Like lots of girls, I had previously been under a misconception that protein shakes were just for blokes that were bulking up. I knew that protein provides countless health benefits, but for a while I will still uneasy about having my protein in liquid form, irrationally terrified that they'd turn me into Jodie Marsh. But fish, chicken, eggs etc aren't the most convenient or portable snack, and as I've learnt just how important a high-protein diet is, and finding it difficult to consume enough protein from food alone, I've converted to protein shakes for a quick, easy and rather yummy protein hit.
So why is protein so important? Well, aside from a long list of health-related benefits like lowering blood pressure, preventing diabetes and increasing bone density, a high-protein diet is essential for losing weight AND toning up. Protein takes more effort than any other food group to be digested (burning more calories in the process) and also takes longer to leave the stomach, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to overeat, therefore, assisting weight loss. The amino acids in protein are responsible for repairing the muscles fibres damaged in exercise, building stronger, lean muscle, which visibly tones your body and increases physical strength. And in turn, lean muscle creates to a higher metabolism, further burning fat!
So clearly, once I learnt this, I was more eager to boost my protein intake with the help of shakes. Rich's PT friend suggested that, for my levels of exercise and my fitness goals (to become toned and strong), I need to consume as many grams of protein per day as lbs I weigh - so that's 143 grams per day. This would be almost impossible without supplementing my diet with shakes. (Supplementing being the operative word - I don't starve myself and use them as meal replacements!)
My current bag of whey protein is a Chocolate Peanut Butter flavour from MyProtein, which, if you're a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup lover like me, is a godsend. The peanut butter taste is quite subtle though and when I'm feeling fancy I do like to add in a little extra teaspoon of real PB.
MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate is lower fat and lower carb than most other protein supplements on the market but what's better is the HUGE array of flavours they have - Coffee Caramel, Blueberry Cheesecake, Rocky Road... sounds more like an ice cream parlour menu, right? Plus MyProtein always have some great offers running, which you can find on the Fitness Discount Codes website.
I'll often have a quick post-workout protein shake in my shaker to aid muscle gain and muscle recovery, but I've also been loving making breakfast smoothies, to refuel my body if I'd done a gruelling class the night before and to keep me feeling full and energised until lunch time.
My favourite breakfast smoothie, as pictured above:
1 scoop of MyProtein Chocolate Peanut Butter Impact Whey Isolate
1 teaspoon of smooth peanut butter
(and I add oats if I'm really hungry)