Protein Shakes: The Secret Weapon to Getting in Shape
When it comes to getting in shape, namely losing body fat and building lean muscle, one of the true "secret weapons" is protein. The vast majority of people simply don't take in enough quality protein on a daily basis, and this is one of the root causes of weight gain.
Protein has several extremely powerful benefits when it comes to our health. First, it stands to reason that if we are not taking in enough protein, then by default, we are replacing it with two other macronutrients: carbohydrates (often highly-refined) and fats (often saturated). This leads to excess caloric intake, spikes in our insulin and cortisol levels, and decreased energy.
Second, ingesting adequate protein leads to increased feeling of satiety. A good amount of research supports this theory, including a 2014 study published in the Nutrition Journal, which found that eating high-protein snacks helped control appetite, increase satiety levels, and reduces subsequent food intake later in the day.
This means that eating protein makes you feel fuller, longer, resulting in eating less throughout the day and taking in fewer calories. Conversely, highly-refined carbohydrates, most people's preferred quick go-to snack, leads to ingesting empty calories with little nutritional value and more over-eating.
Finally, protein is essential to building lean muscle. The building blocks of muscle are amino acids, and amino acids are found in protein. Taking in adequate protein is not only crucial for maximizing your strength workouts for toned muscles and a strong body, but it also plays an important role in metabolism.
Muscle tissue is more "metabolically active" than fat tissue, which means the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Building muscle is therefore one of the only naturally healthy ways we can boost our metabolism, and a powerful one at that.
Many people wonder why they slowly begin to pack on the pounds later in life. One of the reasons is that they lose this crucial metabolism-boosting lean muscle due to a process known as sarcopenia. The great news is that sacropenia can be slowed and even reversed by doing two things. First, engaging in strength training, and second, taking in adequate protein.
Taking in a protein shake between meals can serve two purposes: silencing the hunger pangs and preventing poor food choices later in the day, while getting in your daily protein allotment as well. In addition, taking in a protein shake during the metabolic window—within 30 minutes of your strength workout when your muscles are best able to assimilate the protein—will also help you build your best body.
Protein. It does a body good.