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8 Wonderful Benefits Of Protein Shakes

8 Wonderful Benefits Of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes get a bad rap too often. They’re usually associated with those chalky, clumped up, and horrible tasting monstrosities from over a decade ago. The truth is, protein powder today mixes easily, comes in a number of delicious flavors, and with all of the recipes out there it’s easy to find some protein shakes you’ll love. This is great news if you haven’t been taking advantage of the benefits that protein shakes can provide.

1. You Can Hit Your Protein Goal for the Day

Protein is essential for life. Every structure in your body is built, at least in part, from proteins. Literally,your entire body is protein (and fats).The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 gm/kg body weight. That means, for most people, getting a single protein shake a day of 30-50 grams will make it very easy for most people to achieve or even surpass their RDA. This is especially true for some vegetarians who may not be consuming very many high protein foods and have trouble consistently getting enough protein.

2. You Can Boost Your Immune System

Whey protein, the protein most commonly used in protein shakes has a been found time and again to boost the immune system. As a review of the research found,

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“Whey and its components are involved in different bio-logical functions including antioxidant activity, anticarcino-genic effects, immunomodulation, passive immunity, disease protection, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral effects, binding of toxins, promotion of cell growth, platelet binding, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive actions.”- A. Suha Yalcin

In short, drink a whey protein shake regularly and your chances of getting that cold that’s been going around the office, decreases.

3. You’ll Get the Most from Your Weight Training

If you’re lifting weights, and you should be, you’re working hard to build muscle and a whey protein shake can help maximize your effort. Intense training leads to muscle damage and a big part of optimizing your results from weight training is providing the body with the building blocks it needs to rebuild and grow new muscle. That primary building block of muscle? Protein.

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For those who are weight training optimal protein intake is around 1 gram per pound of body weight. That means a 175 pound man who lifts weights regularly (3-5) times a week should be consuming around 175 grams of protein a day to help support muscle recovery and growth. This sounds like an impossible task to many people until they realize that simply consuming 1-2 protein shakes per day can make getting one gram of protein per pound of body weight very, very, easy.

While some will claim this amount of protein is dangerous, don’t worry, in healthy people those claims are completely unfounded,

“It is the position of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that exercising individuals need approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day….Concerns that protein intake within this range is unhealthy are unfounded in healthy, exercising individuals.” –ISSN

4. You’ll Lose Fat

Protein is known to have a satiating effect on the diet, helping you to feel fuller longer than carbs or fats. Protein also has a larger thermic effect, requiring the body to expend more energy to digest it than carbs or fats. Both of these mechanisms are why increasing protein has been associated with weight loss, and more specifically fat loss. Even though whey protein has been shown to help people lose weight, it digests quickly, so using a slow digesting protein like casein in your shake may be even more beneficial, blunting the appetite and staving off hunger for even longer.

5. You’ll Build MORE Muscle While you Sleep

You don’t build muscle while you’re working out. You damage muscles while you workout. The repair and growth happens during rest, primarily during deep sleep. Researchers have found that simply chugging a protein shake before bed can help increase you’re rate of muscle protein synthesis (rebuild and growth) and recovery versus not having that shake.

6. You’ll Lower Your Cholesterol

Whey protein has been shown to be very effective at helping to lower both total and LDL cholesterol. While it probably isn’t going to replace your blood pressure medications, supplementing with a whey protein shake may help if your doctor has advised “lifestyle therapy” as treatment,

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“whey peptides appear to be a well tolerated and safe lifestyle option for improving BP in a population of prehypertensive or stage 1 hypertensive men and women.”- Pins and Keenan

7. You’re Blood Pressure and Heart Disease Risk is Lower

In this study whey protein supplementation lead to a more than 6 point reduction in those who had elevated blood pressure. While another study found the same blood pressure lowering effects of whey protein to be true in obese people with above normal blood pressure. Whey protein shakes won’t completely reverse high blood pressure but it does appear that, if used consistently, whey protein shakes can be an effective part of a blood pressure reduction plan.

8. They’re Easy “Grab and Go” Nutrition

In our busy lives sometimes we feel the time crunch and reach for  something that’s “easy” and end up with a handful of cookies, chips and other empty calorie foods. Doing this just leaves us tired, irritable, in a mental haze. Worst of all, you’re probably only satisfied for a moment and hungry 15 minutes later.

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Mixing up a quick protein shake on the spot or even having a pre-made shake in the fridge can help keep this from happening. There are lots of really easy and delicious recipes out there that don’t take very long to toss together and will store nicely in the refrigerator for days. Just make sure you shake it up really well if it’s been sitting for more than a few minutes. Protein shakes can provide a nice, fast and easy supplement to fill the gaps in your nutrition, help improve your health and simplify your busy life.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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