Protein shakes have divided nations! Some will be critical of the singlet toting gym junky’s protein shaker and others will feel inspired to shake themselves. So should you protein shake?
To shake or not to shake?
One quality scientific review, found protein supplementation with resistance training to increase muscle mass more than resistance training alone. Additionally, in conjunction with a healthy diet protein supplementation can aid in fat loss (1). A further review study found protein ingestion with resistance training to increase muscle mass, strength, explosive power and power during endurance based tasks more than resistance training alone (2). This tells us you should get shaking!
What, when, how to shake:
If it is an entire protein supplement you are consuming such as whey powder, then consuming the product within 30 minutes post workout appears to offer maximal strength and muscle mass benefits (3). Consuming protein after a workout becomes even more effective when it is consumed with a high GI carbohydrate like glucose or maltodextrin. Try adding a spoonful of honey to your shake or buy maltodextrin powder and add a sprinkle.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and one such amino acid is Leucine. It appears that protein supplements containing 3-4g per dose of leucine most optimise the amount of protein effectively used (synthesised) by the body. Consuming any normal whey protein should achieve this.
Alternatively, If you consume an isolated amino acid supplement (more expensive), you’re best taking this pre-workout. Although these are more expensive than protein supplements and confer no further benefit (3).
Is it healthful?
Yes, the singlet clad gym junkie was right. Take whey protein after your workout with a bit of honey for best effect.
Our verdict: very healthful.
I hold a Doctor of Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Exercise Science and am a qualified personal trainer. I have extensive clinical and research experience and a strong passion for all things health. This has driven me to write the blog: Is it healthful, in order to analyse sound scientific research to determine if a product, service or intervention is healthful, or simply a waste of money or time.