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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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