Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Do you need protein shakes?

Tuesday Tip: Do you need protein shakes? 🥤

Protein shakes – all the rage, essential gym kit eh? But are they really necessary?

Protein itself is essential, especially for maintaining and building muscle, so it helps with recovery and is also great at keeping you feeling full. But the reality is most people’s diet includes more than enough protein as it is. Average daily recommended intake is 55g for men and 45g for women’s (with heavy exercisers needing a bit more: 1.2 – 1.7g per kg body weight). It’s not hard to get that in your meals e.g. 1 egg: 6g, 1 chicken breast: 20g, 30g cheddar cheese: 7.5g, 1 serving cooked beef mince: 18g, 1/2 pot cottage cheese: 18g, 1 tin of tuna: 25g, 1 serving Greek yogurt: 18g etc. So it’s pretty easy for most people to eat the required amount, with no shakes or powders required.

In an ideal world, if trying to build muscle then you do want to get some protein in within 30 mins of a strenuous workout. So that could be a reason to grab a shake. But you could save some pennies and instead go for something simple like a glass of milk (dairy milk contains 8g protein, soya milk contains 7g), or one of the best post-workout recovery drinks – chocolate milk (perfect carbs: protein ratio).

Aside from saving money you will also be protecting your health. Recent research shows that too much protein in the diet can increase your risk of osteoporosis amongst other health issues. Plus if you’re already eating a good diet then all you’re doing is taking on extra calories you don’t need, which could stall your weight loss attempts. They’re also not ideal as a meal replacement unless you combine them with other ingredients. For example as an grab and go brekkie option they’re great when combined in a smoothie with banana, milk, etc to give you a range of nutrients and a good balance of carbs too (but Greek yoghurt also does the same!).

So if you’re eating a balanced diet, and working out at a normal level (i.e. not an Olympic athlete!), then don’t stress about protein shakes as they’re really not necessary at all! Save your pennies!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Protein

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Protein 🥤

The post-workout protein shake is a common sight at gyms, but do you really need protein immediately after your workout? Well yes and no, and here’s why.

# 1 What was the workout?

If it was a short, low intensity session then no. If it was a long (90 min), weights based session then possibly yes. Protein is needed for muscle repair and building so you may need protein after a long, tough weights based workout. BUT even if your goal is to add muscle you only need a little protein post-workout to kick start recovery. If you take too much your body can’t metabolise it and stores it as fat. Short, low-intensity sessions don’t require you to rush to refuel unless you’re already hungry.

#2 Carb to protein

It’s more important to refuel with a combo of carbs and protein. A ratio of 4:1 or 3:1 of carbs to protein is ideal. The protein kick starts recovery and the carbs replenish energy stores in muscles. For 15-30 mins after a long workout the enzymes which pull carbs in to muscles peak. If you miss that opportunity the enzymes are no longer able to pull carbs in to your muscles which starving them and inhibiting repair.

#3 But what about after I’ve done weights?

You’re unlikely to deplete your muscle’s carb stores during a weights session anyway so you don’t need to rush to get a protein shake in. Instead just make sure you get protein via a balanced meal within 2 hours of your workout.

So you really don’t need to bother unless you’re training for long periods (90 mins), at high intensity (or you’re a body builder). At best you’ll be wasting money on shakes you don’t need, at worst you’re adding a load of extra calories which are just going to be stored as fat. You need to eat protein throughout the day so aim for around 1.2 – 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. For most people, eating a balanced diet, you’ll get this from your meals so there’s no need to boost the protein further. If you do longer training sessions, or are very hungry after a workout, then the perfect post-workout snack is actually chocolate milk – a perfect ratio of carbs and protein (dairy or soya milk), or some greek yoghurt and fruit.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx