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My wife and I plan on doing some weight training and want to know if we should drink protein shakes?

My plan is to eat dinner around 6pm and around 7:30pm start riding elliptical and after the elliptical, do some weights. My wife plans on doing the same, just late morning or early afternoon.

Someone told me if I do weights, I should also start drinking protein shakes and they recommended Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard.

Should I have a protein shake before or after (or both) weight training?

Also does this protein shake have chemicals in it? Or is there a better protein shake?

Also on the days I just do elliptical or nothing, should I still drink protein shake?

Thanks for anyone’s help!

**Edit 1** Ok, maybe I wasn't clear on what I was asking. Let me try again.

I’m not really looking for nutrition fountain of youth. My wife and I want to start lifting weights, her for toning and me to bulk up a bit. I really don't think we get a enough protein, even though I really don't know how much is enough.

So, I'm not sure when I should drink it, how many times a day I should drink it, when I should drink them or if I should based on my diet. I'm really clueless when it comes to most of this.

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2 Answers 2

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The choice of whether to use protein shakes, how much, and how often is primarily a nutrition question.

Strength training does increase your need for protein, however there are several recommendations that are simply overkill. I recommend reading a good primer on protein requirements called "The Three Laws of Protein"--which is designed for people who lift. The summary is as follows:

  • Eat enough protein: .82g / lb (1.8g / kg), and rounding up to 1g / lb is just easier to remember. Your body simply won't use any more to rebuild muscle no matter how elite you are. The only way your body will use more protein is if you took steroids.
  • Space the protein throughout the day: it's better to have equal portions of protein across 3-7 meals than get it all at once.
  • Get your protein from high quality sources: meat, poultry, and seafood are all preferable to vegetables and most protein supplements. Using a whey protein isolate is also a high quality way to get protein without much extra.

Let's say you weigh 185 lbs. According to the advice above, you would need somewhere between 150-185g of protein every day. If you eat 4 times a day, that's 37-46g per meal. That's equivalent to 6-8 ounces of meat per meal.

If you need to keep your Calories down and still meet the protein requirements, then a whey protein supplement is definitely a good way to do that. Replace one of the meals with a 2 scoop protein shake and you've got 40-56g of protein (depending on the supplement).

I think it's admirable you want to start lifting weights. There will be many well meaning people who will say something that they heard from someone else, and have lost the original context--or never knew it. Protein supplement dose and frequency depends on your current dietary goals, which in turn are based on your current activities.

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Well, my problem is most likely my diet. I'm not saying I eat bad, but don't eat much protein. I'm trying to eat more greek yogurt for some protein. I don't need a ton of protein now because I'm not lifting yet(just more cardio as of right now), but want to start in the next month or two. –  Michael Aug 5 at 17:01

Protein shakes are a food supplement, not a weight loss or muscle growth magic potion. They are only useful if you are not meeting your protein requirements through other methods.

Protein shakes do not contain vitamins, minerals or fibre, which is contained in other whole food sources of protein and all of which are vital for good health. What they do contain in abundance is calories, all protein nothing else.

Accurately track your caloric and macronutrient requirement, and only if you aren't meeting your protein requirements through other means should you consider protein shakes.

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As an addendum to this, protein shakes are good when you are on a diet and need to keep the protein up and the calories down. That's the primary purpose they serve. –  Berin Loritsch Aug 5 at 14:29

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