Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder or an amateur athlete looking to gain mass amounts of weight and muscle, you know you need to eat enough calories to keep up with the energy you spend in the gym. Many athletes prefer to eat four to six meals rather than the typical three meals per day because it’s difficult to pack in all the clean eating you need to do when you’ve only got three meals to work with. However, prepping and cooking meals all day long is nearly impossible, at least for people who work and have families. That’s where protein shakes and smoothies can be helpful.
Don’t be afraid to incorporate liquid calories into your diet. They can be simple to make and fuss-free to enjoy.
Body-Positive: Avoiding Hunger
Drinking shakes and smoothies between meals and even in place of meals will help you avoid feelings of hunger. You’ll be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Drink a shake that includes a lot of fiber. This will keep you feeling full and also help you with digestion. Instead of eating bad foods, you’ll add calories that your body needs and fill up on the things that will keep you energized. Your blood sugar will remain stable and your brain will stay focused.
Make sure the liquid meals and snacks count towards nutrition. No one is going to benefit from a couple of milkshakes every day. Protein should be your focus, and you can incorporate a number of vitamins, minerals, and other super-nutrients. Simple whey protein can be mixed into water for the most basic of protein shakes. Your system will absorb the whey protein quickly, allowing the nutrients to go right to work. You’ll also preserve your appetite. A strictly protein-based drink will not interfere with your appetite. You’ll be able to continue adding calories during your regular meals.
There are a long list of benefits associated with protein-heavy shakes. You know protein contributes to the production of muscle mass. It also helps boost your immune system and provides the powerful amino acids that are necessary to keep your muscles growing and nourished. Enzymes and hormones are also delivered to your blood stream and muscles through the protein found in shakes and smoothies.
Drinking a protein shake after your workout is a great way to stimulate cellular repair. Small tears occur in your muscles during workouts, and the protein will help you heal.
Smoothies Work Too
Many people value taste, and shaking up some whey protein powder into a bottle of water just doesn’t cut it. Try a fruit smoothie that includes protein and supplements. Start with frozen berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. If you prefer other fruits like peaches, apricots, or apples – try those. Blend the frozen fruit with half a fresh banana, a cup of Greek yogurt, and some water. Toss in a heaping few scoops of your favorite protein powder. Add creatine for extra help growing your muscles and improving your brain function. You can throw in other ingredients like hemp seeds, almond butter, or flaxseed oil. Blend it all together, and you have something delicious that delivers calories, protein, antioxidants, and energy.
Your diet is an extremely important part of increasing your muscle mass and building a stronger body. Even if you’re doing a cutting cycle, you need to eat enough calories to keep your body fueled. It seems like increasing the food you eat should be easy. However, that’s not always true. Liquid calories are just as valuable as the calories you chew. Try protein shakes and smoothies when you need an extra meal, but you don’t have time to cook.