Ok, so you’re sick and tired of having spaghetti arms, a pigeon chest, and being lighter than you should be for your height, and have therefore decided you want to bulk up and build muscle, so what next?
Well, if you're serious about building muscle and bulking up, you obviously need to be hitting the gym on a regular basis, and following an effective training program.
Building muscle is notoriously difficult, especially if you happen to do so via the natural route, without the assistance of performance enhancing drugs and anabolic compounds.
It can take weeks, months, or even years to increase your muscle mass, but once you do begin seeing improvements, the good thing is that you will see more and more improvements with each passing day, and, providing your diet and training regimes are indeed effective and being followed religiously, you should see improvements with each workout.
In order to build muscle, obviously you need to lift weights and exercise regularly, but is that all that is required?
In a word – No.
You see, whilst lifting weights and working out, whether at a gym, at home, or anywhere else, is very beneficial, if your diet and nutrition isn’t right, you simply will not make any real improvements at all.
Once you’re satisfied that your diet is on point, you may then wish to think about using supplements, with protein supplements almost certainly coming in at the top of your list.
But with protein shakes, how many protein shakes a day should you be drinking?
Well, if you ask one person, they may tell you that one is beneficial, whereas another may say that three is beneficial, and another may even say that you don’t need them at all.
Here we’ll be attempting to clear things up once and for all, as we look at protein shakes, and look at how many protein shakes a day you should be drinking in order to build muscle.
Protein And Muscle Growth
Before we even consider looking at protein shakes and supplements we must first address the importance of protein for muscle growth and repair in general.
Protein is an essential macronutrient, and is one of three, with the other two being carbohydrates and fat.
This macronutrient however, is considered to be the most important of the three, as it is essential for cellular health and maintenance.
We, ourselves, are actually made up of billions upon billions of tiny microscopic cells, so when you consider the fact that we’re made up of cells ourselves, looking after these cells all of a sudden becomes a top priority.
On top of assisting with cellular health and function, however, protein is also vital for muscle growth and repair, which is why bodybuilders tend to consume such vast quantities of protein each day.
Protein is a molecule, made up of amino acids, that can be broken down into amino acids once it has been consumed.
Basically, if you think of protein as the primary building block for the body in general, you get a better idea of why it is so important.
Our organs, skin, and muscles, are all built of proteins, not to mention that a number of hormones and chemicals within the body are also forms of proteins.
Protein plays a vital role in a process known as protein synthesis, which is where the body synthesizes new muscle proteins and tissues.
When we exercise and lift weights, muscle tissue is damaged and destroyed, and it therefore needs replacing in order for us to build new muscle.
Without protein synthesis, this would simply not be possible. Imagine trying to build an extension onto your home, with no bricks, no wood, and no materials in general.
Well, if you think of your muscles as the house, and proteins as the materials, you get a better understanding of why we need protein.
How Much Protein Do We Need Per Day?
In reality, there is no one true definitive answer to this question, due largely to the fact that all people are different.
For example, some people may genetically be able to get away with less protein than others, so we can’t provide one definitive answer.
However, as a general guide and rule of thumb, most fitness experts tend to agree that, in order to build and maintain muscle mass, we need to be consuming between 1 and 1.5g of protein, for every pound that we weigh in bodyweight.
So, if a person weighs in at 200 pounds, ideally they should be getting between 200 and 300g of protein each day.
How Much Protein Per Serving Do You Need?
It would be very useful if we could consume all of our daily requirements of protein in just one sitting, but unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that, and sadly, the body can only process so much protein at once.
In the past, you would see bodybuilders pounding down huge plates of chicken, eggs, fish, and steak, along with various veggies, and washing it all down with a protein shake, as they believed that the more protein they could consume, the bigger they would get.
However, the body can only process a certain amount of protein at a time, which is generally between 40 and 50g at a time.
If that bodybuilder consumed over 100g of protein, around 50 – 60g of the protein he consumed would go to waste as the body wouldn’t be able to utilize it.
Because of this, when trying to build muscle, you should aim for around no more than 50g max, and even then, that may be too much.
Studies have found that, in actual fact, in order for protein synthesis to be initiated, just 20g of protein post-workout, would be sufficient enough to initiate protein synthesis and to allow the body to begin rebuilding new muscle tissue.
There is some research to suggest that between 20 and 40g of protein post-workout, can increase protein synthesis levels slightly, though the changes are far from dramatic. So, how many protein shakes per day should you have?
How Many Protein Shakes Per Day?
Protein shakes are fantastic for anybody looking to increase their lean muscle mass as they provide quick, easy, and effective ways of getting some good quality protein into the system.
Whey protein powder is the most popular type of protein shake, as it is a rapid absorbing source of protein, and you can check this great protein powder guide to choose the best one for you.
Whey protein is derived from cow’s milk and is a by-product created when milk begins to turn into cheese.
The milk separates into liquid whey, which is then processed and filtered, until it becomes the powder supplement that we all know and love.
Protein shakes are NOT designed to replace whole food meals, so you should still ensure that most of your protein and nutrition, comes from whole foods.
With that being said, around 2 -3 protein shakes per day could be beneficial, making sure that one of those shakes is consumed immediately after you finish working out.
The other whey protein shake should be consumed between meals, and before bed time, you may wish to consider drinking a casein protein shake.
Casein protein is also derived from milk, though casein protein is much, much slower to be digested and broken down.
By drinking one before bed, the protein can stay in your system for hours, constantly feeding your muscles and keeping them in a constant anabolic state.