There are literally hundreds of varieties of protein drinks or shakes on the market today. Visit any nutrition center, pharmacy, or grocery store and you will find shelf upon shelf full of them, but are they really necessary?
Protein powders are available in many forms, but the three most common are soy, whey, and casein protein. Whey is probably the most widely used and is a water soluble, milk based protein. Whey is also a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the amino acids that are essential for the dietary needs of humans, which is an added advantage.
In the right instances, protein drinks can be quite useful because they are a convenient and easy source of high quality, complete protein. Drinking protein drinks during the exercise period is not really necessary, but they have been shown to lessen muscle fatigue and injuries if they are taken before exercising and during the recovery period afterward. For muscle building purposes, a protein drink during the recovery period will provide the most benefits.
The amount of protein that your body needs will vary depending on how much you weigh, as well as your level of activity. An adult of average weight and activity level needs around 0.8 g of protein for every kilogram of body weight each day, but athletes and those who exercise several times per week should take in around 1.2 to 1.6 g. per kilogram of body weight. It should also be said however, that even athletes can easily take in the needed daily amount of protein by eating a well-balanced diet that tailors to their needs.
That being said, while protein drinks aren’t strictly necessary for fitness practitioners, they certainly are a convenient way to give your body the extra protein needed after a strenuous workout. After a vigorous workout, you probably don’t want to cook, much less consume, a protein rich meal and a protein drink will fulfil your body’s needs quite well with much less time and inconvenience involved.