If you’ve started hitting the gym, you’ve probably had the protein shake conversation, whether you were looking up information on the internet or having an actual conversation with someone about it. Protein shakes and gym seem to go together like fish and water but, what is it about the powder inside that plastic tub that makes it so necessary?
The truth? Nothing! Protein powder is not some magical formula that helps you see results. With that being said, it is important to refuel and recover after an intense workout whether it is from a protein mix or your own special recipe. We will always say that having real food is always the best option when available but having a recovery shake is quick, easy and convenient when on the go.
Why is it important refuel? When you have an intense workout, you use a lot of the resources inside your body and muscles. Much like driving your car, it does not work that well if you are not putting gas in it. Your body works relatively the same way. Your body is very efficient at storing the fuel you give it, but it does help if you are quick to replenish and help it recover short after a workout.
What if I miss my “window” of opportunity for my recovery shake? While your body is reaching for its nutrients short after a workout, your window opportunity to get fuel back into the body is a lot longer than you may think. For up to two to three hours after an intense workout, your body is working over time to replenish glycogen (energy) and repair muscles that have may have broken down during the workout. As long as you are able to have something during that time, you are good!
What are the main things I should look for in a recovery shake? This one is easy and all you have to do is keep it simple. We know that carbohydrates are for energy and protein is for our muscles. Well, that’s exactly what we should look to have in our recovery shake. After all, we must replace what we used. You worked hard and spent a lot of energy that your body has had ready for you from an earlier meal or stored from last night’s dinner, if you are working out early in the morning. In addition, if you are doing any resistance training you may put your muscles under stress and caused some damage to your muscles that a protein will work hard to repair.
So are there any REAL benefits to a shake, if I can just eat real food? Convenience is a big benefit. A shake can be made beforehand and stored in a fridge. They do not require utensils to eat and can be taken in on the go. Shakes also tend to not feel as heavy in the stomach as much as a full meal might. Also, liquids are absorbed in the body faster than solid foods. This may help slightly with the body replenishing faster!
What are your thoughts on a protein / recovery shake? Do you have a favorite powder that you preach by? Have you crafted up your own recipe that you absolutely love? I’d be more than happy to hear what you guys have found out that works for you and also happy to help you find something that works for you if you have not yet!