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Protien Shake- Do You Use It Does It Work?


Alot of athletes in my class at collage have just started taking protien shakes/Musele building shakes to try and bulk up and get stronger for their sports. I was wondering if there is use in me using them as a triathlete/ cylcist? will it make me faster or will it just make me bigger



  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Hi mate,

    right i have a couple of questions for you, are you weight training? and how old are you? The reason I ask if because you don't really need protein shakes if you are not weight training, and also I don't think anyone under 18 should ever be lifting heavy weights because the bones and joints are not fully formed, so you could do yourself some real damage, I'm a doctor btw so i know my stuff!

    Ok back to the protein. Protein shakes are best used if you are weight training, as they provide high quality whey protein, which is very quickly absorbed, when you body needs it. So I take mine 20 mins before training, and about 30 mins afterwards. I probably don't need both of these, but I prefer to be safe ( so i have enough protein in my system so I dont actually loose muscle). If you are doing heavy weights protein shakes are essential for bulking up, as regular solid proteins such as meats require a longer period to break down, so are not going to be as available to your muscles as a shake taken just before the workout. You will also need to take some carbs with the shakes, not too much on the one before, as you dont want to be bloated for you workout, but you should have had some slow release carbs about 2 hrs before anyway. But something with a high glycaemic index is required post exercise, this will cause the insulin reflex, due to the sharp rise in blood sugar, and insulin is essential for building new muscle, as it is insulin which sends those amino acids into the muscle.

    ok so my routine is 2 hours before - weetabix, 1 hour before - banana, 20mins before - protein shake - straight after weights - juice + protein shake.

    HOWEVER - if you are only cycling, running, swimming etc. then you probably dont need protein shakes, as the protein from your diet will probably be sufficient - as long as you have enough fish, meat, eggs, dairy, lentils, etc.

    sorry if this is all a bit wordy. but I hope that helps!

  • Hi im 16 and i do about 1hr 30mins of muslcur weights per/week


  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Ok mate,

    well ive got to say first that in my opinion somebody of your age shouldnt really be doing weights, this is because the growth plates at the end of your bones may not have fully sealed yet, and so heavy weights, or too much stress on the bones can cause plate slippage. Dont worry too much about the details, but if this happens it could mean some pretty horrible operations and alot of big nails to hold things in place.

    But if you would like to increase strength, I would recommend bodyweight exercises, i.e. press-ups/dips pull ups/chin ups etc. this will not only be better for your body/bones, but also better for you as a triathlete. And if you look on the internet there are alot more things you can do with bodyweight!

    if you really want to do weights, stick to the machines, or light weights - higher reps. Simply because heavy free-weights could cause you some serious damage at this age.

    And back to original protein question, yes protein shakes do work, but there are quite expensive, so unless you need them, i wouldnt bother!

    hope that helps, if you need anymore questions answered please ask.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    and the first rule of weight lifting heavy or light...technique, the second rule is you've guessed it..technique. Whilst I agree with the heavy weights comment above, machine weights can create problems due to repetitive nature of fixed tracking, poor adjustment etc. Free weights are more use for triathlon/endurance sports (sports in gen) due to the recruitment of support muscles, core muscles, stability, spacial awereness etc etc, but must be coached properly by a well qualified instructor. i would agree also with qualification about body weight exercises..go easy on the dips..growth end plates are at a horrible risk at the low point of a dip..in fact anyone should steer clear of dips..most of your body weight hanging unsupported forward of a shallow muscular/tendinous joint? Nah.
  • toadtoad Posts: 104
    Wise words Brit spin,

    also warning about dead lifts unless you have good technique and good coaching dont attempt these. My opinion is they are associated with a high risk for disc injuries. Core stability is good.

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    very good point about the free weights, britspin. I personally hate machines as I think they are rubbish for increasing functional strength.

    I wouldnt recommend free weights tho at 16, as without the correct technique you are risking doing some serious damage!

    I definitely concur on the deadlifts, one of the best exercises you can do in the gym, but if you do it wrong, which most people do it will badly damage your back. Add to that squats, also a good exercise, but only if you are experienced.

  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I've caused a few arguments in the past with my views on resistance training and I suspect I am going to do the same again as I have to disagree with some of what has been written here.

    Firstly, I would have no problem with a 16 year old doing weight training, even free weights. As long as they are taught and performed correctly they are no more dangerous than any other form of resistance training. I think the advice that training should be done with body weight is misleading, plenty of people, including children struggle to do more than a couple of pull up's which makes it a very heavy resistance exercise, however a lighter lat pull down could be performed easily. The same could be said for press up's, dips etc.

    There is little evidence that heavy weight training causes injury. Both BASES (British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences) and ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) guidelines recommend resistance training in children working between 5-15 reps (even pre-pubescents), the lower end of which is pretty heavy. In fact both these organisations report a decrease in injury as a result of weight training. This is further supported by Kraemer and Fleck, two of the worlds leading researchers on resistance training. All of these groups report positive benefits of weight training. The only limitations on training by these groups is on repeated maximal lifts, i.e. powerlifting which has been shown to increase injury.

    There are plenty of other situations where kids lift heavy weights, at the age of 16 I was picking up and dumping bigger kids while playing rugby, heavy weights performed in an unstable enviroment. Do we stop kids from playing sport? I could go on.

    From a personal point of view I started playing rugby at the age of 11, weight training at 13, worked as a barrow boy on a fruit and veg stall at 14 and started working on building sites when I was 15 and I've never suffered a serious injury in my life. I work as a personal trainer now and have coached a 12 year old swimmer to do squats and a 14 year old rugby player to do deadlifts.

    I may well be challenged over this but there is good scientific evidence to back it up.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    great reply..and it all comes down to coaching & supervision, the weights as a means to an end, not and end in itself. We have 14-16 y/o in our gym..sure they always want to find what is the heaviest they can lift, but once thats dealt with they are ok. I have worked with elite tennis players as young as 10 & used weights as a tool, bungee cords as a tool etc, to avoid injury not create.
  • TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    I started lifting weights when I was about 14, but had proper coaching, and if I can remember that far back, the rule of thumb was not to lift any weights overhead due to the pressure on spine and joints.

    Going back to your original question, about protein drinks. All these drinks are is a powdered form of food. Some have added ingredients with a varying degree of ergonomic effect, but if you want to try these I would suggest taking them as a seperate supplement (and most of those add -ons are rubbish anyway, body-building is a magnet for snake-oil sellers). The difference between protein shakes and muscle-builders is purely a matter of calories, the amount of calories in some of the shakes is shocking!

    So will a protein shake/ muscle builder help you build muscle? Yes and no. To build muscle three factors are required:

    1 - Break the muscle down with the right form of training

    2 - Plenty of protein in the diet

    3 - Plenty of rest (but not too much!)

    Again, all that is in the powders is just food, mainly milk proteins or some other source. Where the powders help is in supplying extra protein to your diet.

    All sportspeople need higher protein than the averge Joe, however if you are primarily training for triathlons you are unlikely to put on a huge amount of muscle, if any at all. In terms of how much to take the recommendations range from 1g per pound to 1g per kilo, however to give you a figure would depend how much you are training, and what training you are doing.

    Stay away from the high calorie shakes though, unless you are training for an Ironman, all those things do is make you put on fat!

    I use a pure whey protein powder to supplement my diet, as I need to watch my calories, but the key word to focus on through all of this is "supplement" the only way to use these, and vitamins etc, is to supplement a good diet. If you don't eat right anyway you are just wasting your money and time!
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