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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I drink protein shakes if I am working out regularly?

    In order to add more muscle and increase my energy levels, should I be drinking protein shakes? Before or after I workout? What kind of shakes are recommended?
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  • 1

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    Nicholas Karam

    Exercise Physiologist

    Specialist treatment for injury rehabilitation, management of diabetes, weight management, corporate health View Profile

    It is a balance - this depends on both your level of training and currrent protein intake.

    If you are completing the correct type of resistance activity on a regular basis and have a ‘normal’ level of protein intake you may benefit from using a protein shake.

    It is important to remember that these are meant to supplement your nutritional intake.

    It is unlikely that all the ‘extras’ that are put into most shakes will technically increase your energy levels. If you are training on a regular enough basis this will occur naturally.

    A standard portion is best taken one hour prior to a workout as this will take effect at just the right time (after the majority of muscle breakdown has occured post activity). Some people like to ‘top up’ with a smaller dose immediately post activity.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    In order to gain muscle it's important that you are getting in enough energy to support muscle growth. Your body uses energy to keep your metabolism burning, for repair, in digestion etc…..what ever is left over after this can be used for muscle growth.

    First of all you need to make sure that your diet is adequate otherwise you will be wasting your money on expensive protein shakes without getting the benefit. Most of us get enough protein from the foods we eat everyday without needing supplementation (whole-grains, dairy, nuts and seeds and lean meats).

    Some quick tips are to make sure you eat regularly, keep your meals consistent (to make sure you're getting enough energy in to support muscle growth), include a pre- and post-workout snack containing both carbohydrates and protein, include high quality protein sources (i.e. lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, cheese, and soy products).

    In terms of supplementation, best time to take a protein powder (whey based) would be within 30mins post exercise. Look for a protein powder that provides around 20g of protein and some carbohydrates (stay away from the low carb powders). This will give you enough for repair and carbohydrates (muscle fuel) for recovery.

    I hope this helps answer your question. Alternatively you may wish to consult an Accredited Practising Dieitian (APD) who can help formulate a specific plan for you. You can find one near you by logging onto www.daa.asn.au

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