Protein shakes have a bit of a mixed reputation – and many people are confused about whether they should or shouldn’t be taking the supplement as well as how it affects our bodies.
Due to portrayals in the media, protein shakes are often misassociated with the stereotypical bulky male gym goer. I have to admit that before doing some homework on the subject, I kept the idea at arm’s length.
I, like many other females no doubt, thought that protein shakes were only for people who wanted to “bulk up”. And whilst I frequent the gym, I have never had the desire to transform my body beyond anything more than lean and toned.
So after endless research, I decided to let my guard down and give the whole protein shake phenomenon a go – because, despite what I previously believed, protein shakes won’t “bulk you up”.
How not? Well, it goes a bit like this…
- See those guys at the gym that are muscularly bursting at the seams? This isn’t because of the protein supplements that they’ve been taking; it’s down to a LOT of consistent hard work! And let’s not forget that men produce extra testosterone which is why they may find it easier to increase their size than the average female.
- “It’s so easy to tone up and lose weight” – said no one ever. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work – a good combination of eating right and training hard. Now think about how “easy” it is to put on muscle? Not very (especially for women)! I know many men that have struggled to put on an extra 2-4kg of muscle – even when they’re doing everything right!
- When you do add muscle to your body, this will mean that you’ll be replacing some fat. As the image below demonstrates (rather graphically!), even if you weigh the same – with muscle, you will look slimmer. (Muscle mass dependent of course!)
Image via LinkedIn
There are endless suppliers offering protein shakes – just be sure to always check the ingredients and ensure that you are comfortable with its contents.
The protein shake that I tried in particular was the award winning Primal26 – a Monkey Nutrition product, which on their site is described as:
“High quality whey protein isolate, supports rapid muscle growth, rapid muscle absorption. Abundant source of BCAAs and essential amino acids. Fat free, sugar free, cholesterol free and gluten free!”
I opted for the “velvet chocolate” flavour as sold on their website and here is my verdict (note: online it seems to be advertised as “chocolate” however when it arrived, it was “velvet chocolate”):
- Fat free
- Zero sugar
- Less than 1g of carbs
- Whey protein – this boosts the immune system and supplies the body with the optimum source of amino acids
- Sweetened with stevia – an all natural sweetener which contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates and has a zero glycaemic index. Unlike natural sugar, it doesn’t cause tooth decay or increase blood pressure either.
- Flavour – The velvet chocolate flavour was by no means bad (I didn’t mind it at all) but I have to admit that the flavour is lacking slightly. This is likely due to the product containing no sugar. You’ve got to choose your battles though – would you rather opt for a subtle taste that contains no sugar or have a protein shake that is highly palatable but is stacked with unhealthy sugars?
As far as supplements go, Primal26 ticked almost all of the boxes for me! And as expected, my fears have been eradicated – I’ve not transformed into Mrs Hulk!
Whether you decide to take protein shakes or not, that is entirely up to you! But if it’s been playing on your mind, hopefully this can put your fears aside and assure you that like me, you won’t suddenly become body-building, competition-ready overnight!
Just remember however that as humans, we do require a certain amount of protein every day just to function. Alongside supplements such as protein shakes, there are a number of near-perfect muscle (high in protein) foods that you can include in your diet for example steak, pork chops, chicken breast, turkey breast, eggs and nuts (the list goes on!) See this list of top 40 high-protein foods for more information.
I hope this review has been helpful and if you have any questions please drop me a message in the comments below or else feel free to send me a message directly.