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Are Protein Shakes Necessary After Workouts?

This is a commonly asked question for muscle building enthusiasts. Let's face it, the supplement industry is booming and everywhere on bodybuilding and fitness magazines, you can see pictures of athletes displaying their impressive physiques and usually there should be some kind of product alongside usually protein shakes. The instant impression depicted to readers is that this product is responsible for this body to a point which makes supplements the magic formula for building muscle. I'll be honest with you, supplements do help but they are not a shortcut to achieving your goals. If you don't already have a solid nutrition plan in place, don't think supplements are your ultimate recourse to that coveted muscular physique. Get your nutrition and fundamentals right first and then you can consider using supplements and protein shakes.

Protein shakes should not replace most of your meals but if there is one crucial time protein shakes are necessary, it's within a few minutes after your workout. I definitely believe a liquid meal is best post-workout for muscle recovery as it's digested faster and frankly speaking, it's not easy to eat a solid meal right after a workout. You are rather thirsty and a cold protein shake is a great thirst-quenching drink to have. What you can do is have a protein shake within 15 minutes after your workout, then have a solid meal one hour later. This works best.

My word of advice is to get a whey protein isolate like Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound as this is very effective for post-workout. After a workout, your muscle fibers are depleted and a whey protein isolate will repair and rebuild those muscle tissues fast. Don't forget to add some carbs too to replenish your depleted muscle glycogen stores which are basically sugar storage cells for giving energy. After you exercise, these are drained and this is why you feel exhausted. Bananas are one of the most popular choices to refuel and re-energize your body as they contain some glucose and are also rich in electrolytes notably potassium which can combat muscle soreness, cramps and fatigue.

Here is a simple whey protein shake recipe for post-workout:

8-10 ounces of skim milk or low-fat milk
1 scoop of whey protein isolate
1 ripe frozen banana cut in slices

Mix everything in a blender till a nice consistency develops. The frozen banana will naturally sweeten your protein shake and give it a creamier and richer texture. In addition, you automatically get a cold shake without the need for ice cubes and I can tell you this simple protein shake is really good.

Tip: Peel the banana first before freezing as it's difficult to remove the peel after being frozen.

That's it, there is really no absolute neccesity to have protein shakes at other times of the day, just focus on muscle building foods. Protein shakes can also be used as meal replacement sometimes incase you can't have a proper meal. It's better than nothing. Hopefully this article has answered your question "Are protein shakes necessary after workouts?". Using protein shakes sparingly and eating 4-6 nutritious meals everyday is the key to build some solid muscle mass you can be proud of.

About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.


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