Your Complete Guide To Protein Shakes For Gains

protein shakes

A protein shake is all you need to keep maximizing your gains.

Arguably, one of the best parts of the day is finishing that grueling workout or heavy lift and enjoying our protein shake. We’ve finally found the right protein powder, nailed down the flavor of choice, and maybe even have perfected a smoothie recipe with those added ingredients. And while we may know what a protein shake does for us, the complete picture of just how beneficial one of these shakes can be should not, and absolutely will not, be understated. Protein builds muscle. Muscle builds gains. So, in effect, protein is gains.

A quality protein powder will work to maximize muscle growth by pumping you with vital protein to ensure your muscles can grow and repair. Along with this, protein works to enhance recovery by allowing your muscles to grow stronger and to heal faster for less muscle soreness and faster bounce back. For those looking to lose weight, maintain weight, and even gain weight (in the healthiest of ways), depending on the protein powder, this is absolutely possible. When put into our protein shakes, whatever form of protein you choose can work wonders.

Let’s take a look at this complete guide for protein shakes and see just what makes these so great. From the benefits of them, to the right timing and what each does respectively, to even a top option for protein powder, this guide will be your one stop shop for all things protein and shakes.

protein shakes

Benefits Of Protein Shakes

The benefits of protein shakes should not be ignored, for they can greatly add to all of our gains. While they are similar to protein in general, a protein shake is just a loaded protein beverage, right?

Benefits include:

  • Convenience: Putting protein into a shaker bottle and having it ready to go is an easy way to load up on protein.
  • Increased growth: Protein is the building block of muscle and a protein shake is an easy way to deliver that into your body (1).
  • Enhanced recovery: Easily tackle muscle soreness and faster recovery by drinking a convenient protein shake (2).
  • Versatile option: Use for post-workout gains, meal replacing, or an added ingredient in a smoothie.

 

Protein Shake Timing

While many of us have a protein shake immediately after our workout, knowing all the options at your disposal can help you greatly.

For Post-Workout Gains

Right after our workouts, this is a great time to get that vital protein into our bodies. Our bodies are depleted and in need of protein to help grow and repair those muscles, so having a shake immediately post-workout, or within the protein timing window, can be of huge benefit to our overall gains.

For Replacing A Meal

Since protein does have the ability to provide for fullness and satiety, a protein shake can be used as a meal replacement, similar to traditional meal replacement supplements (3). If you are replacing a meal with a protein shake, that is absolutely fine, but know that whole foods should always be your number one choice. Of course, our busy schedules just don’t always allow for it.

For An Added Ingredient

While a simple protein shake works just fine, adding protein powder into a smoothie as an added ingredient can be even better. Not only do you get the taste and benefits of protein added to the many ingredients in your smoothie, but you get the thicker texture to really provide for a sweet treat.

protein shakes

Potential Sources Of Protein To Use

With so many different forms of protein to use, including whey and non-dairy or plant-based sources, it’s important you know your options moving forward. Your supplements should reflect your lifestyle and depending on said lifestyle, you can make a great protein shake to go along with it.

 

Some potential sources include:

  • Whey Isolate: A filtered form of whey, this is majority protein with minimal carbs and fats perfect for growth, recovery, and weight loss (4).
  • Whey Concentrate: A reasonable balance of macros, this is great for growth and recovery, but is perfect for those looking to bulk up.
  • Brown Rice Protein: A high amount of BCAAs are present and you get very similar benefits to whey minus the dairy (5).
  • Pea Protein: A great alternative, this contains all nine EAAs that are needed for your body to function (6).
  • Hemp Protein: Protein levels are okay, but the amount of fiber is great for digestion.
  • Soy Protein: Contains all nine essential amino acids making this is a complete protein source.

Best Protein Powder To Use In Shakes

With so many protein powders on the market, we felt it appropriate to share with you our top choice for protein. This whey protein powder is a great option for it tastes great, blends well, and is loaded with benefits. For those sensitive to whey, Enhanced Labs also has a great non-dairy protein powder, Protein-Tech, also great in a tasty shake.

Enhanced Whey Protein Isolate

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Enhanced Whey Protein Isolate is a high quality whey protein with just 110 calories and 25g protein. Fortified with DigeSEB digestive enzyme blend, this allows for better protein utilization in your body.

Enhanced Labs starts by selecting the highest quality whey proteins which undergo a series of sophisticated filtration processes to ‘isolate’ out excess fat and sugar. The final product is a complete protein containing no lactose and over 90% of pure protein per serving. Enhanced Whey is then fortified with the trademarked DigeSEB digestive enzyme blend for better protein utilization within the body. With 25g of protein at just 110 calories, this high quality whey is perfect for your muscle building and recovery goals.


Check out our list of the Best Protein Powders for more great protein supplements!


Wrap Up

We’ve all heard of protein shakes, but sometimes we just do what we’re told. Everybody always says to drink a protein shake but we may never have asked why. Protein is the building block of all muscle. A protein shake is a convenient way to get adequate amounts of protein into our bodies for real growth. And don’t we all want the easy road sometimes? Pick up your favorite protein powder and incorporate a protein shake into your routine today.


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*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. Stark, M.; et al. (2012). “Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training”. (source)
  2. Pasiakos, S.; et al. (2014). “Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review”. (source)
  3. Treyzon, L.; et al. (2008). “A controlled trial of protein enrichment of meal replacements for weight reduction with retention of lean body mass”. (source)
  4. Pal, Sebely; et al. (2010). “Effects of whey protein isolate on body composition, lipids, insulin and glucose in overweight and obese individuals”. (source)
  5. Kalman, D. (2014). “Amino Acid Composition of an Organic Brown Rice Protein Concentrate and Isolate Compared to Soy and Whey Concentrates and Isolates”. (source)
  6. Babault, N.; et al. (2015). “Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein”. (source)
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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.