These days, it’s hard to walk into a supermarket without being bombarded by a wall of protein-EVERYTHING. Protein shakes, balls, snack bars, supplements and powders all promising to tone you up and give you energy.
It can leave you wondering if you actually need to include one of these products in your diet. The truth is, if you are trying to tone your muscles, it might just be the ticket to get you those arms or abs you’ve been dreaming of.
We chatted to Ravinder Lilly from USANA Health Sciences about why protein shakes could actually work wonders for your body.
Why do our bodies need protein?
“Protein is an essential component of body cells, tissues and enzymes. Your body needs protein – and the amino acids it contains – to build and repair muscle.
How does protein benefit our bodies when we exercise?
When we exercise, the stress that we put our bodies under produces tiny tears in our muscles. This is a natural part of the process of regeneration. Exercising – and resistance training in particular – helps to rebuild muscles so they increase in size.
How can protein shakes help?
Protein shakes are a quick and easy way to provide easy-to-digest proteins that the body breaks down into amino acids and then uses to make the protein it needs to repair muscle.
Who should add protein shakes to their diet?
But protein shakes aren’t only for people who train with weights – they also replace lost glycogen, which is the body’s storage carbohydrate.
Should I drink it before, during or after a workout?
Drink a small protein shake followed by a light, healthy meal an hour or two after exercising. Not eating enough will mean that your body will break down muscle to provide the calories it needs when you exercise.
What if I don’t do that much exercise?
The average diet provides adequate protein, so you probably don’t need a top-up if you’re a light exerciser. If you have plans to tone up, shake up your whole healthy eating plan and opt for a protein shake post-workout.
But won’t drinking protein shakes make me bulky?!
Women need resistance training and protein to help build lean muscle and burn excess body fat. Because women have much less testosterone than men, it’s not possible to bulk up like men do with exercise and diet alone.
Do you drink protein shakes to complement your diet and fitness routine? If not, will you be adding a protein shake to your diet?