Protein shakers have become a staple of gyms, but what’s actually in there?
The first time I saw a protein shaker, I thought it was some kind of wacky futuristic water bottle. Don’t ask me what the metal ball thing in the middle was supposed to be for. These days, I understand much better, at least as far as the bottles themselves go, but as far as what’s actually in the bottle, that takes a spot of research. Protein powder-based shakes have become a common sight in public and private gyms, with bodybuilders quickly pounding the stuff after a lengthy workout. But do you need to run out and buy a palette of powder before you can get into exercising? Probably not.
Protein powder, as the name likely tips you off, is a powdered supplement made of some kind of protein-rich substance like whey or soy. Mixed into a shake with liquids like water or milk creates an easily-digestible source of protein for your body to draw from. There’s an old rumor of a thirty minute or so period right after a workout known as the “golden time,” and if you consume a protein shake in this period, your muscle gains will be even greater. This, unfortunately, isn’t quite true. While consuming protein right after a workout is definitely good for your body, giving it some building blocks to construct your muscles with, you likely won’t see any significant changes whether you drink it or not.
Protein powder serves a better purpose as a part of a meal replacement. If you combine some protein powder with some milk (or non-dairy substitute), fruit, and maybe some vegetables, you can get a fantastic, nutritionally balanced shake for breakfast. Bear in mind, though, protein powder shakes are more readily recommended for those with busy schedules or lack of access to fresh, protein-rich foods. If you’re already getting your daily allotment of protein throughout the day from regular food, a breakfast shake won’t do much for you.
Protein powder isn’t some kind of nectar of the gods, but it is a handy tool for ensuring your body gets the protein it needs when it needs it.