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The Ultimate Protein Shake Guide: When to Drink, What to Buy, and Best Recipes

How do you make tasty protein shakes like this?

So you wanna start drinking protein shakes, but don’t know where to begin?

You’re in luck, because I’ve been drinking protein shakes for years and today I’m sharing with you all my secrets( ah…most of them ).

With Part 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Protein, I’ll teach you 😛 TAGEND

Are protein shakes are you all right ? How much protein do I need every day ? What’s the most wonderful protein supplement to buy ? How to use protein powder How to induce protein shakes savor better Should I booze my protein before or after my workout ?

Make sure you likewise check out Part 1:” How Much Protein Do I Need to Eat Every Day ?

With this knowledge and an awesome blender( which we talk about right here ), you can build protein shakes part of your everyday routine.

Let’s get ready to shake things up!

Protein 101: Are Protein Shakes Good For You?

Can protein shakes help this LEGO with his fitness goals?

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps our torso rebuild muscle and is an important part of daily nutrition (” duh, Steve ,” “youre telling” ).

You can get protein from any number of real food informants, and you should prioritize real food in your diet( also,” duh Steve “).

Here are some examples of protein-rich food 😛 TAGEND

Chicken, duck, other fowl Fish Meat Legumes( beans) Eggs Quinoa Nuts Milk

However, there are PLENTY of instances where you might want to likewise supplement your meat with a protein shake or protein gunpowder( here we go ):

You struggle to consume the recommendations of the amount of protein every day( I cover-up this below !). You are a skinny person that needs to bulk up and need more calories in your daily intake! You are trying to lose weight and want to replace one unhealthy meal with a meal-replacement protein shake. You crave the accessibility of a protein shake in place of preparing yet another meal.

In these instances, protein supplements or protein shakes can be awesome!

But don’t just take my word for it. A systematic review of studies uncovered: [ 1 ]

“Protein supplementation may enhance muscle mass and performance when the training stimulus is adequate.”

Another study showed that among endurance players: [ 2 ]

” The addition of protein may help to offset muscle damage and promote recovery.”

What this entails in regular people terms: If you are strength training correctly and eating the right way, devouring enough protein will help you build muscle and perform better!

Look at me all big and strong!

” Enough protein” given this context can include protein supplements and protein powders.

Just remember that protein shakes are not a cure-all for all of your ailments:

They are NOT required for being healthy. But they MIGHT help you lose weight They should only SUPPLEMENT( zing !) a healthy diet , not expects to do all the “heavy lifting.”

You still remains to 😛 TAGEND

Eat well . Follow a strength training procedure . Getting enough sleep .

Want to reach your fitness goals? Make sure you sleep well like Homer (and perhaps drink a protein shake).

If you’re not sure HOW to strength develop, don’t worry- I got you encompassed. You can download our Strength Training 101 guidebook when you join the Rebellion( it’s free) and sign up in the box below 😛 TAGEND Download our comprehensive guidebook STRENGTH TRAINING 101!

Everything you need to know about getting strong.

Workout procedures for bodyweight AND load training.

How to find the right gym and develop properly in one. How Much Protein Do I Need Every Day?

How much protein does it take to help this LEGO lift a bike?

This section is taken from our guidebook” How Much Protein Do I Need to Eat Every Day ?

Despite what ads for protein supplements will tell you, you do not need to be feeing 500 grams of protein every day.

They like to tell you this so that you use their supplement faster and need to buy more.

Here’s the real deal: claims for the amount of protein needed vary wildly from source to source( and athlete to athlete, and nerd to nerd ). You are a unique snowflake and your protein objectives should be aligned with your goals.

You want specific numbers, right?

A gif of someone saying

Don’t worry, I got you.

Although the current international Recommended Dietary Allowance( RDA) for protein is 0.4 g per pound of bodyweight( 0.8 g per kg of torso weight ), [ 3 ] this study[ 4 ] shows that this number is too low and should be higher regardless of your figure composition.

You just want me to tell you how much to eat, right? I figured.

Well you’re in luck, because we have a protein calculator you can play with!


The Nerd Fitness Protein Calculator








A healthy load

Overweight/ Obese







Maintain my form composition

Lose some fat

Gain muscle






On the Metric System? Click here.

Let’s explain some of this a little.

As Examine.com points out in their heavily researched summary on protein: [ 5 ]

If you’re overweight or obese, aims to achieve 1.2 -1.5 g/ kg( 0.54 -0.68 g/ lb ). You do not need to try to figure out your principle torso load or your lean mass( a.k.a. fat-free mass ). Most studies on people with obesity report their findings based on total body weight. If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to lose fat, aims to achieve 1.8 -2.7 g/ kg( 0.82 -1.23 g/ lb ), skewing toward the higher end of this scope as you become leaner or if you increase your caloric deficiency( by eating less or practising more ). If you’re of healthy weight, active, and wish to build muscle, aims to achieve 1.4 -2.4 g/ kg( 0.64 -1.09 g/ lb ). If you’re an experienced lifter on a bulk, intakes up to 3.3 g/ kg( 1.50 g/ lb) may help you decrease fat gain.

These are starter numbers that you can start to experiment around as you see your body transforms. As Examine points out in its research on protein, [ 6 ] “higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, ” so aim for the higher end of the range depending on your goals and adjust from there.

Long story short: Consuming protein is an important part of life for everybody, both the sedentary and the athlete:

By consuming enough protein while bulking up, you can ensure muscle growth during a bulk with minimal fat gain. By expending enough protein while eating a caloric deficiency and strength train, you can maintain the muscle mass you have while losing body fat( you might even be able to build muscle while losing fat simultaneously ).

I personally ate a significant amount of protein( 240 g of protein at a bodyweight of 190 pounds) during a recent “lean out” phase, and it allowed me to cut body fat while get stronger and without feeling hungry.

In summary, a major portion of your sheet each day should be a source of protein.

Can't eat enough steak like Leo here? A protein shake can help a lot.

If you are struggling to ten-strike your target protein aim for the day through real meat sources, then consider adding a protein supplement.

You still need to have the right structures, the privilege nutritional strategy, and the privilege workout in place, and THEN a protein shake might help you reach your goals a bit faster.

To help busy people looks just like you not waste their time in the gym, and assists them actually get results, we created our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

Your NF Coach will build you a custom-made workout program and supply nutritional steering for your specific situation.

Find out if we’re a good fit for each other by clicking on the image below 😛 TAGEND

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner

What’s the Best Protein Supplement to Buy?

Protein powder can be a great way to up your protein intake.When it comes to buying a protein powder or picking a protein shake, you’re going to encounter a few options:

1) Whey protein is the most popular, readily accessible, and cheapest protein supplementation out there. Whey contains all the essential amino acids, and is one of the byproducts of milk that has been curdled and strained. It comes in both “concentrate” and “isolate” shapes. Whey is more quickly assimilated by the body compared to its counterpart casein( next ), which constructs it a great solution for right before/ after a strength training workout.[ 7 ]

2) Casein protein is the other byproduct of milk and also contains all essential amino acids. Because it’s more gradually absorbed by the body than whey, many people expend casein before bed presuming it’ll result in improved muscle rise during sleep! Nonetheless this study [8 ] has indicated that total consumption of protein during a day is more important than protein timing!

3) Egg protein powders are made from, you guessed it, the protein in eggs- which means they may be a great alternative if you can’t use whey or casein for whatever reason.

Quick recap: whey and casein proteins both come from milk, and both can help rebuild muscle. Whey is more readily absorbed by your form and is usually less expensive than casein, which stimulates it our preferred kind of protein for cost and ease of consumption.

Personally, I opt wheyy. I find casein protein less palatable, and it doesn’t mix as well.

A blender can help you obtain more calories for weight gain.

Also, don’t worry about timing whey for post-workout and casein for sleep. In my view, you’re just overcomplicating things.

Pick the one you enjoy and focus on getting enough protein in a period- that will get you 99.% of the space there to building muscle in the right places!

IF YOU ARE PLANT BASED: these are our recommendations for plant protein powders( from our guide to eating a Plant-Based Diet ):

Pea protein. A solid select for vegan protein gunpowder comes from peas, specifically the high protein amber divide pea. A quarter bowl( 28 grams) will get you about 21 grams of protein, and run you about 100 calories. There’s some proof it might be comparable to whey in building muscle.[ 9 ] NAKED Nutrition offers a great 100% pea protein gunpowder you can check out. Rice protein. A one-quarter cup of rice protein will contain 22 grams of protein and extend 107 calories. Not too shabby. Plus, when you blend it with pea protein, you’ll end up with a complete amino battery-acid profile needed for human growth.[ 10 ] A good brand to look into would be Growing Naturals. Hemp protein. While it doesn’t have as much protein as pea or rice( one cup will have 12 grams of protein and 108 calories ), what it absences in this department it stimulates up for in its nutrient profile. Hemp protein is arising from the seeds of the cannabis plant, but it’s spawned in such a way that it won’t have any THC. What it will provide you with though is a decent source of iron, zinc, and omega-3s, which are all things vegans tend to be deficient in. Nutivia sells a good hemp protein if you are interested.

What about Soy Protein? Soy is a complicated beast, though in our opinion the frights around soy are overblown.

As Examine points out in its review of soy protein supplementation: [ 11 ]

“Whey protein was absorbed more quickly than soy protein, and induced muscle protein synthesis by roughly two times the amount that soy supplementation did. However , no variations in overall body composition was observed between the groups.”

In other words, you do you, boo. If you ingest soy and are struggling to hit your protein aims, consuming a soy supplement offers an opportunity to. If you are unsure on soy, consider get your protein supplementation from any of the other sources above!

Now, regardless of what protein you pick what you need to know about protein shakes based on the collective wise of the 15 full-time coach-and-fours on Team Nerd Fitness 😛 TAGEND

When buying protein gunpowders, buy a product with minimal other’ stuff.’ Aim for one that starts with “whey protein concentrate” or “whey protein isolate” on the ingredients label, followed by a small number of parts- one of which will probably be “artificial or natural flavorings.” Pick a flavor that you like! Protein gunpowders generally come in multiple a few flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, etc. I’m as grassland as they come, so vanilla protein is my jam. Induce sure to look at the ingredients and find one from a reputable brand. Ever do your research even if it is one of the most popular brands( such as Muscle Milk ). Some of these have had metals such as arsenic found in them.[ 12 ] Many popular protein gunpowders are just not great in terms of meeting their promises. Check out this lab rating’s review of “high quality” protein powders that convene this Reddit protein powder measurement makes thread. There’s lot of fraudulent material out there, so make sure you keep your Sherlock Holmes hat on when shopping!

Steve’s Protein Brand Recommendations

Over the past 15 years of training, I’ve tried dozens of protein gunpowders, and I keep coming back to 2 brands that fit my mode and budgetary questions 😛 TAGEND

Jay Robb’s Grassfed Whey Protein: my current favorite and utterly delicious( I entered into with Vanilla )… but VERY expensive. This comes from grass-fed cows, and thus is much more difficult to come by. I find it to be the best mingling protein gunpowder I’ve ever tried, and also the best tasting. Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein: The whey I used for years( my former favorite ). Optimum Nutrition is well known in the fitness space, and I applied their product for close to a decade without issue. If you are on a tighter budget and can’t afford grassfed whey protein, go with Optimum Nutrition.

How to use Protein Powder( How Do You Make Protein Shakes Taste Better ?)

How do you make a protein shake taste good? Fruit will help.

The back of every protein gunpowder jug will tell you “mixes great with 8 oz of ocean! ”

For some protein gunpowders, this is true.

For others, it’ll taste like you’re choking down recently mingled concrete.

Note: do not consume readily mixed concrete. You’re welcome.

So Step# 1 with your freshly bought protein powder is to mix it with sea and be seen to what extent it tastes.

By mixing simply the protein and ocean, you’re adding minimal calories to your daily intake while also increasing your protein intake for the day.


Keanu is stoked he now has his own bodyweight workout routine!

NOW, depending on your caloric purposes or if you’re looking to make a meal replacement shake, you can start to experiment and build your own protein shakes by doing the following 😛 TAGEND

Add fruit: bananas, strawberries, blueberries- look for the frozen berry medleys in your convenience store. Add a serving of veggies: blend in frozen spinach – you can’t even savor it! Try a different liquid: almond milk, reduced-calorie orange juice, skim milk or whole milk. Healthy calories: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter. Seeds like chia seeds or sunflower seeds.

Just pretend like you’re a scientist and you’re creating a different concoction each time. Write down your ingredients and sums until you find the perfect combination( heyo) of macros and savour that are appropriate your goal!

HUGE CAVEAT: your figure still obeys the legislation of thermodynamics. Only because you call it a “healthy smoothie” doesn’t mean the 1,000 calories in it don’t count!

If you can’t lose weight, you’re eating too many calories, which means you should be aware of how many calories are going into your quickly-consumed protein shake.

Now, if your goal is bulking up or building muscle– then establishing your own high-calorie protein shake is a great way to get extra calories into your period.

I am currently bulking up, so here is my patented post-workout shake that I consume daily( okay it’s not really patented ).


Ice cold water: 16 oz Quaker Oats: 3 serves( 120 g) Whey Protein: 2 provides( 62 g) Frozen Spinach: 1.5 provides( 120 g) Frozen Berries:. 8 servings( 120 g)

Here are the macronutrient and caloric dislocation of that shake: 795 calories, 68 g of protein, 106 g of carbs, 13 g of fat 😛 TAGEND

This picture shows the calorie and macronutrient breakdown of Steve's Powerbomb Protein Shake


For over a decade, I simply put-upon a cheap blender like this on Amazon!

Depending on your budget, you can also go to your neighbourhood Walmart, Target, Kroger, Publix, Sam’s Club, Stop& Shop, etc ., and buy a blender for 20 bucks.

I will say that as I’ve gotten older and had more disposable income I have become a Vitamix fanboy. They are expensive, but you get what you pay for.

I’ve probably burned the engines out of 10+ inexpensive blenders, and since switching to a Vitamix it’s been mashing my powerbomb shake ingredients twice a period in seconds.

If you have the money, it’s worth the investment.

Your other option is to buy a inexpensive shaker bottle( here’s the kind I use ). Personally, I’ve found that these things don’t mix nearly as well as a blender, but if you’re traveling with no blender alternative available, a shaker bottle can be really helpful.

Note: if you are using a shaker bottle, pour the sea in first, THEN add the protein shake!

Here’s my “stay health while journey” strategy for protein 😛 TAGEND

Measure out 2 provides of protein powder and set them in a sealed plastic suitcase. Put your sealed plastic container in an empty shaker bottle. When ready to consume, withdraw existing plastic pouch of protein, then add liquid to the bottle. THEN, add protein.

If you threw the protein in first, I can guarantee no quantity of shaking will get all of that protein mingled into the liquid!

Should I Drink My Protein Shake before or after my workout?

Do you need devices like this to properly time your protein shake?

Conventional wisdom tells us that we need to be consuming our protein shake IMMEDIATELY after our workout for peak gains.

It likewise tells us that we need to be consuming protein every few hours for maximum protein synthesis by our muscles too.

But what does the social sciences actually say?

According to this abstract: [ 13 ]

“In general, protein supplementation pre-AND post-workout increases physical performance, train session convalescence, lean torso mass, muscle hypertrophy, and strength. Specific gains, differ however based on protein type and amounts.”

And in this extract: [ 14 ]

“These ensues refute the commonly held belief that the timing of protein intake in and around a training session is critical to muscular modifications and indicate that consuming adequate protein in combination with resistance exert is the key factor for maximizing muscle protein accretion.”

WHAT THIS Necessitates: The sum of protein you ingest in a day is more important than the timing of your protein when it comes to muscle building. Consuming a protein shake before OR after a workout will result in increased physical performance and muscle hypertrophy- supplied you’re training the right way!

If you need to train and then head to work and you can’t eat your protein until later in the working day, do what works best for you!

Some people might dislike training on an empty stomach, so consuming the protein shake before the workout is beneficial.

I personally train in a fasted government( which we cover in our Guide on Intermittent Fasting ), so I don’t consume my protein shake until after my workout.

So, stop worrying about protein timing and instead put your focus on training, total calories, and getting enough protein in the working day itself.

Not sure if you’re training privilege?

Consider working with a Nerd Fitness coach who can constructed you a train program and guided by you on your nutrition!

A Nerd Fitness Coach can assist you in decide if you even need to supplement with protein!

Get Started Drinking Protein Shakes

You now know how to make a protein shake like this!

Let’s recap some of the key points of drinking protein shakes for you 😛 TAGEND

Protein supplements can SUPPLEMENT a healthy diet, but should not replace it. My recommendation is to buy a tub of Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein online if you’re on a tighter budget, in whatever flavor you like. If “youve had” more money, consider the Jay Robb’s Grassfed Whey Protein( my favorite ). Consider mixing in a protein shake before or after your workout. Timing isn’t as important as total protein devoured during the course of a day when it comes to building muscle and recuperation. Remember of a shake as a direction to get good protein when you can’t afford/ don’t have time to make a good meal. A inexpensive blender will suffice if you don’t have other options, but “if youre having” more of a budget I would recommend getting a Vitamix– you’ll have it for the next 30 times.

Hopefully, this should get you started! Feel free to try out different flavors and combinations of parts in your smoothies to stimulate them something you actually look forward to!

Do you have any favorite protein shake recipes?

Any more questions about protein gunpowders and supplements?

Share them with us in specific comments!


PS: Check out the rest of our protein series 😛 TAGEND

The Nerd Fitness Protein Calculator How Much Protein Should I Eat ?

PPS: Still overwhelmed? Still not sure you’re training right or eating correctly? Wished to know which supplements are worth it and which ones are a waste of fund?

I hear ya.

These questions and people like you are why we launched our 1-on-1 Coaching Program : to help busy people cut through the interference and simply start build muscle, getting leaner, and feeling better.

Click below to schedule a call to learn more 😛 TAGEND

Nerd Fitness Coaching Banner


All photo sources are right here[ 15 ]

Footnotes( returns to text)

You can find the study here You can find this study here Pubmed: Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Generator and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults Pubmed: Evidence that protein requirements have been significantly underestimated. A comprehensive look at protein here Examine: is too much protein bad for you? Check out this review from the Austin Journal of Nutrition and Review Pubmed study on timing of casein consumption Check out that study on whey vs pea protein right here. Check out this article for an interesting look at rice and pea protein combined. Soy study on Examine.com Check out this report from Consumer Reports. Pubmed extract: Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in people engaged in weight-training. Pubmed extract: The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. protein shake, A good Sunday to you, Bicylelifter, Protein Powder Mix, bananas , hourglass, cocktail

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