Protein Shakes: Friend or Fad?

Over the past year, I’ve upped my workouts and attempted to sort out my diet. I’ve heard here, there and everywhere that I should be eating more protein and I’ve spotted plenty of people in the gym drinking protein shakes (not just beefy men!), but in the past I’ve been nervous to try them myself. Will they bulk me up? Will I be consuming too much protein if I drink them? When is the best time to have one?
I’ve decided to bite the bullet and trial protein drink UFit in the upcoming weeks to see what good they can do to my body. I’ll drink them after each workout or as a replacement snack and keep you up-to-date on how I’m getting on, from my appetite, to my post-workout recovery. But before I pack myself full of protein, I sought the advice of Heather from Protein Chef to find out the answers to all my burning questions. 
Have a little read and make up your own mind…

Hi Heather! What are the health benefits of upping your protein intake? 

Protein is an essential nutrient that many people don’t get enough of. It is a component to every cell in our bodies and is particularly important for healthy skin, hair, nails and muscle tissue. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, our bodies are unable to ‘store’ protein so we need to provide it with a steady supply through our diet. 

How can drinking protein drinks improve your workout? 

Whilst using protein drinks is not an essential part of improving your workout, it is the most convenient. When we exercise our muscles are torn and require protein to repair and recover. Unless you’ve got a handy chicken breast in your gym bag, having a protein drink to hand is much more convenient. 

How often should you drink them? Only on the days you're working out? 

As I mentioned previously, we need to provide our bodies with a steady supply of protein at all times. So drinking protein shakes or eating protein based meals is vital at all times, especially on days when you don’t work out, as this is when your body is trying to rest and repair itself. 

Should you drink them before or after a workout? 

I would always recommend consuming a protein drink or eating a protein based meal after your workout, but depending on what time of day you train, you may also want to eat/drink a protein drink an hour or so before hand. 

What's the recommended intake of protein per day? 

There is no ‘one size fits all’ as we are all very different shapes and sizes, with different activity levels. But personally I try to get at least 1.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day. 

How much is too much?

Again, the jury is still out on this one. But I would say any more than 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day is unnecessary. 

Who would you recommend the drinks to? 

Everyone! We ALL need protein! 

Protein drinks can be high in sugar - wouldn't it be healthier to eat natural protein instead?  

Yes, some protein drinks can be high in sugar. But these tend to be ‘weight’ or ‘mass’ gainer shakes. UFit drinks contain no added sugar what so ever.

Some women may worry about 'bulking up' if they drink them. Is this a myth? 

Yes, probably the biggest one out there! Even if you are weight training intensely and consuming vast amounts of protein, you still won’t bulk up. Women do not have the levels of testosterone required to build as much muscle as men so it’s quite simply impossible. 

Check out Heather’s protein-packed recipes at Protein Chef

To join me on my protein mission, head to UFit.co.uk 

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