The new kid on the block for easy meals seems to be protein shakes. These days, you can just buy them in a bottle, ready made up, so just open them, suck them down and that’s it. No need to even shake them up any more. Just how much of a lard arse do we all want to be?? Here are a few points about protein shakes.
When to eat protein shakes?
After a workout. A tough workout at that. The muscles should have broken down, so need replenishing. A protein shake, because it is liquid and easy on the digestion, raises insulin, the storage hormone, and in this case, the protein gets shoved right into our muscles, helping them recover and grow or get stronger, depending upon the type of workout we did. The best protein shake for this is a whey protein.
A protein shake for breakfast is just about OK for the very slim. But if there is a trace of unwanted lardiness, then stick to the meat and nuts for breakfast. A protein shake is not a meal replacement.
What sort of protein shake is best?
Whey protein. Whey is a by product of cheese making. It is rich in the amino acid, leucine. Leucine stimulates the muscle building pathways – which also blunt hunger and increase satiety, so leaving us feeling fuller for longer. A good whey powder will bolster the immune system because it contains immunoglobulins and lactoferrin. Look for a whey that is cold-processed and un-denatured, since not all wheys are created equal. If the protein shake is good, your mind should feel sharper one hour after taking it.
Caseine based protein shakes are also good, but caseine, being the protein found in cheese, can present digestive problems, is slower to digest, so less effective at getting the protein into the muscles. And it contains less leucine.
Pea protein is the next best if caseine or whey can’t be tolerated.
If pea or caseine based proteins are chosen, then take additional amino acid supplementation as well for best results. Again, it is the leucine that we are after.
Here is a link to Charles Poliquin’s blog: Top Five things you MUST know about post-workout nutrition.
Post 40 years old, apparently the muscle building pathways decline, so taking amino acids additional to the protein shake will help either build the muscles or promote better recovery, depending upon whether the workout was strength or cardio.
So, if serious about improving performance, whether strength, muscle mass or cardio, then taking a protein shake straight after a good workout is an extremely good thing to do. If serious about getting lean, taking a protein shake at any other time is daft. And the best protein shake to take is a cold processed whey.