Common Protein Shake Mistakes You Should Avoid

It’s a no-brainer to add protein shakes to your diet for building strength, increasing size, or boosting athleticism. Whether you would like to reduce your recovery time, build muscles, or lose weight quickly, a protein shake works like nothing else.

Various studies suggest that adding protein supplementation to a resistance training regime works great for increasing strength and maintaining lean body mass. It provides a convenient way of increasing protein intake in your diet and reducing hunger pangs.

While you may get tempted to build muscle mass quickly by including lavish amounts of protein in your diet, you should know how to take protein shakes appropriately.

This article explains common mistakes related to the consumption of protein supplements and how you can fix them.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

With all the hue and cry surrounding protein shakes, you should know how much protein your body needs. Your training goals determine the amount of protein you should take. An average adult requires 0.8 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight.

If you are a gym-goer or fitness enthusiast looking to build muscle mass quickly, you may consume more proteins than an average individual requires. To do so, you need to replace calorie-dense foods with high protein foods in your diet.

There is no fixed quantity of protein intake for everyone, and you need to tailor your protein intake as per your workouts and training goals.

Common Protein Shake Mistakes to Avoid

Protein shakes are immensely popular protein supplements for meeting your fitness and training goals. However, you should understand that you cannot replace your regular meals completely with protein supplements.

Let’s discuss common mistakes to avoid while consuming protein shakes.

Loading Your Shake With Too Many Ingredients

You shouldn’t try to add too many ingredients like dried fruits or butter to your protein shake. This is because it will add to the calorie count without providing extra benefits.

Instead, you should add some low-sugar ingredients that build your muscle.

Look out for various DIY shake recipes that help keep your belly in check and allow you to gain lean muscle mass and develop toned musculature.

Falling for Cheap Protein Powders

You may get tempted to buy cheap protein powder that promises to produce shakes rich in proteins at a low price and ensures a long shelf life. However, high-quality protein powders don’t come cheap, and you may be consuming powder mixed with fats and carbs.

Ideally, you should aim for protein supplements containing whey isolate protein. It may seem a bit expensive but gives you value for your money. It is prepared by following a long refinement process for providing higher quality protein without any unnecessary additives.

Ensure that your protein shake packs the right punch. You can check this by measuring if one scoop of your powder contains a minimum of 20-25 grams of protein.

Splurging On the Excessive Protein Shake

While you can increase your protein intake to your heart’s content without experiencing any pronounced side effects, it’s better to avoid splurging on excessive protein shakes.

So, if you have stuffed your refrigerator to the brim with chicken and protein powders, it only serves to increase your waistline. Unless you are aiming for competitive bodybuilding or professional athleticism, you should not consume too much protein.

If you are a normal individual looking to build bulk muscle mass, you can consume 1.5-2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight daily. Thus, you need to keep your protein intake as per your training or fitness goals.

Replacing Your Meals With Protein Shake Completely

You should replace your regular meals with protein shakes. Although a high-calorie smoothie or protein shake provides a convenient way of consuming proteins for meeting your protein requirements, it does not serve as a complete diet with all the nutrients.

Your proper meal comprises all the essential nutrients, and rather than replacing it with protein shakes; you should combine it with the proper dosage of protein intake.

Moreover, replacing your meals complete with protein shakes increases the load on your digestive capacity for breaking down the food and thereby requires more calories for proper digestion of proteins.

Also, if you are tempted to replace your meals with a protein shake due to a busy schedule, try eating chicken, fish, turkey, etc., as these food items contain more nutrients to keep you full.

Focusing on proper protein intake is essential for building a chiselled body.

Using Protein Powders Devoid of BCAAs and Leucine

Don’t buy those protein powders that contain an extra dose of carbs and fats. Likewise, avoid those protein powders that don’t contain amino acids required for muscle growth.

Consuming protein shakes devoid of BCAAs and leucine hampers not only your performance but also delays your recovery after workout routines. Check the label of your protein powder pack for ensuring that it contains branched-chain amino acids required for growth.

Also, ensure that your protein powder contains leucine responsible for stimulating the growth and synthesis of muscle protein.

Sticking to a Regular Protein Shake

Once you have brought your protein powder pack home, don’t simply stick to preparing a regular protein shake by mixing it with milk or water. Instead, try new tasty alternatives of consuming protein powder for ensuring more muscle building.

You can add protein powder to your snacks and meals to increase your protein intake and pack your meals with the required nutrients. For example, when you add a scoop of protein to your breakfast, it avoids over-eating and makes you eat less throughout the day.

Following Wrong Protein-Intake Timing

Most individuals are confused about the ideal time of consuming proteins. It’s essential to get your protein intake timing correct for reaping the maximum benefits of your protein shake.

An average individual can readily drink protein shake 15-60 mins after a workout. However, if you want to build lean muscle mass quickly, the best time for consuming your protein shake depends on your workout timings.

If you work out in the fasting state before breakfast, you can consume protein shakes right after your workout session. This helps in ensuring rapid repair and recovery of muscles leading to faster growth.

Also, you can take protein powder before bed so that it gets time to digest and assimilate into the body while you sleep.

Overlooking the Label to Check for Allergic Ingredients

You must check the detailed list of ingredients printed on the label of your protein powder pack. Most protein powders contain dairy products and additives like corn starch, soy, etc. If you are allergic to dairy, avoid using whey protein powder.

Whey protein isolate is the common powdered protein, and being a milk derivative, it may cause issues to individuals allergic to dairy products.

Similarly, soy protein isolate may cause skin issues, nausea, inflammation, etc., while cornstarch fluctuates your blood sugar into peaks and troughs.

You should read the complete list of long and complex ingredients for ensuring safe and pleasurable workouts later. If you are not sure about your new protein shake ingredients, observe yourself after consuming shakes to find out the presence of any allergens.

Monitor everything you are consuming by keeping a food diary and note any changes in your skin complexion or digestion to find out about your allergies.

Messing Up Your Protein Intake Window

As per the review published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition, your muscle groups can anabolize proteins optimally for a larger window than 15-60 mins time frame.

Thus, you need not rush for your protein intake right after your workout sessions. Unfortunately, some individuals eat omelettes and drink a protein shake immediately after completing their exercise routines. You can avoid this and get your intake window right.

To build excellent lean muscle mass, you need to get the timings of your pre, and post-exercise meals bang on. It helps you to add up the required quantity of your proteins.

It’s better to spread your protein consumption evenly throughout the day.

If you aim to increase your strength and size, you can split your protein shakes or egg white omelettes across 3-5 meals in the day.

Not Balancing Your Sources of Protein

You need not drink protein shake multiple times a day to target your fitness or training goals.

While three or four shakes a day may give you the required strength, you can bring variety to your protein meals by sourcing the same amount of protein from a protein bar.

Balance your protein shake by varying your protein sources. However, if you include protein bars in your diet, you must check the ingredients for the amount of saturated fats in each bar. Moreover, these bars contain highly processed and artificial ingredients.

Use your protein bars only as a convenient protein source rather than a healthy snack. The protein bars also contain artificial sweeteners that increase cravings for sweet foods. Thus, you should pick those protein bars that contain fibres and natural ingredients.

Consuming Expired Protein Powder

Although your whey protein powder doesn’t spoil like dairy or meat, you should avoid consuming it past its expiry date. As your protein shake powder gets past its expiry, it begins to lose its muscle-building capacity.

It happens due to the reaction of protein with leftover sugar, leading to a slow decline in the levels of amino acid lysine. Thus, your protein powder does not stay effective any longer after its sell-by date.

Dr. Sachin Bille

Dr. Sachin is a medical content writer at and has a keen interest to inform people about useful and effective medical gadgets. Apart from practicing medicine and writing, he loves to watch sci-fi movies & spend time with family.

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