“What kind of protein shake should I drink after my workout? What should I look for in a shake? How many grams of protein do I need after I workout?”- Jake M., San Diego, CA
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to use a post-workout protein shake at all.
If you can eat real food as opposed to a shake or a bar after killing it in the gym, that’s your best option. In an ideal world real food trumps a shake.
However, I know all too well how hard it is to squeeze in a workout and then move on with your busy day and you might have to use a protein shake to make sure you get some amino acids into your body right after a serious session.
Here’s what to look for in a protein shake:
WHEY IS THE WAY TO GO
I recommend a whey protein shake. Your body absorbs whey quickly so it’s your best option.
HOW MANY GRAMS OF PROTEIN DO I NEED IN MY SHAKE?
There are shakes on the market with 50 grams of protein. Most of the protein shakes marketed toward men (with words like “Muscle” or “Monster” or “Beast” in their names) tend to sit in the 30-40-gram range. Protein shakes marketed toward women tend (with words like “Lean” or “Slim” in their name) to be in the 12-20-gram range. So how do you decide how many grams are right for your body, gender and fitness level?
No matter who you are, you will get what you need with something in the 15-20-gram range. If you have a particularly fast metabolism, you can go up to 25 grams.
But, I hear you protesting, “Protein is the building block of muscle. I don’t want to short change your body of the protein it needs to build muscle.”
Remember, you are ingesting a liquid, so your body can only absorb so much of what you are taking in at a time. You could buy a protein shake loaded with 50 grams of protein, but you will literally be pissing your money away.
WHAT TO AVOID
A protein shake is a supplement. A supplement is not a meal, so unless, you are a hard gainer and you are intentionally trying to consume as many calories as possible, you want to find a shake with no more than 100 calories.
You also want to find a shake low in sugar (5 grams or less).
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