Will Protein Shakes Actually Help Your Bodybuilding Regimen?

Posted on September 20th, 2013 at 1:05 am by

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Protein shakeBuilding muscle can often feel like a long, uphill battle.  While some lucky souls seem to be able to do a few pull ups and emerge looking like Arnie, for most people, growing muscle can take a long time.  If you are engaged in bodybuilding and you find your progress slower than you’d like, obviously, it is important to stay away from harmful substances like steroids and peptides that aren’t legal or approved for human use. There are a lot of safer products you can buy at the gym or in your local health food shop that can help you see the improvements you would like.

Protein is needed to help you build muscle.  This can be difficult to get in the exact quantity at the right time without taking on board unnecessary calories or fats.  Protein powders and shakes are ubiquitous in supplement shops and at gyms, but do they really help?

What Does Protein Do?

In scientific terms, proteins are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of every cell type in your body – including muscle tissue.  Once protein is ingested, the enzymes in your digestive system break them down to these basic components so that your body can rebuild the amino acid chains for the protein it actually needs.  This effectively means your body is capable of turning bits of that egg, steak, or piece of cheese you just ate into new cells for your fingernails, hair, or crucially, your muscles.  As you work out and fatigue the muscles in your body they suffer damage, and your body uses proteins from your diet to regenerate new cells (with the help of things like hormones). This is how your muscles grow and improve.  Without protein present, there is nothing for new cells to be constructed from, and your muscles will simply remain fatigued for longer.

Are Shakes And Supplements a Good Source of Protein?

While you don’t actually need to buy supplements or shakes, protein is readily available from a wide array of sources.  They can be a convenient way to get the protein you need without having to prepare food.  They also tend to be lower in calories than other sources of protein you might choose like meat or cheese, and far easier to come by at the gym!  For these reasons, many people who are trying to build muscle do find that nutritional supplements are a better way to get protein as part of their bodybuilding regimen.  Supplementing with protein is easy as you can either buy ready made drinks or add protein powders to your own shakes or food, so if you feel your bodybuilding nutrition isn’t up to scratch, it can be well worth trying.

About the Author

This post has been contributed by Hannah Owen, an employee at SRH Health Foods, a health food store based in Burlington, Ontario.  Her hobbies include cooking and baking.  Log on to www.srhhealth.ca/ to learn more about her team.

Image by Sandstein (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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