Protein shakes have become ubiquitous with fitness in the 21st century. Ask most regular gym users and they will say that they use milkshakes or other supplements to help them gain the muscular physique they are aspiring for.
They have also become synonymous with high-level professional sports, as a way of boosting the performance of sportsmen and women.
This was not the way, however, in the 1970s and 1980s, when it used to only be body builders who used a calcium carbonate mixture that was known for tasting horrible.
Now, thanks to clever advertising, a more appetising milkshake-based mixture, and a variety of flavourings, protein supplements are much more appealing to the mainstream consumer. The question is: are they good for you or not?
Protein shakes are an excellent way of increasing muscle definition and size. They are a great aid in recovery after a workout, allowing people to do more gym sessions per week and therefore better their chances of achieving their goals in the gym.
Furthermore, they can be used as a meal replacement if, as a student, you don’t quite have the time to cook a hot meal and make it to that seminar you can’t afford to miss.
Protein powders should not, however, be used as the sole basis of your diet. You need to make sure that you keep to a balanced and healthy diet, with the shake as an additional way of improving your physique.
Milkshakes also appeal to the taste buds, with flavours like strawberry, chocolate, and cookies and cream being some of the most popular varieties.
They may not have many proven scientific results, but when Men’s Health Magazine did a six week six-pack challenge with sports presenters such as Chris Kamara on an incredibly busy schedule, the results were staggering. If you have seen Kammy in the latest Ladbrokes advert, you’d agree that protein shakes have helped him considerably.
Despite all of their benefits, there are also some downsides to protein shakes. If a combination of a good diet and regular exercise is not adhered to, the increased amount of protein and fat (depending on the type of product you use) will inevitably cause weight gain.
In addition, protein shakes are not entirely scientifically-proven, and there can be health risks when using certain products containing ingredients that do not sit well with your constitution.
The high level of vitamins that are used in protein shakes and supplements can also give you an excessive amount of your recommended daily allowance of some nutrients, which may have an adverse effect on your health. This is especially the case when using supplements. In addition, protein shakes can also be quite expensive and, unless you are serious about using them, it would not be advised to purchase them on a student budget.
When combined with healthy eating and regular exercise, protein shakes are good way of improving your physique.
However, it goes without saying that you should not sacrifice a good diet in favour of them, as this will not help you at all. The best thing to do is to use shakes as an additional way of improving your body.