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Steve April 12, 2013

Protein repairs broken down muscle tissue from exercise, causing your tissue to develop bigger and stronger.  The repair and recovery process takes more than one day to complete, which makes a protein shake a viable option for use even on days you do not work out; however, it may not always be necessary.  A quick look at potential uses for protein shakes on non-workout days will help you make a better choice in deciding whether to shake it up or not.


Protein shakes are one of the most convenient ways to meet your nutritional needs.  You need to eat five to six small meals a day on your off days to optimally repair your muscles; however, you may discover that finding time to prepare and eat five to six meals is not feasible.  Protein shakes take two to three minutes to prepare and can be used as a substitute for ONE of your meals.  The drawback to using a protein shake as a meal is that it does not provide many of the other essential nutrients that come from whole foods.  Balance the rest of your eatingacross your other meals to compensate for the protein shake shortcut.


Your body performs the most muscle repair and recovery at night while you are sleeping.  During this period, your body needs the vital nutrients for repair to optimize the recovery process.  On non-workout days, you can utilize a small to medium-sized protein shake containing 10 to 15 grams of protein prior to bed to ensure you have an adequate amount of protein in your system for muscle synthesis.


For individuals who struggle to gain weight, protein shakes can be an easy way to boost your total caloric intake.  Training and recovery are energy intensive and some individuals may find it hard to eat enough solid food to meet their energy needs.  Protein shakes are typically energy dense, meaning they provide many calories without taking up much space in your stomach.  Adding a shake WITH one or two of your meals on non-workout days will give you a significant caloricboost to help you gain muscle and weight.


The biggest drawback to using a protein shake when you do not work out stems from its caloric density.  Only consume protein shakes with a specific purpose in mind.  Failure to balance drinking protein shakes with the rest of your meal plan will lead to fat gain.  This is especially critical on days you are not working out, because your body will not be burning calories from training that day.  Protein shakes are safe to drink for most people; however, you should consult with your doctor and nutritionist prior to implementing them in your diet.


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