- Does drinking the shake itself work against my efforts to lose weight?
It counts against your daily calories, same as anything else you eat. Other than that though, there's nothing specific to protein shakes that would inhibit weight loss.
Do be careful though; not all protein shakes are the same. Some of them, especially the "mass gainer" shakes, use a lot of sugar.
- Am I going about this the right way? Is it ok health-wise?
If you're going to do both cardio and weights, then you want to lift weights first, and then do your cardio. You need a lot of energy to lift weights, and doing cardio first will rob you of that energy. Doing the weights first will allow you to lift heavier, which will lead to more muscle growth (which allows you to lift heavier . . .).
- Generally speaking, what else should I do to effectively lose weight and gain muscle? Would you recommend following a health-fitness mobile app such as MyFitnessPal? Perhaps something more detailed and accurate?
Yes! You absolutely need a way to track your calories and macros (carbs, fats, and protein). My fitness pal is just as good as the next calorie tracker. It isn't perfectly accurate (none of them are), but it is VASTLY superior to guesswork and mental math.
As for fat loss in general, you need to find out what your daily caloric needs are. There are calculators (like this one: https://tdeecalculator.net/) that can help you determine how many calories you need per day.
Ultimately though, it all depends your body, genetics, and daily activity levels. So you need to experiment a little to find out what works for you:
- Weigh yourself
- Start with whatever daily calorie limit the calculator gives you.
- Stick to that limit every day for one week
- Weigh yourself again
- If you weigh the same (or more), lower the calorie limit by 500 calories
- If you weigh less, then continue with your current limit
And finally, a word on protein. Your muscles need protein to grow. How much protein per day? Anywhere from 0.5g to 1g protein per pound of body weight. Again, it depends on your body, and how much muscle you're looking to build. Adjust as needed, same as with your calories.
Best of luck.