Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle

How Much Protein Do Professional Bodybuilders Eat?

The amount of protein consumed by professional bodybuilders varies from one person to another. Some consume more than others. There are some people who have no problem gaining weight with just a few pounds of lean mass, while other people require several times more protein than what most people consume daily.

Some bodybuilders need to consume 10 grams of protein per pound of their bodyweight every single day. These individuals are called “protein refusers”. They will not take any supplements or foods that contain less than 10 grams of protein per serving.

There are others who require far more than 10 grams of protein per meal. These individuals are referred to as “non-responders” and they cannot gain weight without consuming 20-30+ grams of protein each day.

In order to determine if you fall into either category, it’s best to simply weigh yourself once a week. If your weight doesn’t change at all, then you’re probably a non-responder. You’ll need to increase your intake of protein in order for your body to start burning fat instead of glycogen (the body’s primary source of energy).

Those who gain weight after several weeks of consuming high-protein foods are considered “protein responders”. They may not necessarily need to consume a lot of food every single day, but they do require a great deal of protein. Gaining muscle is a lot easier when you have more than enough protein in your system.

What Do You Mean By “Protein Foods”?

When we’re discussing high-quality vs. low-quality proteins, we’re talking about their ability to raise and sustain the body’s amino acid levels. Your muscles are made up of amino acids. Because the body cannot produce these acids on its own, they must be ingested through food.

Foods like chicken, turkey, fish and eggs are referred to as complete proteins because they contain all essential amino acids within them. Most foods that are considered “protein foods” have all the essential and non-essential amino acids. Some examples of these are nuts, nut butters, certain grains (especially quinoa), beans, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

Foods like red meat, pork and fish are considered incomplete proteins because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids. This is why bodybuilders eat a combination of different protein foods at every meal. This combination creates a “complete” set of amino acids that can be used to build muscle.

Remember, the key word here is balance. It’s important to consume a wide assortment of different foods every day in order to ensure that you’re getting all of the essential nutrients your body requires. Avoiding certain food groups can be extremely unhealthy and may even lead to long-term health problems.

What Are The Different Types Of Protein Powders?

Whey protein is by far the most popular choice among bodybuilders and athletes. It is considered the standard by which all other proteins are compared. Whey is a byproduct of milk and is what remains after milk has been curdled and all moisture has been removed.

Whey protein is digested quickly and is very low in lactose, which makes it easier to tolerate than milk. There are several different forms of whey, including: whey protein concentrates (WPCs), whey protein isolates (WPI) and whey protein hydrolysates (WPH).

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While whey concentrates are less expensive than isolates or hydrolysates, they also contain less protein. Whey isolates and hydrolysates are more pure forms of whey. Isolates are more pure than hydrolysates.

Casein protein is also derived from milk, but it’s a slower-digesting option compared to whey. It’s an option that can be included if you’re looking to take in protein before bed or any time you know you won’t be able to eat for a while.

Egg protein is created by extracting the amino acids from eggs and processing them into a powder. It’s a quality source of protein that contains all the essential amino acids.

Beef protein is created by processing dehydrated beef muscle and tissue. Like egg protein, it contains all the essential amino acids. Due to its origin, it also contains a lot of other nutrients, such as creatine.

While this sounds like a great idea, the problem with many beef proteins on the market is they can contain hormones, antibiotics and other contaminants.

Soy protein is made from soybeans that have been soaked, dehulled, boiled and processed with acids and caustic alkalis. The final product is a powder that contains varying amounts of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and other nutrients.

Soy is a controversial food. Many people consider it to be among the healthiest foods you can eat, while others consider it a highly processed food that should be avoided due to its phytoestrogen content.

Rice and pea proteins are less common. Rice protein is considered a specialty item and tends to be more expensive than other protein powders. Pea protein is also considered a specialty product, but it’s not as widely available.

What Are The Benefits Of Protein Powder?

The main benefits of protein powders are pretty obvious: they provide a quick, convenient and nutritious way to boost your daily protein intake. Some can even be used as a meal substitute.

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For people who don’t eat enough protein or don’t have time to eat meals with high quality sources of protein, a protein powder can be a convenient way to increase their intake.

What Are The Different Ways To Use Protein Powders?

There are several different ways to use protein powders. The most common way is to mix the powder with water or milk and drink the mixture as a shake. This is the way most people use the powder.

Another popular way to use it is to mix it into food. Some people mix it into pancakes, muffins, cereal or other foods. This is a good way to get kids (or picky eaters) to increase their daily protein intake as they probably won’t even realize the food has extra protein in it.

You can also bake with protein powders. Protein powders often offer more nutrition (and less fat) than traditional flours, so baking with them can be a good way to reduce the calories in a recipe while adding more protein and nutrients.

How Much Should You Take And How Often?

The FDA states that adults should consume about 46 grams of protein per day. However, active individuals may require more protein than this, especially if they are trying to gain muscle or lose fat.

Most people agree that 0.5 to 1 grams of protein per pound of body weight is a good guideline for how much protein you need each day to meet your fitness goals. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, you would need about 102 to 184 grams of protein each day to support your fitness goals.

Most people use protein powders to supplement their diets with extra protein. If you are using a powder for this purpose, it is best to determine how much extra protein you need each day and then divide it out into multiple servings and take one serving per day. For example, let’s say your goal is to increase your protein intake by 50 grams.

You could take one 25 gram serving of protein four times per day, or two 12.5 gram servings twice per day.

How Does Protein Powder Taste?

Protein powders taste very different from one another due to differences in flavors, additives and fillers. Some people find drinking a plain protein shake to be no worse than drinking a glass of milk. Others find the taste unbearable and gag every time they try to choke one down.

The taste is very subjective. It also depends on what you mix the powder with and how you prepare it. For example, many people find that a milk-based protein shake tastes much worse than one mixed with fruit juice or other flavorful additives.

You might even find that the taste grows on you after a few days.

See The Protein Powders Top 10 For 2015!

1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Optimum Nutrition has long been a favorite of serious bodybuilders and athletes. This protein has been available for years and years and is one of the most popular choices among gym goers.

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle - Picture

This whey protein has one of the highest percentages of protein of any powder on the market. It is also very low in carbohydrates and has a good amount of essential amino acids.

The protein is instantized, which means it dissolves quickly in liquids, even cold liquids. It doesn’t have much of a taste so it’s easy to mix it into other foods or drinks. It comes in several different flavors.

It’s available in several sizes, from one pound to five pounds.

PROS: Top quality protein

Low in carbohydrates and fat

Good flavor options

CONS: A little more expensive than other brands

2. BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder

BSN’s Syntha-6 is a blend of whey protein concentrate, casein, and egg albumin. The protein comes from milk, which means that it is easy to digest and absorb. This powder has a good amount of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle - GYM FIT WORKOUT

This whey concentrate protein has a great taste and is available in several delicious flavors including chocolate and vanilla. It also mixes very well and doesn’t leave any chalky taste in your mouth.

This whey protein is available in 2.2, 5, and 11 pound containers. The price varies based on the size of the container.

This protein is very affordable and a great value. It also comes with a shaker cup.

PROS: Good value

Delicious flavors

Mixes well

CONS: Contains extra ingredients not found in other top whey proteins

3. Olimp Sport Whey Protein

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle - gym fit workout

Olimp Sport is the best selling protein on the market and another favorite among athletes and bodybuilders. It has a good amount of BCAAs and other essential amino acids. It is very high quality and mixes well.

This whey concentrate comes in flavors like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, and cookies & cream. Each container contains 24 single serve packs, which makes it easy to travel with. It has a good amount of BCAA and glutamine.

This is an extremely popular product and is available in most health food stores and some supermarkets. A container costs around $30, which works out to be about $1.50 per serving.

You can also buy bulk 5 and 10 pound packages, which lowers the price per serving to less than $1.00.

PROS: Very affordable

Good flavor options

CONS: Contains ingredients not found in top quality whey proteins

4. Dymatize Elite Whey Protein

Dymatize makes several different types of protein powders for all purposes, but their Elite Whey Protein is one of the best. It has a great amino acid profile and is very high in essential amino acids. It also has a good taste and mixes easily.

This whey protein has very few unnecessary additives or ingredients. It comes in several different flavors including chocolate, strawberry, banana, and vanilla. A container costs around $35, which works out to be about $1.30 per serving.

It is also available in 2.2 and 5 pound containers, which lowers the price per serving even more.

PROS: Good price

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle - GymFitWorkout

Good amino acid profile

CONS: Contains ingredients not found in top quality whey proteins

5. Pro JYM Protein Powder

Pro JYM is the most complete protein shake you can buy. It has more than 5,000 mg of branched-chain amino acids, glutamine, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen type II, and other growth factors. It’s a great post workout supplement and should not be used as your only protein shake.

This product is very effective for rebuilding and repairing muscle fibers. The bad news is that it’s very expensive, costing more than $3 per serving. Each container has about 32 servings, so the price works out to be about $1 per serving.

It comes in banana cream, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla flavors.

PROS: Very effective post-workout supplement

May promote muscle growth and recovery

CONS: Very expensive

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle - Image

Contains ingredients not found in other top whey protein powders

Whey Protein Powder Buyer’s Guide

What is Whey Protein?

Whey protein is a popular type of protein powder made from the liquid left over after milk has been curdled and strained. It contains all 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot make itself. These are known as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which include: valine, leucine, and isoleucine. Whey is a good source of calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins B6 and B12. It’s naturally rich in glutamine and glutamine peptides, which promote muscle growth.

How to Take Whey Protein Powder

You can add whey protein powder to just about anything. A few popular ways to take it are by mixing it into fruit and vegetable drinks, milk, or chocolate milk. Another popular way to take whey is by making “protein pancakes” that are very nutritious and delicious.

Whey is generally safe for most people, but it can cause digestive issues for a small percentage of the population. If you are lactose intolerant, you may experience bloating, cramps, and diarrhea when you consume dairy products. Whey protein is made from milk, so if you have issues with lactose, you may want to avoid whey protein supplements.

Athletes who do a lot of weight training may benefit from the muscle-building benefits of whey. It’s more effective when taken immediately after a workout. Some studies suggest that it can also improve endurance, if taken over a long period of time.

Benefits of Whey Compared to Soy and Casein

Most people know that soy is bad for your health. Plus, it doesn’t taste as good in protein shakes as whey and casein. The only benefit of soy is that it’s cheaper than whey and casein.

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Casein is a milk protein that contains a lot of beneficial nutrients. It can help you build muscle and burn fat, but it’s not as effective as whey protein.

Whey vs. Casein

Whey is a fast-acting protein that is absorbed quickly by the body, whereas casein is a slow-acting protein that is absorbed over a long period of time. This prolonged release makes casein a better choice right before bed, but not before a workout.

Common Conditions Associated with Whey Protein

Whey protein is safe for most people, and no serious side effects have been reported. It may, however, cause issues for people who are lactose-intolerant.

Whey Allergy

Some people develop allergies to whey or milk proteins. If you experience itching, hives, swelling, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing after taking whey protein, seek immediate medical attention.

Whey and Weight Loss

Whey does not directly burn fat, but it can help you lose weight. It’s one of the best supplements to take after a workout because it helps your muscles repair and grow. This improves your muscle tone and makes your body look leaner.

Sources & references used in this article:

Anatomy of a Protein Shake: Eating to Build Muscle by J Zacherl –

Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men by JE Tang, DR Moore, GW Kujbida… – Journal of applied …, 2009 –

Calories by PCDSB Fat –

Minimal whey protein with carbohydrate stimulates muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise in trained young men by JE Tang, JJ Manolakos, GW Kujbida… – … physiology, nutrition …, 2007 – NRC Research Press

Bodymakers: A cultural anatomy of women’s body building by L Heywood – 1998 –

Anatomical and chemical composition of Danish Landrace pigs slaughtered at 90 kilograms live weight in relation to litter, sex and feed composition by AJ Nielsen – Journal of Animal Science, 1973 –

Protein supplementation in strength and conditioning adepts: knowledge, dietary behavior and practice in Palermo, Italy by A Bianco, C Mammina, A Paoli… – … of Sports Nutrition, 2011 –