I gain inspiration for our blogs from frequently asked questions from the battlefield! I have teamed up with Chris, founder of Shaping Change, www.shapingchange.co.uk on this one.
We both seem to get THIS question a lot.
A question that we are often asked by women is if they need to drink protein shakes after a workout. The general consensus is that protein shakes will make you bulky, which the vast majority of women don’t want. This blog addresses that misconception and explains why taking a liquid protein shake after a workout will only benefit you.
We’ll also give you a basic guide of what to look for and what to avoid when looking for a powder protein supplement.
We understand the supplement industry is one of a plethora of confusion and our goal is to simplify things for you.
Firstly lets bust the myth that protein shakes ‘bulk you up’… No. Cupcakes bulk you up.
On the contrary, protein shakes can help create transformations like this….
This lady has evidently been training hard, but has also complimented her training with a proper nutritional plan (which includes post-workout protein shakes).
We understand that, for women, the idea of drinking protein shakes can be off-putting – as in years gone by the branding has been exclusively targeted towards men: with bold and bright coloured packaging; and male dominated wording such as “MASS,” “ANABOLIC,” “SUPER,” “MEGA,” “HUGE.”
I’m sure we’re right in thinking that none of this appeals to women most women!
Nowadays the benefits of protein shakes for women are becoming more widely understood.
Products, and their branding, are changing – making the shakes more appealing. It’s actually these newer, friendlier looking protein brands that tend to be of higher quality and yield the best results as far as fat loss and body composition go.
A pretty picture of a tub of protein is unlikely to have convinced you that protein shakes are beneficial for the average person, or indeed the average woman, so let’s put this into a little perspective…
What is happening whilst you exercise / train?
You are breaking down muscle fibers to induce adaptations to your body and create a metabolic response – this is a good thing!
What do protein shakes do for women when taken after training?
Dietary protein = the building blocks that your body needs to survive and thrive.
It builds tissue, so not only is it important for repairing muscle, it is essential for hair, skin, nails & eyes healthy too… all that girly stuff!
Added to that, if you ensure you hold on to your muscle mass (or even put on a pound or two) this will make fat loss a lot easier. Imagine how much better you’d feel, and hotter you’d look, if you not only lost 10 lbs of fat, but put on 2 lbs of lean muscle too.
You wouldn’t look ‘bulky’!
You would just look leaner, slimmer, and firmer. In the end, isn’t that what we all want?
Why do I need a protein shake after my workout? Can’t I just eat some chicken, fish or beef?
When you drink a protein shake, the liquid meal begins to break down in your system immediately, and gets absorbed rapidly. This makes it strategic to drink after a workout, as you are able to kick-start the reparation process.
A solid source of protein (like chicken, fish or beef) takes a long time to be digested and assimilated. In any normal circumstance that’s absolutely fine. We’re not here to say that protein shakes are better than real food. Real food always wins, in other circumstances though.
After a workout, the last thing you want to do is remain in a catabolic (physical breakdown) state whilst you are waiting for food to digest. Doing this will completely negate the hard work you just put in during the last 45-60 minutes, and you may even end up in a worse physical condition than you were in before you trained!
So, using a protein shake will have your body repairing itself at the earliest possible stage and reduce muscle soreness. Long-term it will also enable you to reduce body fat, another bonus!
What type of protein shake should I choose? There seem to be so many…
We’ve put together a table for you to use as a guide when choosing a protein shake.
This way you’ll know what to look for when reading the label to assess whether it’s actually a good product which will help you improve your body, or if it’s just bogus marketing.
|Grass Fed / Organic||Non-Organic, GMO|
|Sweetened with Stevia or unsweetened.||Sweetened with Aspartame, Sucralose and other chemical sweeteners.|
|No excess sugars||Sugar!!|
|Whey protein isolate / concentrate||Soy protein supplements / Mass gainers|
|Gluten / Lactose Free||Allergen potential|
Final words from Chris Heron, founder of Shaping Change, about post-workout protein shakes
At Shaping Change and Jack Galloway Fitness, we offer our clients protein shakes after their workouts … and they certainly earn it! Adding some ice and blending it up makes it taste great! In addition to protein, you also need healthy fats and carbs for good body composition, but we’ll cover that in another blog.
The other bonus to using Whey is its ‘biological value’. This is, in simple terms, how well a protein is absorbed and actually used by your body. Whey protein has been shown to be even better that eggs, which hold the highest biological value of any animal based protein (a BV of 100).
A little tip I picked up is to check the potassium to sodium ratio on your protein supplement to see if it has been through Ionic Exchange. If that is the case there is a good chance there will be higher sodium levels, which can damage certain fragile protein components. If there is more potassium than sodium, it’s probably filtered a different way, which will almost certainly be better.
Final words from Jack about post-workout protein shakes
If all the helpful effects of whey protein shakes (with regard to improving body composition and reducing muscle soreness) weren’t enough, it also improves your immune system drastically.
Contrary to what most people think, it’s not just vitamin C which prevents us from getting sick.
Whey protein contains high amounts of two amino acids called cysteine and glutamine which are essential to the synthesis of our body’s most important antioxidant: Glutathione! Therefore, including protein shakes in your diet can be a great way to improve glutathione status – and consequently your immune status.
Whey protein further boosts the immune system because of its high levels of protein fractions called immunoglobulins, with act as antibodies against dangerous viruses and bacteria.
Protein shakes = hotter body.
Protein shakes = better immune system = getting sick less = less breaks from training = hotter body
What’s more, if you can find a quality brand, protein shakes DO taste amazing.