For most people that are into fitness or have tried some form of physical activity protein shakes are part of their workout regime, religiously having one before and/or after a workout.
But why do we have protein shakes? Protein makes up around 40% of the human body and forms the building blocks of hair, nails, skin and is vitally important for muscle development.
Combined with resistance training, protein helps to stimulate muscle growth and helps to support the maintenance of muscle mass when training hard, which will then help towards achieving a defined and toned physique.
For active people, protein is essential and your intake should increase from 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight to between 1-2/kg BM depending on tour goal.
There are different times of day when you should look at consuming protein. Breakfast is the most important time in my opinion. During sleep your body uses the protein from the previous day to maintain muscle development and by the time you wake up your body is needing more protein.
The next two most important times are before and after a workout. During training you make small tears in your muscles and the protein is the building blocks that fixes these tears and helps with muscle growth and development. The amount should be around 20-40g depending on your goals, and this should be 30 minutes before your workout and within 30 minutes after your workout.
There are hundreds of different brands of protein shakes out there but there are a few types that you should be aware of.
Whey concentrate is one of the most basic forms of protein that is found in many protein tubs on the shelves of supplement stores. This is a great starting point for beginners and those looking to add protein to their diet without spending too much money.
Casein is normally consumed before bed and takes anywhere from 5-7 hours to fully breakdown which keeps your body absorbing the nutrients even while you sleep.
Soy protein is a good source of protein for those looking for a vegetarian source of protein. This type of protein can be used both pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day if needed to get in a meal/snack containing protein.
Unlike popular whey protein powders, pea protein digests easily since it contains absolutely no lactose or glutens. That means no bloating! Pea protein is generally more concentrated than whey too. It contains 25 grams of protein per 30 gram scoop, while many whey proteins contain 23 or so grams of protein. My advice with any protein shake is to try each type and see which one works best for you.