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Best Protein Shake For Muscle Gain + 7 Golden Tips

Protein shakes and protein powders have been available to the general public since the 1950s when it was first introduced by US bodybuilding magazines.

Over the past twenty years, whey shakes and protein bars have become incredibly popular with strength athletes.

Protein supplements have become indispensable in the fitness industry.

It has become one of the most popular dietary supplements. It is used to build muscle mass and used in diets to lose fat mass.

In this blog, I tell you everything you need to know as a bodybuilder about proteins and whey shakes.

I also delve deeper into the nefarious role the fitness industry plays in perpetuating certain myths about nutritional supplements.

3 Best Protein Shakes and Protein Powders

What you will learn in this blog include:

  • The Shocking Answer to How Much Protein You Need Daily (It's Not What You Think It Is)
  • The main types of whey shake
  • The best time to take in protein shakes
  • The effect of strength training on muscle mass
  • How do your own protein shake at home can
  • And much, much more.

7 Golden Tips

  • 1. What You Need To Know About Macronutrients
  • 2. The 3 Main Types of Whey Shakes
  • 3. Which Protein Shake You Want To Choose
  • 4. How Much Protein You Really Need As A Bodybuilder
  • 5. Scientific Research. The Secret of Strength Training
  • 6. The Best Time To Take Protein Shakes
  • 7. This is how you make your own protein shake (without protein powder)
protein shake for building muscle

Tip #1: What You Need To Know About Macronutrients

Beginning strength athletes often ask me whether or not they should use nutritional supplements to achieve their sporting goals.

So let me start with what we as bodybuilders need every day.

Food that we ingest every day consists of a mix of nutritional components.

Macronutrients are nutrients that occur in large amounts:

Macronutrients are divided into three groups:

  • fats
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein

The human body needs these groups of nutrients in relatively large quantities in order to survive.

To ensure that we develop muscle mass with a minimum of fat, it is important that we maintain the correct macronutrient ratios.

My preference is for a calorie distribution of 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 30% fats.

This is the total distribution of the day, but of course, not all meals during the day need to meet these proportions.

Protein

Proteins are the building blocks of your muscles. They ensure rapid muscle recovery and muscle growth.

Without protein, we wouldn't be able to build muscle. In order to eventually build muscle, our body has to break down proteins into amino acids.

No matter how often and intensively you train, without sufficient protein intake, you will not build muscle mass.

That is why proteins are extremely important for bodybuilders.

It is also important to know that your muscles are damaged by the training.

The more intensively you train, the more chance of muscle breakdown.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are actually the primary source of energy for humans because they can provide powerful energy quickly and for a long time without our bodies having to put in a lot of effort.

Carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the human body and glucose is transported back into the blood to your muscles and liver.

Their glucose is converted into glycogen.

Glycogen is stored in your muscles and liver and is the ultimate fuel for the muscles and organs.

Think of glycogen as what gasoline is to your car. It ensures that we stay warm, can move, and are able to think clearly.

Eating carbohydrates provide your body with raw materials to produce glycogen.

We also have micronutrients :

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Compare the human body to a house.

The macronutrients are the wood, cement, and bricks with which to build your house.

The micronutrients are the screws and nails. They are all essential for building a house and ensuring that your house does not collapse like a house of cards.

Now back to the proteins. A protein is made up of amino acids.

Think of amino acids as Lego blocks that fit together to build a larger block of protein.

It is important to know that the function of amino acids is much more than just repairing and growing muscle tissue.

Amino acids also play important roles in:

  • The repair and development of red blood cells
  • The growth of hair and nails
  • Transporting nutrients to and from cells
  • Protection against diseases

The protein-rich foods you eat can contain a total of twenty-two different amino acids.

Of these twenty-two amino acids, the human body can make thirteen itself.

You will therefore have to get the other nine amino acids through food.

The nine essential amino acids are:

  • phenylalanine
  • isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Threonine
  • methionine
  • Tryptophan
  • valine
  • Histidine

Whey (the main component of protein powder) contains all nine essential amino acids that help to heal and grow damaged muscles.

That is why whey shakes and protein powders can offer a solution for bodybuilders when it comes to consuming these essential amino acids.

Tip #2: The 3 Main Types of Whey Shakes

There are several protein shakes and protein powders on the market that can be used by bodybuilders.

Whey is the main component of protein powder.

This powdery substance is created when milk is forced through a filter to make cheese. The water that remains in the filter is dried into whey powder.

The whey powder that remains consists largely of proteins (30 to 90%), fats, carbohydrates, and milk sugar.

As you now know, whey contains all nine essential amino acids that are necessary for muscle recovery.

Depending on how it is filtered, it can be called whey isolate, whey concentrate, or whey hydrolyzate.

Tip #3: Which Protein Shake You Want To Choose

Unfortunately, whey (as with all sports supplements) is the subject of many myths. This is a shame because people make the wrong product choice due to incorrect information.

I will now explain to you the main differences between whey isolate, concentrate, and hydrolyzate.

Whey Concentrate

The biggest difference between the whey types lies in the degree of processing. With concentrate proteins, the process of filtering is used to remove fat, lactose, carbohydrates, and minerals.

The remaining product that remains consists of 80% proteins.

So for every 100 grams of whey concentrate powder you buy, you get 80 grams of pure whey protein.

Whey Isolate

You can go even further with filtering these 80% proteins to get more lactose, carbohydrates, and fats out. This creates a whey isolate that consists of 90% proteins.

Whey isolate is, therefore, a lot more expensive because more filtering is used to get a higher concentration of proteins.

What is important to keep in mind is that whey isolate contains very little lactose. This is beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant and experience bloating and flatulence with whey concentrate.

Which I use and recommend myself

The whey protein isolates that I myself use and recommend is this one from Royal Green. This whey product contains the highest percentage of quality protein, without added sweeteners and flavors. The brand also has good coconut oil and other natural products.

Whey Hydrolyzate

This whey variant is much less known among strength athletes. With hydrolyzed whey, the protein chains are divided into smaller pieces called peptides.

Whey hydrolyzate is in theory the only whey that can be taken immediately after exercise and immediately releases amino acids.

Whey hydrolyzate is mostly used for medical use and infant formula.

The disadvantage of this whey type is the price and the bitter taste, which means that many athletes eventually switch to whey isolate or concentrate.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good whey shake with sufficient protein and an excellent price ratio, then whey concentrate and whey isolate are suitable choices.

Because whey concentrate is digested more slowly than whey isolate, it provides a longer 'full feeling', making it great to use as a snack.

This is ideal if your goal is to become drier and lose weight.

Do you have lactose intolerance? In that case, it is better to opt for whey isolate.

If you are a hard training athlete on a strict diet that wants to eat 'clean', whey hydrolyzate is an option.

This is the purest whey type that contains the least carbohydrates and fats.

Does this hydrolyzate make better than whey isolate and concentrate for building muscle mass?

The nutritional supplement industry will most likely argue that it does.

But to date, there are no scientific studies that say that whey hydrolyzate actually ensures more and faster muscle building.

Tip #4: How Much Protein You Really Need As A Bodybuilder

“How much protein should I ingest per day to grow muscle mass?”

This is a frequently asked question among avid strength athletes and bodybuilders.

Let's start by saying that without the intake of sufficient protein you can never build extra muscle mass.

Your muscles need a certain amount of protein to recover from your intense training.

There has been a discussion for years within the fitness world when it comes to the amount of protein that strength athletes and bodybuilders should consume on a daily basis.

Fitness magazines and major players in the supplement industry are constantly repeating the message that if you want to get big muscle, you need to get large amounts of protein.

The supplement industry is huge, with annual sales exceeding $7 billion.

With such huge sums of money, you might understand why so much time and effort is put into selling protein supplements to athletes.

In short, the fitness world with its millions of potential customers is a booming business.

A good friend and avid bodybuilder once told me how ridiculous things were in a supplement store.

At the time, he was a salesman for a well-known supplement company and had to make as many protein recommendations as possible to customers.

Customers were urged to supplement their protein-rich meals with as many as 4 or 5 protein shakes per day.

Only in this way would they be able to meet the protein intake of 250 to 300 grams per day.

But this absurdly high number is based on nothing.

The truth is, you don't need to eat such absurd amounts of protein to efficiently build muscle mass.

Tip #5: Scientific Research: The Secret of Strength Training

One of the most interesting studies examining the effect of exercising without huge amounts of protein was published in 1996.

43 experienced strength athletes took part in a study in which they had to train weekly and were given weekly testosterone enanthate injections (steroids).

The 43 subjects in the study were divided into four groups:

  • Group 1: No exercises + no testosterone injections
  • Group 2: Exercises + no testosterone injections
  • Group 3: No exercises + weekly testosterone injections
  • Group 4: Exercises + weekly testosterone injections
study, protein shake for building muscle

It will come as no surprise to you that after ten weeks of training three times a week, the group with testosterone injections ( group 4 ) achieved the most results.

This group gained an average of more than 13 pounds of lean body mass.

It shouldn't surprise you either that Group 2 (the group that also hit the gym weekly, but without injections) increased their muscle mass by 4.5 pounds in just ten weeks.

But what is striking is that the men who were injected weekly with steroids and then did nothing for ten weeks saw their lean body mass increase by as much as 6 pounds.

It is further clear that Group 1 did not see any change in their lean body mass.

“But what does a study on steroids have to do with my protein intake as a natural bodybuilder?”

Just a little patience.

Because all four groups were on the same protein diet. Each participant was expected to consume 120 grams of protein per day.

This research shows that even for a steroid user, 120 grams of protein per day is sufficient to gain muscle mass.

Converted, these men gained an average of 6 kilos of lean body mass.

120 grams of protein was the same amount that the natural group was given and they also gained just over 2 kilos of lean body mass.

The big difference between these groups had not so much to do with their protein intake (because it was the same), but everything to do with the anabolic effects of steroids.

Since group 1 (the control group that did nothing) also took in the same amount of proteins as the other groups, we can say that proteins by themselves have no growth-promoting effect.

This study shows that you do not need absurdly high amounts of protein daily to gain more muscle mass.

In fact, protein on its own had no effect whatsoever on gaining more muscle mass (see group 1).

  • Strength training itself and the combination of strength training with steroids ensure the acquisition of more muscle mass.

If you build up little muscle mass, many people automatically assume that too little protein is being consumed, while this could just as well be due to the intensity of the training.

Completely change your training schedule and see what this does to your results.

“Is my amount of protein intake of minor importance for muscle building?”

No, not that either. You will always need to consume a certain amount of grams of protein daily to enable muscle growth (in combination with intensive strength training).

But the recommended amount of protein is at odds with what the supplement industry is telling unwitting athletes day in and day out.

The definitive answer to the question of how much protein you should eat on a daily basis is:

120 grams of protein is more than enough for strength athletes to build muscle mass.

This equates to about 1.5 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Tip #6: The Best Time To Take Protein Shakes

Many bodybuilders and novice strength athletes want to know whether there is a certain period of time ( window of opportunity) during which the intake of proteins can have a beneficial effect on your muscle growth.

Recently I was asked by email whether it is necessary to eat protein or whey shakes every two to three hours to prevent you from losing muscle mass.

My answer was:

  • The frequency of your protein intake does not matter, as long as you reach the necessary amount of protein (120-150 grams) daily.

You will not enter a catabolic phase (loss of muscle mass) if you have not eaten protein for a few hours.

This is regularly claimed by avid bodybuilders, but there is no scientific evidence for this.

The total intake of protein throughout the day is much more important.

If you prefer to eat three large protein-rich meals a day instead of 6 smaller meals, that's no problem.

Your body can absorb and process a lot of proteins in one go.

What has been scientifically proven is that a pre-workout protein shake (30 minutes before training) can help you slightly in gaining more muscle mass.

Sports scientists at Maastricht University discovered that the intake of proteins just before strength training seems to accelerate the progression of muscle building.

What is a secret?

  • It turns out that your intestines do not work optimally for the first hour after a workout, making proteins more difficult to digest.

Tip #7: This is how you make your own protein shake (without protein powder)

Do you want to make your own protein shake? Which can!

Making a protein shake is easier than you think.

The ingredients you need to make your own protein shake:

  • 180 grams of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 100 ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
  • Dessert spoon cocoa powder
  • Clean blender
  • As an extra addition a few drops of stevia sweetener (not necessary)

First, pour the milk into the blender. Then add 180 low-fat cottage cheese. Finally, add a spoonful of cocoa powder.

You can choose to add a few drops of stevia for taste, but this is not necessary.

Turn on the blender and wait at least twenty seconds.

You now have a delicious whey shake that is full of proteins. Let it taste you!


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