How Important Is That Protein Shake?

When you start to workout and go to the gym, you notice a trend among your fellow gym members that you might not have caught onto yet. Many people carry shaker drink bottles that get filled up and swigged from after the workout is over.

RELATED: Post Workout Do’s And Don’ts

That shaker is full of a protein shake, and once you start your gym journey, there will be so much talk of glutamines, protein and pre-workout that you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry, we’ve sorted your questions about protein shakes!

Protein powder is often made from high quality whey, soy or casein protein and aims to help your muscles repair themselves after your vigorous workout. This means less soreness for you the following days and your body is provided with the extra nutrients you need after diminishing them during a workout.

If you walk into any supplements shop, you will be told that you need to have a protein shake after you workout because it helps you lose fat, preserve the muscle and improve the immune system. It also helps to build the strength and size of the muscle, making your workout extra beneficial.

But do we really need a protein shake? Or do we get enough in our food to ditch the post-workout drink and have some chicken instead?

Claire Schintler, from Collective Fitness + Training studio is all for finding our protein with in our food.

“Never before have we talked to so many frenzied clients who are worried their standard diets are protein-deficient and inadequate to support their fitness program. They commonly ask: What is the best protein supplement? Our response: Why do you think you even need a protein supplement in the first place?”

Claire and her team at Collective Fitness + Training don’t recommend post workout protein shakes to their clients, instead, encouraging them to eat the right foods.

“You can easily get the protein you need through standard foods. In fact, very few people need any type of protein supplement at all. I know, this might seem hard to digest, but in reality, extra protein is needed only in extreme situations, recovering from starvation or unable to consume solid foods, for example. There is an abundance of natural protein sources when we look at the options – pasture raised meat/game/fowl, fresh seafood and organic eggs, supplementing with colourful vegetables and a small amounts of nuts. We are yet to meet a healthy client who is unable to consume adequate protein through his or her regular diet. It’s time to save money, ditch the shakes and invest in some nutritious REAL food.”

protein shake, post workout

Personal trainer and Raw Til 4 fan, Katie Ingham tells her clients to save their money when it comes to protein powder, especially when it comes to weight loss.

“I have spent the past ten years of my life trying to get skinny. I’ve taken protein powders and never once have I felt they did anything to help me. The shake is basically chalk. In terms of muscle gain, I’m not a big believer, I think it’s your hormones that are what affects your ability to get big. It’s more to do with your training than the supplement you’re taking. In my opinion, save your money. Go buy a bike or go buy good quality organic products and good quality whole foods.”

It has also been said that too much protein consumption, such as that of avid gym junkies and body builders, can lead to problems with the kidneys and pre-mature death.

Personal trainer Andrew Chu doesn’t agree. He believes that have a protein shake post workout is beneficial whether it be for weight loss or muscle gain.

“Having a good quality whey protein is great for you body – sourced from New Zealand and grass fed is ideal, no hormones. I think whey is also good for your immune system and it can help your gut bacteria and flora. There are other benefits besides muscle repair and growth. Another benefit can be a suppression of appetite, if weight loss is your goal then a protein shake can act as a meal replacement as well.”

However, Andrew does admit that excess protein can be a problem.

“Excess protein can be a bit of a problem. You can get high readings in your uric acid content and that results in crystals developing around your joints which can cause gout.”

As you can see, there are two sides to every story, but as more personal trainers jump off the protein shake wagon and onto a focus on balanced eating, should you be ditching that shake for a piece of chicken? Well, that’s just a decision that you will have to make for yourself.

Images via shreddybrek.com and idiva.com