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.

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The Benefits of Creatine Supplementation

Creatine supplements have been around for years and used by many athletes and bodybuilders for building up muscles. It is one of the numerous supplements that have undergone scientific research in order to produce better quality and to meet the requirements of the industry. Over the years, creatine supplements have provided increased energy for bodybuilders to utilize so they can lift heavier weights at the longest possible time.

Formulation Varieties

It is a fact that not every single bodybuilder has the same experience or result when taking this supplement. These days, there are various formulations to choose from such as creatine ethyl ester or CE2 or CEE which was developed to improve the standard effects of the monohydrate formula. This formulation is quite popular because it has been backed by science to improve strength, muscle mass, and stamina. Although it has been proven safe over the years, it also has some negative effects such as bloating, dehydration, diarrhea, and cramps.

Side Effects of Intake

The inability of the monohydrate formula to absorb efficiently is one of the probable causes of the aforementioned side-effects. It is partially soluble in fat which results to minimal cellular absorption when ingested. The rest of the unabsorbed formula takes up space and water as it sits outside of the cells. This is often thought of as the main reason for causing bloat and water retention which causes weight gain.

Absorption Rates

The introduction of an ester to the monohydrate formula has created a more absorbable creatine which, theoretically, results in less bloating and water retention. However, as a caution, it is essential to drink sufficient amounts of water to prevent dehydration. Lower doses of creatine ethyl ester also allows for better and efficient absorption, but has similar effects as the monohydrate formula.

Best Intake

This formulation is more beneficial for those who are taking it as a pre-workout supplement as the absorption of creatine is enhanced by the ethyl ester. For bodybuilders who load up and cycle this supplement, the ethyl ester may not be as beneficial. However, this formulation is believed to be more stable with the stomach acids as it prevents the conversion of creatine into creatinine.

Photo Credit: Avery Watts (flickr.com)

Integration with Workout Programs

As a general guideline for anyone who will take any type of supplement, it is still vital to include proper exercise and diet to ensure better results. You can also learn more about Dfine 8 here if you want detailed information. By working closely with a trainer and nutritionist, you can attain a better physique without compromising your health in the process.

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When to Take Protein Shakes

There’s no questioning the importance of drinking protein shake for those who are into intense workouts. Truth is, the question for many is when to drink it: before or after working out?

Breaking down the facts about protein

Before we can answer the question above on what the right time to drink protein is, let’s lay down the facts first about protein powders and their benefits.

First off, protein is used for the production of muscles. It’s also used to manufacture enzymes, hormones, cellular messengers, nucleic acids, and components for the immune system. When our bodies don’t have sufficient protein, putting together structures that make up every cell, tissue, or organ won’t be possible. Our bodies also cannot produce the biochemical substances that are necessary for important things like cardiovascular function, growth, muscle contraction, as well as healing.

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Image credit: John Lee (flickr.com)

Before or after workout?

This has been a longstanding issue among those who perform intense routines in the gym, especially those who are into bodybuilding. There are those who believe that it’s better to drink protein shakes before getting into strenuous exercises, while there are those who advocate drinking them when they’re done with their workout.

Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong in this debate. Drinking protein before or after working out is both fine. But if you really want to get the full benefits of the protein shake you’re taking, it’s better to gulp it down prior to sweating it out in the gym.  This is because pre-workout protein, specifically BCAAs or branched chain amino acids, will help fuel your muscles while you’re performing your routines. BCAAs don’t need to be processed by our liver. After they’re absorbed, they go directly to our blood stream, which are then picked up by our muscles.

Another advantage of taking protein before working out is the fact that it starts protein synthesis during the session instead of after it. Furthermore, you also burn more calories if you consume it before getting started with your training. There’s a study that found that a scoop of whey protein prior to training increased calorie-burning over the next 24 hours.

There’s also the ‘carryover’ effect of pre-workout protein-drinking as far as nutrients are concerned. Once you’ve taken protein, muscle protein synthesis levels remain high for as long as 3 hours. Now that’s a twin benefit right there: enjoying the benefits of elevated blood amino acids and carryover of elevated blood amino acid levels even after you’re done pumping iron.

Whether you take it before or after your gym sessions, there’s no doubt you’ll reap tons of benefits by taking protein as supplement (know about protein powder and the benefits of doing pre-workouts).

What are Protein Shakes Good For?

muscleWhen trying to lose weight, you start with the basics. You observe a proper and healthy diet. You exercise. From there you can go two ways. If you just want to lose weight, then you may want to focus more on the dieting part. If you want to achieve a certain physique, then you may want to focus on the exercising part. With exercise, you can just achieve a desired shape, or you can build muscles.

Results in building muscles don’t come as fast as just losing weight, however. For the most efficient results, you’re going to need to add a few things to your workout, such as dietary supplements.

There are two types of supplements. There are those that make you lose your appetite while supplying you with nutrients you’re missing from eating less. There are also those that contribute to weight gain, such as protein shakes, which are used more for bodybuilding.

Before, protein shakes were used only by athletes and were most effective when paired with an athlete’s workout regimen. Today, protein shakes are no longer exclusive to athletes, and people started throwing in various other ingredients so as act more like meal replacers.

Protein shakes are supplemental drinks that help in building mass. These drinks contain high amounts of protein, as well as other ingredients, that help build muscle. Since protein builds muscle, the drink has become synonymous with bodybuilding. They provide the necessary protein that you otherwise get from meat minus the fat. Protein shakes are typically consumed after working out.

There are different types of protein shakes. Most of them are flavorless and are best mixed with milk. You can also create your own shake. There are a lot of recipes for homemade protein shakes that you can find online. Most of them involve the usual protein powder and adding flavorings, fruits, and whatnot. Make sure to have done your research before buying any workout supplement.

While some shakes act as meal replacements, intake of such drinks are not advisable if you don’t exercise at all. Without exercise, protein shakes will only make you gain weight and have a body type totally opposite of what you aimed for with the supplemental drinks.

Protein powders are not usually cheap, but if you spend time doing your research, you may just bump into a good choice. There are various online stores you can purchase them.You can buy protein shakes at NutritionWarehouse.