Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Protein Shakes, Part One

Third in a series

And now the moment you have been waiting for: part three on supplements. Today we talk about protein shakes.

Because there are so many people improperly using shakes and other supplements, I thought — actually, Chris thought — this should be two blogs. The first part will be, "Is a protein shake for you?"

Serious weight lifters, or people who lift weight seriously, need enough protein in their diets in order to repair the physiological damage caused by weightlifting.

Lifting weights creates tiny tears in our muscle fibers. Proteins in our bodies fill in these tears and repair the muscle — but with a little more thickness in order to avoid future tears. Without enough protein in our system, these repairs cannot take place.

I usually recommend my clients eat a light carbohydrate protein meal an hour before working out and eat protein after a workout. (More on carbohydrates later.)

Now you are probably thinking: Okay, I lift weights on a regular basis and you are telling me I need extra protein. So, how much do I need and where do I get it?

This is where we try to figure out if a protein shake is for you.

According to Dr. Douglas Anderson at — the Chiropractic News Source, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is:
  • for the average person: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
  • for athletes: 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight
  • for power lifters: 1.4-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight

To figure out how much you need, take your body weight and divide it by 2.2, then multiply that by 0.8. For example, I weigh 200 pounds:
(200/2.2) x .8= 292 grams of protein a day

Keep a daily food diary to see if you are getting enough protein. If you are not getting enough protein in your diet, take a look at the content of a variety of protein shakes to determine which one will suit your needs.

Only supplement what you are short in your daily needs. Remember, more does not always mean better.

Next: protein shakes, part 2

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