in addition to eating your regular food and watch the scale hate you.

Bon Appetit!


Gotta love any recipe that ends with "drink it quick before it hardens".



I do almost the exact same thing atleast once a day on training days. It too is 8-900 calories. I am in college so this is incredibly useful. I merely leave class with my blender container and slam 900 cals in the bathroom in about 3 minutes.

Can't beat it.



Eating/Drinking in the bathroom is disgusting! I can think of a lot of things that would beat that.


I love 'em. (Not the taste, though you do get used to it.)

But, even as I get bigger (217 two days ago), I still have the appetite of a small, flu-ridden girl.

But, with these calorie-bombs, I can get almost 3,000 kcal a day without even thinking about it. Then, all I have to do is eat normally and I'm at 4,500-5,000 witout even trying.


Another useful one from the early days of T-Nation:

2 scoops of Grow!/Metabolic Drive
about an equal amount of natural peanut butter, and little bit of milk. Add peanut butter to powder in a bowl. Stir and mix until most of the powder is mixed into the peanut butter. Add just enough milk to keep the mixture moist. When finished mixing, put in freezer for about 5 minutes to cool. Voila! A tasty pudding/paste mixture that is packed with protein and helps out with that sweet tooth. I love doing this.


I like those too. Tastes good and good for you.