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Protein Shakes? Do they work and which one?


This is probably a well worn question but here goes'

I have been training hard for my first novice tri next May in wellington Somerset (i know its awhile away but I am no swimmer or cyclist) and I am lossing weight and dont have much to start with. So I have been told about protein shakes and the benifits they could have. Any suggestions? Which one? Is all a load of cow dung?



  • AmazonAmazon Posts: 57

    I am an Ironman/70.3 triathlete and so have had the same problems of making sure I don't not lose weight on an already slender frame.

    I have in the past used not protein shakes, but meal replacement shakes. You can get these from health food shops and they contain vitamins, minerals, etc - as a rough guide it gives you about 250 cal per serving. It comes in a powder and I used to mix it up in the shake bottles you often see sold near the supplements. They provide a much more well rounded approach than just loading the protein.

    These days I have modified my diet so I do not have the need to use these - and I think essentialy this is the more healthy way to go.

    A well rounded diet of 3 good meals, alongside snacks, and energy drinks has seen me through 200 miles per week for quite a while, maybe you could look at raising your portion sizes.

    I use my heart rate monitor to keep an eye on how may calories I burn per week, energy intake must equal energy expenditure (remembering to take into account exercise AND daily living needs), there are ways of working out your estimated calorie intake needs, it may be worth looking into this.

    Training for sprint tri should not be making you lose weight, so initially I would simply increase portion sizes and add a few snacks in during the day and see how you go.


  • Yes you are going to lose some weight, but without knowing.

    what your training routine is.

    What your eating pattern is.

    No one can advise you on this. !!
  • AmazonAmazon Posts: 57
    In a nut shell Jelly legs is right - I just wanted to stress that healthy eating is better than spending money on expensive supplements that are often not the best way to go.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Thanks Amazon, I have been eating better but not more. I think its super size portions for me.

    Thanks to you too Jelly legs, I see what you mean by its hard to assess and advise when you dont know all the facts.

    I will give the old protein a miss!

    Cheers guys'
  • sorry amazon that was not meant as a dig.


    People forget that muscle is heavier than fat, so if your losing weight and training, the muscle increase should(thats should), counter the weight loss.

    Personally i have lost about a stone since i started training, and tend to believe i could lose about another 1/2 stone.

    I'm in the why buy a 20 kg bike and carry 14 llbs of fat around my stomach camp. ( but thats another story).

    At our level, which is amature, if you eat a proper balanced diet, there is no need for protein shakes.

    You just will never do enough training, because you dont have the time.

    Protein that is unburnt by the body turns to fat, so in my opinion you wont gain anything in the long run, just have more fat to burn.

    Eat properly, have a good balanced training regime, and forget the supp's ( except the odd vitamin).
  • stustu Posts: 28
    All are good points.

    Its important to remember by definintion that protein shakes arei supplements and therefore is designed to supplement current protein intake, but like most people seem to be saying its good advice to eat a better more fulfilling diet and then have a look to see if that needs to supplemented.

    Load of studies show that endurance athletes will benefit for 1.5-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight, during and post exercise so its worth totaling up what you currently take in and having a look to see if you can modify it.

    I'm a personal trainer and so often see people taken in locker room chat about supplements, and while I agree that most supplements probably do something, its worthwhile being very objective about it.

    Remember you can't out train a bad diet!!
  • Yes weight loss is inevitble but eat healthy as the others have said and all should be well.

    At the end of the day what people like us have to do is get out there and ENJOY what we do, thats why we do it ..........

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    The whole supplement industry is predicated on the 'magic bullet' principle. We all want to believe there is more to quality nutrition than...quality nutrition. The short cut that will provide the winning time. Not happening, good quality food, not food products, timed well to fit in with your training with adequate rest & recovery is the way to go. Does not sound technical, isn't carbon, or red (but it is porridge!) & may make you faster, leaner, fitter.
  • AmazonAmazon Posts: 57
    Pomegranite seeds are red!!! and a super food!!!! .... we may draw a blank on edible carbon though.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Ah the superfood myth.....
  • Jason NJason N Posts: 36
    Blinky baz,

    Wellington novice tri was my first stab at the sport. I loved it. That was a few years ago and i have become a little obsessed with the sport since - you have been warned!!!

    I have recently started taking post exercise recovery mixes (EAS recovery/Rego recovery stuff) If nothing else it gives me a psychological boost which has to be worth a bit.

  • I used to occasionally have one of the protein bars after training if I had to be back at work without having time for a decent meal, I found the high protein did little more than wake me up a bit as sometimes too many carbs left me feeling sluggish so as a one off I would reccommend them. I would however echo the views here that you just cant beat a balanced diet.

    I did read somewhere that the only proven supplement to have any effect on performance was creatine but whether this was in endurance athletes I couldn't say, I personally wouldnt advocate its use as I think it can have a detrimental effect on kidney function. especially if you fail to drink enough water in the load phases and the majority of muscle definition increase is through water retention.

    I'll stress though that these are only my personal experiences and opinions so if you are very keen then I'd suggest reading up as much as you can, not from places like the maximuscle website which can be very bias but the primary science papers. 'pubmed.com' is a good repository but they are aimed at peers in the field so can get pretty heavy!

    Good luck!

  • GGGG Posts: 82
    Hi All,

    I have been thinking about this lots recently. I use SIS stuff too and I wonder what difference it would make if I stopped.

    I like the taste of the Rego stuff and like you i think that stays to keep my psychological end up after big efforts. Maybe I should drink Nesquick in a SIS bottle!

    However all this said the SIS gel bars are life savers!


  • AmazonAmazon Posts: 57
    As a sports scientist it always worries me greatly when I hear creatine being discussed - unless used for the right reasons, under a carefully compiled program, as previoulsy mentioned, it can do far more harm than good. In 'normal' athletes it is in no way needed.

    SIS gels etc are good, essentially they will do no harm long term (unlike creatine possibly!!), I train about 18-20 hours per week and use them during long rides, runs, bricks etc.

    I used to use the REGO, but feel no difference, and notice no difference in recovery times whether I take it or not - I do often use it if I'm not likely to be near a decent meal straight after training as a last resort (and I am partial to the chocolate flavour.....).
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Thanks Guys;

    All the info is most welcome. Where do you buy your gels? Supermarkets or sports shops?

    Again thanks to one and all.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Amazon...could you be a little more specific about your concerns with creatine?

    A good point to remember was made by a lecturer in nutrition at Loughborough...if the supplements advertised did what they claim to do...most of them would be banned as performance enhancers. Hence creatine being the subject of banning debates in the past (& possibly still).
  • stustu Posts: 28
    Britspin wrote:

    Ah the superfood myth.....

    Yes, every year there's a new one, pomegranite, brocolli, avocado, green tea, blueberries, walnuts, etc etc,

    All good stuff and great to have in the shopping basket.

    BUt em ........superfood, what criteria should be met before it becomes a superfood!

    The cynic in me says - bumper crop of blueberries this year, mmm lets market them differently.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    agreed..its all marketing, but variety is the spice of life & a good diet, but once again..no magic bullet.
  • When i was in Afghanistan way before thinking about triathlon training the naafi (shop) out there sold cyclone, muscle and strength builder. now i am no way saying its awesome (it tasted foul)or that another product wouldnt have done exactly the same but i started taking it morning, noon and evening (much to the dismay of my tent mates!!) whilst covering (on static bike) 15k at lunch time and 30k in the evening every day for 3 months.

    To be totally honnest iv never done such intense fitness in one specific area before so it may well have not been the shake but i could really see a difference. both in the ammount of time i was cutting off the distance each day and how fresh i was feeling at the end.

    By the end of the 3 months i was also throwing in an 8k run at the end of the 30k bike ride.

    I suppose its all about mental attitude though, you have to have the drive to make use of the extra energy the shake gives you.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    In general terms there will not be much energy from a protein shake...only repair of damaged muscles..altho some are packed with sugar..because its cheap.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    I bought a veggy whey product from my protein, I have been using it as a recovery drink after hard exercise. It works well to stop the low after exercise. I have seen no muscle growth that would not have happened anyway.

    I am not sure its worth the money.

    I am thinking to sell more they should sell it in a Red and carbon!!!!!!
  • husslerhussler Posts: 237
    I agree with the balanced meal comments above..... but ill add my opinion too!

    I used to Rego, i felt it did help a little but the cut of protein is poor compared to the stuff i use now...

    I use Phd Whey Protein in strawberry cheesecake flavour, it tastes awesome mixes so much easier than rego and i have noticed a massive difference in performance and becoming 'lean'.

    I am a Middle/Long Distance Triathlete and at the mo prob training around 20 hours a week... and yes i do have a job! lol I finished 7th in my AG at the Long Distance Worlds this year and won my regional champs at standard distance, something i believe i wouldnt have achieved without the supplements.

    Since taking the Phd stuff, I have found a can train 7 days a week with no problems with fatigue etc and both muscle strength/Endurance and losing fat has increased. I also eat sensible balanced meals, 6 meals a day, with a 30g scoop of protein with Milk before bed and i also use For Goodness Shakes after training (one of my sponsors) so im probably getting around 50g of protein from supplements alone.... i also eat loads of chicken, fish, egg whites. Never eat too many carbs after 6pm either.

    I weigh 70Kg at the mo and drop to 68Kg for the season. My weight has stayed constant for the last 10 months but my Body Fat has dropped from 16% to 12% whilst being on the Phd stuff, whilst on the Rego i had to eat more carbs which in turn increased my weight/body fat etc... I was 75Kgs and 16-18% body fat.

    If you use the Protein effectively it will help, but you cant expect to take this stuff and dont train properly otherwise you will store excess as fat as also mentioned above....

    Please feel free to agree or disagree but this is my from my own experience.

  • i use herbalife formula 1 and whey protein powders. very good.

  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    I strongly suspect that for 99.999% of people, the only advantage of supplements etc. is a psychological one. Ritual is extremely important in most sporting activities - anything where focus is required. Taking a drink/supplement after an activity is an affirmation that you have done some training. So you feel good about it. The marketing is all focussed on this aspect - you are a "proper" sportsperson because you are do this, is the message.

    I would want to see a nice body of properly researched and presented scientific evidence, peer reviewed and aimed at "real world" use cases, before thinking they are any more than, at best, physiologically insignificant. I suspect that in extreme cases, there may be more pronounced benefits (e.g. elderly, specific illnesses etc, arsing about with steroids or other drugs).

    In general, if you are after a "quick fix", there isn't one - it's all down to hard work, perseverance, mental discipline to push yourself to extremes, and eating/drinking and sleeping well. We've had millions of years of evolution for our bodies to become pretty good at getting what they need from our natural diet. I suspect that suddenly presenting the body with some new substances that it isn't had generations of getting used to is more likely to have detrimental effects than otherwise.

    Now, I do like to scoff an SIS Go Bar 1 hour before a 10Km or greater race. But I don't know if it does any good. It's just that the first time I did it, I had a really good race - didn't run out of steam etc. etc. So it definitely falls into the category of "ritual".
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    I have recently given up on protien shakes and i now just have a nice chocolate milkshake (Friji) as it is relatively low fat, has a good balance of carbs and protien and most importantly it tastes good and makes me happy (just like being a 5y/old again).[:D]

    On a serious note, i think it depends on what works for your body as i found some that were recommended in the past didn't work well with me, others that a friend hated was nice and seemed to work.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    Jack Hughes wrote:

    In general, if you are after a "quick fix", there isn't one - it's all down to hard work, perseverance, mental discipline to push yourself to extremes, and eating/drinking and sleeping well. We've had millions of years of evolution for our bodies to become pretty good at getting what they need from our natural diet. I suspect that suddenly presenting the body with some new substances that it isn't had generations of getting used to is more likely to have detrimental effects than otherwise.

    Interesting point this. One theory though is that the diet humans mostly eat now is not what our ancestors ate for millions of years.
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Good point jules!

    They jnever had malt loaf or porridge.

    Seriously though as I started this thread a long time ago I have changed my opinion of protein shakes and work on COW power now with a banana and soreen. I think the biggest issue for me when it comes to after exercise food or drink is that I get it within 20 mins or I am the most grumpy git ever!

    I did use MYPROTEIN>COM for a 5 kg bag in banana flavour and found it ok but so is the COW power and the cow is cheaper.
  • lads, i come from strength training background. where we swear by mixing a scoop of whatever protein powder into porridge.

    slow release carbs for energy during the long worlouts,runs swims&bikes, and a protein source pre digested and ready after the workout to repair the muscles.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    But porridge already has a good mix of carbs & protein...
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Is Soreen a supplement? Or is it doping?

    It seems to do all these wonders, it has to be illegal, not??
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