Protein Shakes are Effective – Fact or Fiction?


Photo Credit: rbbaird (flickr.com)

History tends to repeat itself. Decades ago, steroids were the forefront of bodybuilding. Every bodybuilder used it, even Governor Arnold admitted to using it at some point. When it became illegal to carry or use steroids without a prescription, people started looking for other ways to building muscle quickly.

This came in the form of protein powders, which indirectly influences bodybuilding through repairing and developing muscles at a rapid rate, allowing the bodybuilder to put more work into building mass. To put it simply, it provides a benefit in physical activity. Today, protein powders have little to no side effects when used correctly and carefully, but it is still under fire from critics who believe it as the second coming of steroids.

There are a lot of factors why this is so. First, protein powders aren’t tested by the FDA. This leaves the protein product manufacturers freedom to put whatever they want on the label, whether they’re accurate or not. They can also freely make claims to the effectiveness of their product.

This misinformation is often the root of anti-protein stances. But if you really look at it, most of the anti-protein powder people receive their information from hearsays and secondhand stories. Not that it’s any different for the pro-protein stance.

For instance, a lot of bodybuilders who use protein powders attribute their results to the products. What they usually fail to mention is that they know exactly what protein powders are capable and incapable of. They also know how to use it to maximize effectiveness.

If you’ve seen protein supplements that advertise themselves as “100% protein” or something similar, these bodybuilders themselves actually careful enough to not believe the hype. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you to look at the label and you’ll see that there are a lot of other ingredients to make the protein powder. Simply put, it’s not 100% protein at the slightest. Manufacturers simply tend to exaggerate their adverts to boost sales.

A similar, yet more serious, topic that reflects this back-and-forth debate is the legalization of marijuana. Anti-weed factions often say it is a gateway drug, but then you see a lot of stoners who have not used any other drug.

This stalemate will go on for a long time. But is the effectiveness of protein shakes fact or fiction? The fiction is in the marketing strategies. Protein shakes are rarely what they’re advertised to be. The fact is that it is effective, but only if coupled with exercise and a healthy diet.

Related Links:

Weighty Medicine: Pumping Iron Comes of Age (huffingtonpost.com)

When the Gym Isn’t Enough (nytimes.com)

Bodybuilding: More Than Just Buffing Up

When we see men and women all buffed up, we can sometimes perceive them simply as narcissistic people who just want to flaunt their bodies. The truth is, there are those who pump iron in the gym to build muscles not only to look good but also to improve both their physical and mental health.

What Is Bodybuilding?

That may sound like a dumb question, but there’s more to bodybuilding than meets the eye (and the mind). Bodybuilding benefits not only the body but also the mind. Of course, the primary goal of this physical activity, which is also a sport, is to have a proportionally shaped body, although there are those who want to increase muscle mass only in specific parts of their body.

Improving Physical Health

Aside from getting a great-looking figure, bodybuilding can actually help decrease the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Sweating it out in the gym is certainly not only about achieving a body worthy of a spread in a bodybuilding magazine. By getting into weight training and aerobic exercise, you’ll have more chance of reducing and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as curbing obesity. This beneficial physical activity also keeps our muscles strong and flexible, which helps a lot in our daily activities that involve physical strength and flexibility.

Improving Mental Health

Ever heard of the saying ‘A sound body is a sound mind?’ This expression makes perfect sense. Although some people have the tendency to stereotype bodybuilders as mindless persons trying to look good, there are mental benefits that bodybuilding provides. It can boost our mental well-being. It helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and even depression. Many people who are into bodybuilding also gain more confidence and self-esteem.

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Image credit: Fitness.is (flickr.com)

Improving Nutrition

We all know how the food we eat figures in as far as our overall well-being is concerned. When you start training in the gym, you also become more particular with the food you eat. In fact, it is a requirement that you have a specific diet when doing weight training or aerobic exercises. This means taking healthy foods and beverages, as well as taking bodybuilding supplements that can improve our health in many ways. And since you have to lead a healthy lifestyle to optimize your training, you also have to stay away from unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking. You’ll also develop the habit of getting enough sleep every day.

Indeed, the benefits of bodybuilding are not limited to just being in good shape and looking great and fit. It’s also about building a strong and healthy mind and leading a positive lifestyle.