Many people look in the mirror and feel some level of dissatisfaction with their body, or pull on their favorite jeans only to find to their dismay that they don’t fit quite like they used to. With most of us sitting down all day to work, diets and mealtimes becoming more irregular and chemical-laden, and stress levels inverse to the amount of free time available to exercise it’s not a wonder why many of us are losing the battle of the bulge around our waist. Folks flip through magazines or gaze at a screen pondering how to acquire those six-pack abs, or perhaps even settle for twelve-pack abs. The secret among those in the know is that six-packs aren’t made in the gym; they’re made in the kitchen. Shedding excess weight starts with changes to the diet and weight loss shakes are one of the most effective tools to accomplish this.
While many gym rats have a huge plastic bottle of protein powder stashed in a cabinet or taking up space on the kitchen counter, some don’t understand why, when, or how much they need. Of course the obvious reason is to reach your daily intake of protein, but just how much is that? As a general rule, we need one gram per pound of body weight, and if you can get that from whole foods you may not even really need the powder. However, when you’re crunched for time, or don’t manage the intake with real foods, these powdered allies are your savior.
Some powders, like Pro-Jym and Stacked Protein, are engineered to help with rebuilding muscles after vigorous weight lifting. Others, like Slimfast and 310 Shake, are primarily weight loss shakes designed specifically for meal replacement. Choosing the correct powder to suit your needs is the first step. There are a variety of protein sources used including whey, hemp, soy, casein, and other sources such as milk and peas. Furthermore, bottles come adorned with phrases such as ‘grass-fed whey’ or ‘cold-filtered whey’ in hopes of convincing consumers of their ability to be absorbed more quickly into the system. The science regarding the absorption of protein powders is inconclusive, and while there may be advantages of some types over others, how much of a difference they make is up for debate.
As with many things, price isn’t the best criteria with which to judge the efficacy of a protein powder. A useful resource to help determine what works best is the site Informed Choice, which is a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities. Products with their endorsement will feature that endorsement on their label. When you’ve narrowed the brands you think will work best for you, compare the nutritional information to avoid those high in sugars and other carbs.
So, now that you have your huge tub of protein powder, when is the best time to use it? Again, this depends on what your goals are. If you’re hitting the gym hard and looking to sculpt your physique and shed fat, right after working out is an ideal time to drink a protein shake. Your muscles start to heal almost immediately and will appreciate the protein boost to facilitate the rebuilding process. For those who constantly find themselves running behind and can’t seem to eat first thing in the morning, a protein shake is a wonderful substitution for a proper breakfast. Using weight loss shakes is also a brilliant solution to replace a meal during the day and help speed things along for folks whose goal is to slim down and drop pounds. Yet another wonderful use is for those who are making the transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. It’s difficult to figure out how to replace proteins with convenience and ease when you turn away from a meat-based diet. Protein powders helps often such a dramatic change and ensure you get what you need while you find your way along that new path.
Protein powders are versatile and useful for almost anyone and everyone for a variety of reasons. Whether you wish to lose weight, gain muscle, are looking to make a dramatic lifestyle change, or are simply chronically late and need to get some nutrition in during a hectic morning, weight loss shakes have the potential to become a regular and beneficial part of your life.