I thought the whole “XXX for Dummies” has been played out so I decided to use my superior vocabulary skills and come up with something super way awesomer cooler.
Also, before you can read on, you have to watch this (it’s an oldie, but a goody):
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you what I know about protein shakes….
First and foremost, if you have a digestive intolerance to high protein meals, you will, most likely, get “the farts”. If you’re lucky enough and haven’t experienced this before, you may even encounter, “the walking farts”. I’ll leave that to you to look up. So, once you start drinking protein shakes, or if you already are, and you experience the bloating I have mentioned NUMEROUS times here, get yourself some digestive enzymes like Bromelain and/or Betaine HCL. Alright, onto the real info…
Thanks to unlimited marketing campaigns, deregulation of the supplement industry, and even more marketing promising ripped abs and 20 lb. of fat loss in 2 weeks, people seem to be very confused about protein. Other than a multivitamin or other overall health supplement, protein should be at the top of everyone’s list. That is, everyone that is interested in changing their body in some, way shape, or form. For the weightloss crowd, I would look to take in 0.9 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Mass builders, 1.25 to 2.0 will suit you fine. Maintenance peeps, 0.7 to 1.2 for you. Of course, depending on what you choose, you will have to figure out how to adjust your other macro’s (macro nutrients: carbs, protein, fat) accordingly to fit your caloric guidelines based on your goals.
Protein is really very simple actually. It can be broken down into two (2) categories:
- Slow acting
- Fast acting (shocker)
Slow acting proteins come from solid food, soy protein (which is usually extracted from vegetables), and casein protein (extracted from dairy). There are other, more “wild and exotic” choices out there (like rice protein), but for the most part (and the best bang for your buck), we should focus on these three (3).
- Solid food protein should be our primary source of protein, whether it comes from deliciously dead animals or lacklusterly lame plants (can you tell I’m fairly carniverous?). Again, depending on how many grams you chose to eat, a lean protein source should be consumed at every meal.
- Soy protein has been shown to have some healthy heart benefits. Taken in moderation, this is a fairly safe option. The downside, is that there are studies out there that link high soy protein diets to increased levels of estrogen. Last I checked, the testosterone levels in males has been declining so fast that we’re all going to be prancing around like Richard Fucking Simmons pretty soon. The last thing I want to do is have decreased “T” and increased “E”. That’s just ASKING for leaky nipples and mood swings. No Thank You.
- Lastly, there’s casein. Casein, after food, is my choice of slow-acting protein. So far I have not seen any discouraging studies on it (although I’m sure they’re out there). Casein, as I stated before, is found primarily in dairy foods. So, if you run out, don’t have any, or can’t afford any powder, cottage cheese is an excellent source.
So, when should these “slow-acting” protein shakes be consumed? Well, just as they are classified, they should be taken any time your body doesn’t need protein in a hurry. I usually drink a casein shake as part of my mid-morning meal and right before bed. Ideally, you want protein in your body at all times. So, the shake during the morning will release protein until my next solid meal. The shake right before bed will stave off a metabolism shutdown and catabolic state during your 8-hour fast every night (or 4 hours in my case, fml). What happens if you’ve only got a giant tub of whey protein (cuz you’re not dedicated enough to buy two different kinds of protein) and no cottage cheese anywhere in your house (except for maybe on your thighs, but that’s pretty hard to harvest for a shake)? You can “transform” your whey into a slow acting protein by adding other things to it, but it’s still not ideal. To do this, add 1-2 Tblsp. of 100% all-natural peanut butter and milk. The fat in the peanut butter and casein protein in the milk will help slow the absorption of the whey protein. If your overall diet will allow this, you can also add some oatmeal to your shake. I strongly advise against that right before bed if your goal is fat loss or maintenance though.
As I hinted at before, these options are NOT good choices for when your needs protein. The times your body needs protein the most is in the morning when you’re done fasting and for your peri-workout nutrition (peri means before, during, and after). Why in the morning? You just got done fasting for 8 hours. All of your nutrient stores are gone. Your body wants “stuff” and it wants it now! Half of your protein allotment for breakfast should come from solid foods and the other half should come from whey. The fast absorbing whey will get to the bloodstream and jumpstart your metabolism for the rest of the day.
As I’ve said in other posts, your body really wants protein after you’re done working out to create bigger and more efficient muscles. For these two (2) times of the day, you want the almighty, hands down, no questions asked, whey protein. What’s so confusing about that? Well, there’s a ton of different variants that get marketed within whey (damnit! I keep typing “why”). There’s 100% whey, whey isolates, whey peptides, whey concentrate, whey oh whey do I keep fucking typing why….etc. etc. On top of that, everyone has their own “special blends”. Some have a combination of any or all of the fast acting proteins I just mentioned. Some companies actually believe you can have the best of both worlds by combining slow-absorbing proteins with fast-absorbing proteins. Sorry, but it doesn’t really work that whey. Whatever fast-acting protein you choose, make sure you look at the ingredients listed on the back. The only ones listed should the one’s I listed. If they’ve got slow and fast mixed together, it’s no good. If they have a “special blend” and don’t list all the ingredients (because they don’t have to), it’s probably no good. As with the entire supplement industry, buyer beware!
Alright, as I said in the last paragraph, whey should be a staple of everyone’s post workout shake. But what else should you have post workout? In my post-workout shake, I have 5g of BCAA’s, 5g of creatine, 40g of whey, and 80g of carbohydrates. I won’t go into detail about the BCAA’s or creatine, but the carbs and whey should be explained.
I won’t lie, I don’t know the exact science behind this, but I’ve read enough studies and other articles that I feel comfortable passing this info on to you. During your workout, a lot of your glycogen stores and excess protein should have been burnt up. That is, if you’re training like you should be. Depending on your training goals, it has been shown that ratios of carbs to protein can range from 2:1 to 4:1. Reason being, is that if your body doesn’t get enough carbs right away after working out to refill its glycogen stores, it’ll start using that excess protein. Then that excess protein is no longer available to build muscle. The carbs I reccomend are sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or a waxy maize carb supplement.
Tip: If you use oatmeal in your shakes, buy the all natural quick oats, measure out how much you need, and then put it in a food processor to be chopped into a powder. Then there’s no big clumps to get stuck in your shaker bottle or settle to the bottom. You have one nice, big homogenous mixture!
So there you have it. Everything I know about protein and protein shakes. If I’ve managed to leave anything out, just leave me a comment and I’ll update the post. I realize I didn’t get into protein shake recipes, but c’mon, this fuggin thing is already 1,500 words and there’s a-bajillion (new fav word btw) recipe’s out on the web.
I also want to apologize for the lack of hilarity in this post. I’m quite ex-Hausted and do not feel very funny right now. I feel like lying my head down on this copper desk, unplugging one of the high voltage power supply leads, and knocking myself out with electricity for many many hours. Who know’s, maybe I’ll wake up with some kind of really kick ass super power like in the movies. *shrug*
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.