Protein is the golden word in the world of strength training and bodybuilding. There are an array of protein supplements available, but the most common ones have to be protein shakes.
These are designed to help individuals increase their protein intake in a cost-effective, hassle-free way, and they are aimed at muscle repair and recovery.
However, many do wonder whether protein shakes help increase energy levels.
This article is going to be discussing what protein shakes actually do to the body, and whether they provide you with extra energy or not.
What Are Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are made of protein powder, and this powder is to be mixed with either milk or water.
They can come from several sources, such as egg, whey, pea, soy, and rice powder, but whey is the most common one as it is cost-effective, and it is a complete protein.
The nutritional value of each protein powder will depend on the brand that you buy, but they normally are made with 70 to 80 percent protein, but you can find some that contain 90 to 94 percent protein.
The rest of the supplements will contain fat and carbohydrates.
Protein’s Role In The Body
Protein is what builds tissue in your muscles, bones, hair, skin, and other parts of your body.
Protein is made up of amino acids, as these are what grow and maintain the tissues in your body, and normally, your body will break down the same amount of protein as it uses to repair and build tissues.
However, in times of illness, your body may break down more protein than it can create, so you may need more protein during this time.
When it comes to athletic performance, combining regular activity with a good protein intake can lead to muscle growth. This is because your muscles are being repaired, enabling them to grow even more.
Protein And Energy
Protein can provide your body with energy, however, it is not recommended that you rely on these supplements to boost your energy levels.
There are four calories in each gram of protein, which is the same amount of energy that carbohydrates provide you with.
However, fats are what supply your body with the most energy, as there are nine calories in every gram.
Protein is used vastly around the body, so your body does not want to use it for energy, but instead, prefers to use carbs and fats.
These are a lot more suited for energy, and your body is able to maintain reserves of it in order to use it as fuel. They are also better metabolized than proteins are.
However, if you are in a period of fasting, or aren’t consuming enough calories, your body will use the amino acids from broken-down skeletal muscle for energy.
Therefore, while protein shakes are great for muscle building and muscle recovery, they aren’t the ideal supplements for energy levels.
Your energy levels should be maintained by eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and all other essential minerals and nutrients.
When Should You Have Your Protein Shake?
The best time to take your protein supplement will depend on your reasons for taking it. If your goal is to build muscle, then taking your supplement after your workout is generally thought of as the best time.
However, how long you should wait before taking it, after a workout is somewhat of a controversial topic.
Many believe that you should take your protein supplement around 15 to 60 minutes after working out, as this is the perfect window for getting the nutrients out of the supplement.
On the other hand, other research shows that the window is a lot larger, and consuming your protein supplement up to two hours after exercise is ideal.
Those who train in a fasted state, such as before breakfast, may benefit from taking their protein straight after their workout, as they wouldn’t have consumed any protein for quite some time.
But, the general rule of thumb, is that as long as you are increasing your protein intake, and taking it after your workout, your muscles will get the help that they need in order to repair and grow.
Protein Shake Or Protein Food?
We are all aware that there are an array of delicious foods that are bursting with healthy proteins. So, why do we see all these gym fanatics carrying around protein shakes like they’re the holy grail?
Many health professionals state that as long as you have access to a healthy and balanced diet, then protein shakes aren’t actually necessary.
However, there are several reasons why they are popular. For example, they are very convenient.
For those with hectic schedules, they are a great alternative to preparing an entire meal that contains a sufficient amount of protein.
They also reach your muscles a lot faster than food does.
Studies have shown that protein shakes only take around 30 minutes to reach the muscles, whereas food takes more time to digest and your body takes longer to break down the protein in order to send it to the muscles.
There is also a lot less fat content in many protein powders, so this is especially useful for those who are looking to lose some weight.
That being said, whole foods that contain protein also contain other important nutrients the body needs, whereas protein powders do not.
Therefore, they are more a source of convenience and an easy way to increase overall protein intake.
In summary, protein can provide your body with energy, but you are better off relying on carbohydrates and fats for this.
While protein isn’t known as an energy source per se, there are several benefits to adding protein shakes to your diet if you exercise regularly.
They are a convenient way of getting more protein in, and they ensure that protein makes its way to your muscles faster, providing them with wonderful recovery in order for them to grow!
Therefore, combining these shakes with regular exercise and a balanced diet is the best way to go.
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