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I have decided to give protein shakes a try (with no specific goal for now, I'm just interested in the effect) and since everyone seems to have a different opinion about them and several guides are even contradicting each other I wanted to ask here about how to properly use them:

I train about 3-5 (mostly 4) times a week for 60-75 minutes without a special dedication to muscle growth. I mainly do stamina and cardio workout (TRX and Cross) with bodyweight, so pull ups, push ups, burpees, plank, star jumpers, etc.).

Question 1: I'm sure additional protein always affects your body, but are specific exercises required to maximize the effect of protein shakes? I'm not really interested in lifting weights for that purpose and if I don't do that is the effect too little to bother?

Question 2: Most common information is that it's suggested to take 1g/1lb body weight. I'm not weighing very much (75kg or 165lb) and taking in 165g of protein seems way too much. On my package it says 30g per drink with 200ml of milk or water and that seems just about right for me - as someone who has no idea about all of this. On the other hand I don't know if they assume you consume multiple drinks daily.

  • About Q1: What are you trying to achieve? You are asking for specific exercises to maximize the effect, but what do you want to maximize? Muscle growth? Cardiovascular endurance? – MJB Jul 17 '17 at 6:50
  • As I said, I don't have a specific goal in mind. If they have different effects than you can also tell me about them and how to maximize each one of them. – user424862 Jul 17 '17 at 9:32
  • We cannot give exercises to maximize the effect of additional protein if we don't know what the goal is to work towards. – MJB Jul 17 '17 at 9:53
  • If you want to increase your muscle mass then yes you have to take 1-1.25gm/1lb of your lean mass. It depends on you to decide on how much protein you want to consume from diff sources(shakes, meat, lentils etc) based on that you can take 1 scoop/2scoop once a day or twice a day.. – uday Jul 18 '17 at 19:04
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Question 1: Most people do look to protein shakes for the purpose of gaining muscle. You may still benefit from protein supplements if you do not care about that. If your exercise focuses on stamina, then extra protein can help your body build more capillaries in your lungs for oxygen exchange and more in your muscles to deliver fuel and oxygen. Also, if your workouts extend past the point when all carb reserves in your body are consumed, then your body will use protein as a fuel source.

Question 2: Since you are not looking to add muscle mass, you should probably look more at your existing diet and see if shakes are needed to balance out your intake. You can track what you eat and find a site that will tell you what percentage of your calories are coming from carbs, fat, and protein. You may find that with the foods you prefer, you are getting less protein than you should be getting for your lifestyle. If that's the case, add the protein in the amount needed for balance. It's okay to drink it multiple times a day if needed, preferably with a low-protein meal.

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I know this answer might offend a few, but here it goes.

There is a lot of BS that gets thrown around regarding protein which are more often than not marketing gibberish that supports this more than $10B market. Anything in excess is either stored as fat in your body or simply excreted out. Just by eating excess protein does not mean that your body is going to change. In fact, it can be quiet the opposite as your kidneys need to work extra hard to filter and expel these from the body.

I would rather suggest to look at natural ways to fulfill your macros, if you are tracking them and follow a healthy diet without reading too much into these or succumbing to peer pressure.

  • You might be right but you didn't answer my questions. – user424862 Jul 17 '17 at 9:34
  • The answer is that you don't need any protein shake. :) – PravinCG Jul 17 '17 at 13:13
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Protein shakes have done two things for me.

First, a morning protein shake -- which I have done now for about 5 years -- helped me take control of my diet. It allows me to make breakfast my biggest meal, giving me all day to burn the calories, instead of eating a big dinner and then storing it as fat while I sleep. Since I load it up with fruit, I also get my fiber. It is also super easy: throw everything in the blender and you are good to go.

Second, protein shakes helped me build muscle after lifting weights. I don't actually do that right now, since I've been working out mornings lately. But, when I worked out at night, it was standard to toss down a quick shake -- powder and almond milk -- before or after. I'm not a bulky guy -- alas, that is not how I am built -- but the protein definitely helps my body recover from a good workout.

The previous commenter is right that too much protein just gets dumped, but adding a 30-gram drink to your day doesn't even get you close to that, I wouldn't think.

He's also right that there are companies out there selling protein making all sorts of questionable claims. I just stick to Whey protein that mixes well and tastes good and is not too expensive. Currently, that is GNC because Rite Aide often has sales on it. The strawberry is the bomb.

Protein powder has helped me cut sugar and reduce my daily carb intake. Now, I could just eat a lot of meat or other sources, such as beans, but powder is much easier. And, it tastes great.

As to how much: 1 gram per pound of your targeted body weight (the weight you want to be. For me, that is always less than I actually am) is the general goal. It is less for women, maybe half to three-quarters of a gram? I don't count such things anymore -- maybe I should, just for a reality check? -- but I rarely got that much into me, even with two shakes a day. Basically, I throw in one scoop per shake these days and each scoop is around 30 grams.

I'm a 56-year-old guy and I lift three times a week and do cardio in between, when I'm being good. I'm just trying to stay strong so I can keep active.

Since I am gassing on here, I'll add that my shake typically includes powder, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, blueberries, some other fruit and almond milk (because I avoid dairy) My wife's shake has cranberry juice as it's base. My buddy Brant puts so many greens into his that it glows alarmingly.

Finally, Men's Health has a ton of good information online, if you want to research it.

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