Protein shakes and supplements have a lot of benefits for bodybuilders; they are quick and easy to use and supply the type of protein necessary for a bodybuilder’s diet. This is why they are so popular and commonly used; particularly amongst those relatively new to the weight-lifting game. While shakes and supplements are for the most part safe and healthy when consumed properly, they do carry some added risks. Because protein shakes are a food supplement they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the same way as pharmaceutical products. This means that manufacturers might not test supplements for toxins or might fail to disclose harmful ingredients in their products. Independent testing labs have previously found heavy metal contamination, including cadmium, lead and arsenic, in many protein shakes. So with this in mind, is it possible to get ripped without the shakes?
What Your Body Needs to Build Muscle
Protein shakes do not provide your body with anything that you cannot get from regular foods; they just give you a shortcut to getting it. By understanding which foods your body needs, and when and how often it needs them, you can tailor-make you own perfect bodybuilding diet. Sure this version requires more time and effort, but hey, you’re a weight-trainer, all you know is time and effort right? To build muscle and lose fat you need a variety of proteins, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, and healthy fats in your diet. There is of course still a key focus on protein. Protein helps you to build and maintain muscle, as well as aiding fat loss, as it has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates and fats. Some great natural sources of protein are whole eggs, red meat, spinach, and mixed nuts. You also shouldn’t neglect the importance of carbs though; they fuel your muscles so that you feel full of energy at the gym. Just stick to slower burning carbs such as whole wheat pasta and brown bread rather than fast burning carbs like white rice and potatoes.
A Sample Diet
All weight-training diets vary based on individual needs and tastes, but to get an idea of what your body needs and what works well in conjunction with weight training, here is a sample diet covering a full day.
Make time to eat a breakfast full of high-quality fat-digesting protein; eggs work especially well. Ingesting protein in the morning blunts the stress hormone cortisol, which is guilty of breaking down muscle and encouraging body fat storage.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY:
Rather than eating three large meals, you should aim to eat six small protein-rich meals per day. Vary the types of protein you consume. Some good sources include fish, chicken, beef, turkey, and other meats.
TWO HOURS BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT:
Eat a small serving of protein (15-20g) to provide your body with the amino acids needed to fuel intense training and begin the process of muscle repair. Fast-digesting proteins such as milk and eggs are a great choice as they arrive in the bloodstream quickly.
AFTER YOUR WORKOUT:
Immediately after your workout you should eat another protein-rich meal. Again, milk and eggs are both a good choice.
Eat a half to a full cup of cottage cheese before going to bed. Cottage cheese contains the slow-digesting protein casein, which takes up to seven hours to break down. This will help you to build muscle while you sleep, and provides a stream of amino acids to your muscles.
The Healthy Shake Alternative
The good news for those who can’t live without the ease and convenience that protein shakes provide them is that there is an alternative product available which is guaranteed to contain no contaminants; natural whey protein. Natural whey protein is derived from organic milk produced only by grass-fed cows; whereas traditional protein supplements are often the product of factory-farmed, hormone-injected cows. Organic food products such as natural whey protein are made to be completely contaminant free, so with these products you can rest assure that your protein shake will contain no heavy metal contamination. By switching to organic foods and supplements you will soon find that you build muscle and lose fat easier, and in a healthier way. Try using natural whey protein as a part of your protein-rich diet plan; but make sure not to neglect other vital components of your weight-training diet, and not to overdo it on the shakes.