This is a common question when someone starts to work out and wants to supplement their protein intake. When you decide how many protein shakes a day you ought to be consuming, you need to take a look at your individual situation.
The correct number of protein shakes a day depends on you
The first consideration should be to look at the rest of your diet.
For a few days keep a food diary. Eat exactly what you would normally eat and keep a note of it all. This includes snacks and drinks, even milk in your coffee as this all adds up.
This might seem like a drag, but it is a good exercise to give you a better understanding of your baseline protein intake.
It doesn’t matter if you estimate that you have eaten a 12-ounce steak but it was 14 ounces. You just want to get a rough idea of your protein intake.
Next, decide how often and how hard you will work out. Obviously the more muscle you rip, the more protein you need to repair it properly.
Then look at your body weight and composition. If you are large, you will need more protein that if you are small.
If you are muscular with a body fat percentage of 10% you will need more protein to maintain this physique than if you are the same weight but 30% body fat.
In case you are finding this to be a bit too much to think about, don’t worry this doesn’t need to be an exact science. You just need to understand the basic principles and factors involved.
Then you can more easily work out how many protein drinks a day to consume
So, after considering these things you will have a good general idea of whether you need a little help, or a lot of help in the protein supplement area.
A general rule is that if you want to bulk up then you need to eat a gram of protein per pound in body weight per day.
So If you weigh 200 pounds then consume 200 grams of protein a day.
If you want to simply maintain your physique then reduce that number by 30 to 50%, so down to 100 to 135 grams. Obviously if you are carrying a lot of fat, then reduce the figure as well.
So, if in your normal diet you eat 120 grams of protein and you want to build muscle, then 2 protein shakes of 40 grams of protein, or 4 shakes containing 20 grams of protein each will be about right.
The good news!
Here is the good news. It is better to take in a little more protein than you need because your body can convert it to glucose anyway to be used as energy. In fact your body works harder to digest protein, so if you want to lose body fat, then extra protein will help.
If you have scanned this article and just want the short answer…
Here it is:
Most experienced athletes and body builders recommend 2 or 3 protein shakes a day.
As a guideline it makes sense to drink a protein shake as soon as you wake up in the morning. This will get your metabolism started right away, and replenish the amount of protein in your system.
Drink a shake just before, or just after working out. There is a debate as to whether before or after is best. Some people take on extra protein before and after.
I would drink a shake just before, unless you find this makes you feel a little bloated in which case have it after so that you can feel more sharp during your training session.
Drink a shake just before bed, or if you find this affects sleep then have one mid-evening, just to keep your body metabolizing the protein for as many hours in the 24 hour cycle as possible.
So, the easy answer of how many protein shakes a day to consume is 2 or 3. If you follow the “3 a day protein shake” basic guideline, you will be far better off than not supplementing at all, but if you are taking on a little too much extra protein, it wont do any harm.