Keeping your body as healthy as possible is a top goal, and many men also want to improve their health, build strength and more over time.
Protein is one of the most important elements that your body needs to achieve the results that you desire, and drinking protein shakes regularly could be a critical factor that helps you to achieve your goals.
What Is Protein
Before you can determine if protein shakes are healthy and if you should be drinking them regularly for optimal health, you need to understand what protein actually is.
This is a type of macronutrient that is made out of a long string of amino acids. While that may not mean much to you, keep in mind that protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle mass throughout the body. It also is important for cardio health and more. In addition, it naturally makes up about 15 percent of your total body weight.
The caloric content of protein is about four calories per gram of protein.
Why Your Body Needs Protein
Protein is found naturally in many of the foods that you may consume regularly. This includes meat, fish, eggs, some dairy products, nuts and beans. The typical human body needs as much as 56 grams of protein each day for optimal health. Those who exercise more or who want to increase their body’s muscle mass may need to consume even more protein.
Some foods that are high in protein unfortunately are also high in fat. Because of this, some people are inclined to eliminate several protein-rich foods from their diet. This is particularly true if you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle without gaining a significant amount of weight.
What Happens If Your Body Does Not Get Enough Protein
As mentioned, when you exercise regularly, your body naturally requires more protein than the recommended 56 grams per day. When your body does not get the proper amount of protein that it requires, you may experience numerous unpleasant and even devastating symptoms. This includes everything from diarrhea and discoloration of your skin and hair to rashes, swelling and a bloated belly. You could also lose muscle mass, experience focus and concentration issues and more.
You can see that a protein deficiency is a serious problem that could have far-reaching effects on your life. You understandably want to consume the required amount of protein for optimal health, and this is why protein shakes may help you.
If you exercise regularly and particularly if you want to increase muscle mass, you need to consume more than the suggested 56 grams of protein. However, you may not wish to increase your calorie intake significantly by consuming extra food.
Why Your Body May Need Extra Protein When You Workout
If you consume the recommended amount of protein each day, which is approximately 56 grams, you may wonder why your body needs extra protein when working out. The recommended amount of protein is sufficient for maintaining the muscle mass that you have. This protein fuels your muscles throughout the day, and it can also play a role in controlling your metabolism.
Protein is an excellent nutrient to consume when you are focused on weight loss or healthy eating. This is because protein can release energy at a slower yet steady rate for several hours after eating. Carbs and sugar, on the other hand, can result in a quick spike in energy followed by a crash. Furthermore, the muscles are not properly fueled when they lack ample protein.
When you exercise, your muscles need additional protein to fuel muscles for the extra exertion you will put forth.
How Protein After a Workout Helps Your Body
Consuming extra protein before working out can give your body extra energy that is needed for physical fitness, but you also need to consume extra protein after working out for a different reason. Each time you exercise, your muscles are subtly broken down, and they rebuild while your body is at rest. During this post-workout period, your body’s need for protein increases.
This is because this is the time when muscles are rebuilding. Remember that the amount of protein that is required by your body for optimal health and for superior results from your exercise sessions varies based on the intensity of your activity.
For example, if you are running a long distance, your body’s needs for extra protein may be less than a person who has lifted heavy weights for a long exercising session.
The exact amount of protein that you need before and after a workout varies. You should ensure that you definitely consume the recommended 56 grams of protein each day for optimal health. For high-intensity cardio and muscle-building activities, you may need to consume twice this amount of protein or more for optional health and to enjoy excellent results from a workout.
Remember, however, that the timing of your protein intake can also play a role in how effective protein is for helping you. Ideally, you will consume the extra protein that is needed after exercising within 30 minutes of resting.
How to Consume More Protein in a Healthy Way
There are many ways to consume extra protein. For example, you could easily research the different levels of protein in various protein-rich foods. For example, three ounces of ground turkey contains 85 grams of protein.
This is just one of many natural sources of protein. However, it is not always convenient to consume cooked eggs, meat or other items immediately after a workout. Because of this, many people turn to protein shakes to get the extra protein they need before and after exercising. In addition to the convenience factor, keep in mind that the body can more easily and quickly absorb protein from a shake than from a food product.
There are many types of protein shakes, and most are designed to be a convenient and rich source of protein. For example, you may simply be able to place a few scoops of your favorite protein shake mix in a water bottle before leaving the house. After you have worked out, simply fill the bottle with the appropriate amount of water. Shake it well before consuming it.
Some shakes are even pre-made, which is an additional convenience for busy people on-the-go. There is no need to pre-cook foods to eat on the go when you enjoy the ease of protein shakes.
What to Look for When Selecting Protein Shakes
There are a wide range of protein shake mixes as well as pre-made shakes that you can choose from. These vary by taste, and the most common flavors are vanilla and chocolate. While you definitely want to choose a flavor that appeals to your taste preferences, remember that there are other factors to consider. For example, the nutritional content in protein shakes varies substantially.
When you are looking for the right protein shake mix to purchase, pay attention to the Biological Value or BV. Look for a mix with a higher BV for the best results. In addition, focus on the contents of the mix or shake.
For example, some protein shakes are designed to help you increase your weight and your muscle mass. These products may have higher levels of fats and carbs as well as protein. If you are only interested in building muscle mass rather than gaining a substantial amount of weight as well, look for a product that has a high level of protein with low carbs and fats.
There are other important factors to consider when looking for a protein shake product as well. For example, pay attention to how long the company has been in business. Ideally, you want to buy a product that has been around for a few years. This is a testament to how significant the results can be.
You also may want to look for a pure product rather than one that promises many other workout results. Products that promise other benefits often have a much higher cost than a pure protein powder product.
You also need to pay attention to whether the product is a concentrate, a casein or an isolate. A concentrate is a type of protein shake that is absorbed at a rather moderate rate. Some people choose to use a concentrate between meals. An isolate, on the other hand, is very quickly absorbed. This type of protein shake is most well-suited after a workout.
Casein protein shakes are slowly absorbed. A casein protein shake product is often consumed by fitness enthusiasts late in the evening before going to bed. Regardless of the type of protein shake that you choose, avoid being sold on hype and marketing material. Instead, make an educated decision based on the actual ingredients in the drink and on the type of drink.
Consuming extra protein before and after a workout is important. However, it is not always convenient to do. Protein shakes can give you the extra nutrients that you need in a convenient format, making them an ideal option to consider when exercising.