For many (strength) athletes, a protein shake is simply part of their workout routine. It is best to fill the prepared shaker with water directly in the changing room and drink it on the way home (or to work after the morning training ). “It’s not as tasty as a protein shake with milk, but it works much faster.” Every exerciser has certainly heard statements like these.
Due to the fast and increased protein intake, muscles should grow faster in the bulk phase or should be retained as much as possible in a reduction diet. At first glance, that seems to make perfect sense. After all, everyone who does sports has an increased need for proteins and muscles are made up of precisely these components. This is why protein powder is one of the few really useful supplements for fitness athletes.
But is it really necessary to consume protein shakes regularly in order to get enough protein?
Does the protein shake directly bring such an immense benefit after training if you want to build muscle mass ?
And very important: which protein shake is the right for you ?
To answer questions like these and to clear up some errors, I wrote this article. Some of the answers may surprise you.
In this article I want to explain to you
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You will see that you can integrate a protein shake every now and then very well into your training and nutrition plan. In fact, consuming protein shakes may even make sense if you do little or no exercise. I certainly do not advise that, but people who do not do sport also suffer from protein deficiency or want to lose weight without exercise . But I’ll come back to that later.
Why should you drink a protein shake?
In all honesty: A protein shake like this (after training) is not absolutely necessary. Protein powder belongs to the diet supplements and should only ever represent a supplement to your diet where it offers you personal advantages.
Sufficient protein intake can also be achieved through a regular diet. You just have to pay more attention to what you eat. Such a shake can make sense in various situations because it simply makes it easier for you to benefit from the advantages of a sufficiently high protein intake.
Why a protein shake makes sense to build muscle
If you want to build muscle , studies have shown that a daily protein intake of 1.3-1.8 grams per kilo of body weight, evenly distributed over the day, is a sensible one for normal strength athletes Represents a guideline. A little more is not harmful. In addition, the right muscle building diet with a moderate excess of calories and setting a sufficiently large growth stimulus through muscle building training ( hypertrophy training ) are of course also necessary.
Such a protein shake is definitely a practical source of protein with which you can ensure a quick protein supply after training or in between. With a portion (50g) of my favorite protein shake after the workout, I covered almost 30% of my daily requirement in the build-up phase. You can get my favorite protein for it, the WPC80 from Supplement Union either from Amazon * or (even cheaper) directly from the manufacturer * Fitvolution5 even get another 5% extra discount.
How protein shakes can help you lose weight
In a reduction diet, experts even recommend a significantly higher protein intake of 2.5-3 grams per kilo of body weight in order to define the muscles and to preserve as large a proportion of the muscles as possible in the weight loss phase. Many natural protein-containing foods contain a lot of carbohydrates and / or fats in addition to protein. This makes it difficult to get enough protein while maintaining the planned calorie deficit.
One or the other protein shake can be a very good support for your diet. After all, most protein powders have a very good ratio between protein and the other energy sources. However, you should definitely pay attention to the nutritional values of your protein powder in your diet.
Especially when I’m on a diet, I regularly use protein shakes to cover my protein needs as easily as possible. A positive side effect is that such a protein shake is also a good, low-calorie and protein-rich filler for in between meals. This is especially true for casein shakes. My recommendation is the CAS 90 Micellar Casein from Supplement Union. You can get this either from Amazon * or directly from the manufacturer * with 5% extra discount through my code Fitvolution5 .
With skimmed milk it tastes almost like a delicious milkshake and satisfies so many cravings for sweets .
When should you have a protein shake?
I have come across the question of the right time for the protein shake a lot. The timing of protein intake is in most cases not as important as some in the fitness industry would have you believe. The targeted timing of nutrients is pretty overrated.
Yes, a regular intake of proteins makes sense to keep protein synthesis going throughout the day. However, you don’t have to worry if you haven’t eaten any protein-rich food (or a protein shake) for a few hours. Your body can easily compensate for half a day.
The protein shake after training
When it comes to the perfect time for the shake, there is actually a lot to be said for after training. You have a fast, delicious and high-quality protein source that you can prepare without much effort (water in, shake, done). In addition, such a protein shake satisfies the first hunger for a short time, which often arises quickly after training and can lead you to bad decisions about your diet (in the case of these are either gummy bears or chocolate).
The protein shake before training
If you haven’t eaten anything for a long time before training and don’t want to train on an empty stomach, a pre-workout protein shake can also make sense. Before training, you add some high-quality nutrients to your body and do something about your feeling of hunger that prevents you from performing at your best during your training.
However, I would allow about 30 minutes to pass between the shake and the start of training so that it doesn’t hit you on the stomach. This is especially true if you want to do intensive strength training with difficult basic exercises .
A protein shake as a snack between meals
As mentioned before, such a protein shake is also very suitable as a healthy snack and candy substitute with a lot of protein and little fat and carbohydrates. Such a small shake is often a good option, especially for stress eaters . Of course, you have to make sure that you keep your calorie intake within reasonable limits if you have protein shakes between meals.
There is probably no better remedy for the small hunger in the diet than a Micellar Casein shake. This is filling for a long time (for me about three hours), tastes delicious, has a lot of protein and at the same time very few calories. For these reasons, I regularly drink such a shake in the office.
The protein shake before going to bed
Have you ever heard of the catabolic devil? This term is often used by bodybuilders when they talk about losing muscle mass due to inadequate nutrition. What sounds like a horror tale and is grossly exaggerated for “normal people” is not completely unfounded.
For optimal muscle regeneration, the best possible gains or maximum muscle maintenance, it makes perfect sense to ensure the protein supply through regular protein intake, even during the night. However, enough protein for dinner should be sufficient.
To be on the safe side, you can of course drink a protein shake before going to bed. You can just as easily eat a large portion of lean quark or some Harz cheese to ensure your body’s protein supply over the night.
How often should you drink a protein shake?
There is no hard and fast rule about how many protein shakes to consume per day. As long as you don’t overdo it with the shakes so much that you eat (almost) nothing else and become hungry for rabbits (= protein poisoning), you don’t have to worry. In fact, the likelihood that you will manage to consume too much protein is very slim, even if you consume a lot of protein shakes.
Just always make sure you have a balanced diet with enough fruit and vegetables and don’t forget that such protein shakes are always supplements and not food substitutes should. However, absolutely nothing speaks against a shake after training and one as a snack.
Of course, you always have to include every shake in your calorie balance and make sure that you don’t exceed your daily requirement with too many protein shakes.
Which protein shake is right for you?
Now that you’ve read so much about why and when a protein shake can be useful for you, you probably want to know which shake is right for you. In this section I want to help you find the right protein powder for you.
Which protein shake is right for you depends on various factors. In the following, I will therefore introduce you to some types of protein shakes with their special features and benefits, so that you can choose the best shake or shakes for you.
1) Whey concentrate shake – fast, inexpensive protein
The most common among athletes is whey or whey protein. Whey protein is a high-quality protein with a high biological value, can be quickly absorbed by the body and, if you are not lactose intolerant, is usually very digestible.
In the form of whey concentrate, the protein powder is also relatively cheap to get. For just under 15 € per kilo you can get a good whey protein concentrate with almost 80g protein per 100g. In return, however, it also brings a few more carbohydrates and fats.
So if you are looking for a high-quality and nevertheless cheap, quickly usable protein shake for after training or in between, which should not fill you up too much and have no problems with milk and / or lactose, you can go for a whey concentrate with a clear conscience grab.
My recommendation is WPC 80 from Supplement Union, which I mentioned earlier. It is made entirely in Germany and you can get it either from Amazon * or (extra cheap) directly from the manufacturer *. There you, as my reader, get the code Fitvolution5 Another 5% extra discount. You won’t get such a high-quality protein powder anywhere else at a comparable price!
2) Whey Isolate Shake – high quality, fast and easy
The whey isolate is the better and higher quality variant of the whey protein. In contrast to whey concentrate, a protein shake with whey isolate contains more protein (> 90%) and less carbohydrates and almost no fat. On the one hand, this improves the nutritional values and, on the other hand, it accelerates absorption by the body
The manufacturing process is crucial when choosing the right whey isolate. There are several methods of manufacture that have a significant impact on the quality of the protein. The best method is the CFM method (= Cross Flow Microfiltration), in which, in contrast to chemical separation methods, a purely physical separation is carried out using filter membranes. This process is very gentle and the amino acids are not denatured.
Despite the gentle process, a large part of the lactose can be removed by filtration. Most people with a lactose intolerance therefore have no problems with a CFM whey isolate. If you already have problems with small amounts, the best alternative is an egg protein powder, like the EGG protein from XXL Nutrition *, which I will introduce later.
So if you are looking for an extremely high-quality, low-fat, very quickly usable and (almost) fat- and lactose-free protein shake for after training or in between, then you are looking for a protein like the WPI 90 whey isolate produced in Germany by Supplement Union at the right address. You can get it at Amazon * or directly in the manufacturer’s online shop * (even cheaper and with 5% extra discount through my code Fitvolution5 ).
3) Casein – protein-rich and low-calorie filling shake
Casein is the main component of milk with around 80%. In contrast to whey (which makes up the remaining 20% of milk protein), the body absorbs it much more slowly. For this reason, protein shakes with a high casein content are often advertised as nighttime protein. They are supposed to supply the body with protein overnight.
Micellar casein is usually understood to mean a “whole milk protein” in which casein and whey are present in a natural ratio. In this combination, a protein shake is very easy to digest and the biological value of the protein is particularly high. Such protein shakes are also really good and full for a long time, which makes them potentially a possible meal replacement.
There is also calcium caseinate, which is sold as pure casein protein without the whey portion. This makes you full longer and has an even higher protein and therefore a lower carbohydrate and fat content. Pure casein is practically the perfect diet protein powder.
For these products, however, cheap manufacturing processes are often used, in which the proteins largely denature. However, it doesn’t have to be. The German manufacturer Supplement Union, for example, uses a gentle process, whereby extremely good nutritional values are achieved with their CAS 90 Casein with very high quality. The proteins do not denature and retain their high value. A large part of the lactose is also filtered out during the filtration process. Allergy sufferers should nevertheless pay attention to the manufacturer’s information.
The CAS 90 (like almost all products from S.U.) is also manufactured in Germany and regularly examined by independent laboratories. It is my recommendation for your in between or overnight shake. You can get it at Amazon * or directly in the manufacturer’s online shop * (even cheaper and with 5% extra discount through my code Fitvolution5).
Nowhere do you get casein protein powder of this quality at a lower price!
4) Egg protein for competitors and lactose intolerants
Another alternative is Egg Protein . This used to be extremely popular in strength and bodybuilding sports, but in recent years it has taken a back seat to the extremely popular, because it is significantly cheaper, whey protein. Egg protein has some advantages over other protein powders, which should make it an interesting alternative for many.
A good egg protein without additives is free of carbohydrates and fat. The absorption speed is between the whey and the casein, which makes it fast enough for a shake after a workout, but you don’t get hungry again immediately. It is also free from the allergens lactose and milk protein. In addition, this protein does not store water in the body. That, in connection with the extremely good nutritional values, makes it particularly popular with bodybuilders in preparation for a competition or a shoot.
The egg protein powder from XXL-Nutrition is pure egg albumin without additives in the tasteless variant. That means it doesn’t contain any fat or carbohydrates. With my Royal Flavor System from S.U. (available at Amazon * or at BB-Depot *) I can conjure up the taste that I want most.
6) Soy protein shake for vegans
As a vegan athlete, getting enough protein can sometimes be a challenge. This is especially true when a calorie deficit is to be met. One or the other protein shake is certainly a useful dietary supplement. The highest quality protein sources are of animal origin, but there are also some good plant-based alternatives.
The soybean has the best single amino acid profile of any plant. Soy protein comes in the form of soy isolate with a low carbohydrate and fat content, is well tolerated, available quickly and can therefore be seen as an inexpensive plant-based alternative to whey protein. As a vegan looking for the right protein shake, you can definitely try a soy product like the Soy Isolate GOLD from BBGenics *.
5) Rice protein shake for allergy sufferers
It’s really not easy as an allergy sufferer. You try this and that and you can’t get by with anything. If you have problems with other sources of protein, you should try rice protein. Allergy sufferers usually get along best with this protein.
It is important that you get yourself a gently processed rice protein from organic rice without unnecessary additives. My recommendation is the ORGANIC rice protein from Erdschwalbe *.
What about multi-component protein shakes
I didn’t think much of multi-component shakes in the past. This is primarily due to the fact that many manufacturers are not transparent about the ingredients. A few years ago even more of a secret of the compositions was made here. Many manufacturers still do not disclose their compositions. That always makes me a bit skeptical personally.
In addition, many of these multicomponent proteins are unnecessarily complicated over-designed in my opinion. Six or more components, some of them inferior, are used and suddenly it becomes a “great” all-rounder protein. You often do not know exactly how much of what is contained and often the mixture is even mixed with individual, essential amino acids in order to tune the protein profile. However, this alone does not increase the absorption capacity as much as some manufacturers claim.
To make matters worse, these mixtures are usually significantly more expensive and their advantages over the individual proteins presented above are usually (if they exist at all) very manageable.
Nevertheless, there is also a right to exist for multi-component protein shakes. In the following I would like to briefly introduce you to what these are and under what circumstances I consider such combination products to be useful.
1) Whey, casein and egg protein mix
Whey Protein, Casein, and Egg all have their specific benefits in certain situations. So if you take your topic seriously, you probably have all three at home. After all, in every situation there is something that is a little better. Even if I think that’s a bit exaggerated, at least I always have whey and casein in the house.
I can understand if you don’t want to have tons of different buckets, cans and sacks of protein powder and other nutritional supplements around with you. In this case, a good mix can be the answer. Now you can of course pour casein, whey (and egg) together to get the best possible, time-shifted mixed protein. However, you can also buy a ready-mixed and evenly mixed protein powder.
The Professional Protein from Supplement Union is such a ready-mixed multi-component protein powder made from whey, casein and egg. This protein from S.U. is made entirely in Germany from German raw materials. It consists of 60% casein, 20% egg protein and 20% whey protein. It was specially developed as an all-round protein for bodybuilders. You can get it at Amazon * or directly in the manufacturer’s online shop * (even cheaper and with 5% extra discount through my code Fitvolution5).
2) Vegan multi-component shakes
I think multi-component proteins are really useful, especially for vegans. This is because the only source of protein with an (almost) full-fledged amino acid profile is soy. As a vegan and active person, you probably consume large amounts of soy anyway.
So it certainly makes sense to also consider other high-quality vegetable proteins. Above all, rice, peas and lupine are also used to produce high-quality vegetable proteins. Unfortunately, individually these protein sources do not have a particularly high biological value. They often lack some of the essential and semi-essential amino acids.
That is why it makes sense to combine these different vegan proteins in reasonable amounts. In the mix, some manufacturers are now able to achieve a really good biological value and thus create real alternatives to animal protein sources. The taste doesn’t take as much getting used to as it was a few years ago. A very good example of such a combination product is the Vegan Protein from VegiFEEL *.
3) An individual shake for you ?!
I recently came across a pretty cool concept that I would like to briefly tell you about here. Imagine you could get a protein shake that is individually tailored to your goals and needs and contains everything you need right after training to optimally support your regeneration?
This is exactly the approach that Brandl Nutrition is currently pursuing with its new range. On the basis of some input about yourself, your training and your goals, an all-in-one shake will be put together for you individually. For this purpose, animal and vegetable protein sources are combined on a scientific basis and supplemented with minerals and plant substances.
In this way, up to 40 ingredients can be combined in individual doses for your personal protein shake. If you want an all-in-one, worry-free shake, then give it a try. I know some athletes who are very happy with it, even if taste shouldn’t be the top priority here.
Protein shake shop recommendation
At this point I would like to refer again to my partner shop Bodybuilding Depot. If you want to get yourself a protein powder or another dietary supplement, be sure to stop by there. I have been using the products for years and I am absolutely convinced of their quality.
At BB-Depot, you order directly from a German quality manufacturer who exclusively uses raw materials from Germany for almost all products. The neutral protein powders do not contain any additives and the quality is confirmed by regular checks by independent laboratories. The exact composition and test reports of the products are published on the website again and again.
I am proud to be one of the very few bloggers and influencers that Bodybuilding Depot cooperates with. With my discount code Fitvolution5 You always get another 5% discount on all already very low prices (also for promotions). There are no major discount codes for Bodybuilding Depot.
I wrote an extra article in which you can learn more about my cooperation with Bodybuilding-Depot and the background.
Your conclusion on protein shakes
As you can see, there are a few good reasons to grab a delicious protein shake every now and then if you want to consume additional protein. With it you can support your muscle building or your diet very well. The selection is relatively large, but after reading my explanations on the most important types of protein you should be able to find the right protein for you.
Since the article was relatively long, I want to summarize the most important messages for you:
- The protein shake is a food supplement and not a substitute.
- He can help you to get enough protein in the bulking phase and in a diet.
- There is no one right time to take it; Before and after training, as a snack or before bed, however, an Ewiweiß shake can be very useful if it supports your goals.
- Which shake is right for you depends on the planned use, your goals and possible intolerances.
I hope I could answer your questions about protein shakes with this. If you still have question marks over your head, just write me a comment or an email.
By the way: If you are interested in building muscle, I would like to take this opportunity to refer you to my book Building Muscle Basics point out. It is the first real “no bullshit” guide for effective muscle building. It’s for everyone who doesn’t want to waste time on unnecessary details and wants to build muscles with as little effort as possible.
I’m going to make myself a delicious protein shake with a chocolate-coconut flavor! 🙂