Best Protein Shakes

Let's look at the best protein shakes to be used only if you are training intensely. If you drink them without working out, you will just get fatter. You may also want to see our 'Weight Loss Shakes' and recipes. The link to that page is given further down this page.

In addition to relying on our own experience, we have also relied here on Nutrient Timing, which is a very useful book by John Ivy, Ph.D., and Robert Portman, Ph.D.

We have, however, ignored their recommendations for antioxidant vitamins for the reasons that we state on our 'Organic Vitamins' page, which is on the site map/index, which is situated at the bottom of the menu/navigation buttons to the left of this page.


Use the best protein shakes possible both during and after training hard. These are for use with respect to either after an intense cardio session (such as GXP, HIIT, or PACE) or before and after weight training.

Best protein shakes during strength/weight training


There are basically three choices with respect to workout shakes: (1) water, (2) water and carbs, or (3) water, carbs, and protein. The third choice, the protein shake, is the best one.

Ideally, the best shake should have 20-26 grams of high-glycemic carbs (such as glucose, sucrose, or maltodextrin), 5 or 6 grams of whey or egg protein, 1 gram of leucine, and small amounts of sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

There's at least one inexpensive, excellent commercial product available that fits this description, namely, "Accelerade."

It's available on-line for under $15 plus shipping. The plastic can yields 28 servings.


It's available in more than one flavor [I (Dennis) prefer orange]. A scoop mixes with 12 oz. of water to make a wonderful workout drink.

There are other similar products available, but I haven't yet used them.

Its food counts are: 120 calories / 5 grams proteins / 21 grams carbs / 1 gram fat.

If you train intensely and if you've only ever used water or a water/carb drink, you'll be able to feel the difference by the end of your first workout using Accelerade (or, presumably, similar products).

If you've never tried it and train hard, why not give it a try?

The best protein shakes after training

(1) Strength training and, to a lesser extent, intense cardio open an anabolic opportunity that it's foolish not to maximize.

The way to begin to maximize it is to have a well-designed shake within 30 minutes of the end of a workout. I have my protein drink within 10 minutes of finishing.

Ideally, the first post-strength-training shake should have 40- 50 grams of high-glycemic carbs, about 15 grams of whey or egg protein, 1-2 grams of leucine, and 1-2 grams of L-glutamine.

We are not aware of any commercial product that exactly fits this description. However, Musclelink's RecoverX comes close.

If you want to try it, blend two heaping scoops of RecoverX in 8 oz. of pure, cold water. That yields: 295 calories / 40 grams of carbs / 27 grams of proteins / 3 grams fats (.5 grams saturated fat).

It also provides 7 grams of glutamine peptide. With respect to protein, it's made with whey protein concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein; with respect to carbs, it's made with glucose and maltodextrin. It tastes delicious.

Other manufacturers offer similar products, but I haven't yet tried them.

This shake or a similar one will help to shift your body from a catabolic to an anabolic state. It will speed the elimination of metabolic wastes and replenish muscle glycogen stores.

It will help initiate tissue repair and bolster the immune system. Faithfully using this protein shake after each intense workout will make a significant difference over time.

The best protein shakes include whey to maximize the benefits of training during and after workouts. If you do not tolerate whey or egg protein powder, try soy or rice protein powder in your shakes.

Experiment to find one that works well for you.

(2) It's possible to maintain increased insulin sensitivity and the anabolic state if, two or three hours after your first post-strength-training shake, you have a second well-designed shake.

This shake will have a much lower carb-to-protein ratio than the first shake.

Ideally, the second post-strength-training shake should have about 15 grams of whey or egg protein, 2-4 grams of high-glycemic carbs, 3 grams of leucine, 2 grams of casein, and 1 gram of l-glutamine.

Again, we are not aware of any commercial product that exactly fits this description. You may use a whey protein powder, an egg protein powder, or a blended protein powder such as MuscleLink's Pro-Fusion.

I often use two level scoops of XS Whey Protein Powder blended in 8 oz. of pure, cold water.

That yields: 125 calories / 25 grams proteins / 2 grams carbohydrate (1 gram sugar) / 1.5 grams fat.

It also provides 750 mg. of l-glutamine, 1000 mg. of glutamine peptide, and 2810 mg of lecine.

Except for the two post-strength-training shakes, water, and, possibly, PS (phosphatidylserine) to help improve lean muscle mass please don't consume anything else, especially fats, during the four hours immediately after your workout.

By four hours after your workout, the anabolic window will have closed. Resume your normal 4X to 6X nutritional program until your next workout.

Notice that the first of these shakes has more carbs than you may expect. The theory is that, soon after an intense workout, those carbs are not stored but instead are used to transport the protein into cells. Normally, no shake should have so many grams of carbs and, if these don't work well for you, just reduce their grams of carbs.

You may add fiber to these shakes.

Normally, when using a protein shake for a meal, it's best to add some fat (for example, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk) to it and to keep its grams of carbs as low as possible.




Highly recommended books for this page



If you gained useful information from this page, and want to improve your knowledge and understanding further, the following books are highly recommended.


These are our top suggestions:


  • Bradford, COMPULSIVE OVEREATING HELP: HOW YOU CAN STOP FOOD CRAVINGS, FOOD ADDICTION, OR EMOTIONAL EATING IN 6 SIMPLE STEPS!

  • Bradford, WEIGHT LIFTING: BASIC MOVES FOR EFFECTIVE TRAINING FOR MUSCLE BUILDING IN MINIMUM TIME!

  • McRobert, BUILD MUSCLE LOOK GREAT

  • Wildman & Miller, SPORTS AND FITNESS NUTRITION

  • Ivy & Portman, NUTRIENT TIMING


The above books are in stock at Amazon.com (for the USA) and Amazon.co.uk (for the UK)







Other web pages related to the best protein shakes

Additionally, be sure that you are using the very best foods and nutrition to sustain strength and weight training. See our healthy eating guidelines. The page link is given below.

For weight loss shakes, see the second link given below.

Weight Loss Shakes

Healthy Eating Guidelines

Alternatively, use the link at the bottom of this page to go to the 'STRENGTH TRAINING' main page, which is the first page in this section of our website.





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A video showing how to make a protein shake


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