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The most common protein shake mistakes

If you’ve invested in a large container of protein powder, but still find it frustrating when results don’t happen as quickly as you expect them to, consider this: You could be making some common mistakes with your protein shake.

Protein feeds your muscles. Whey-based protein shakes can help you bulk up after a workout and keep you feeling full to suppress your appetite and help with weight loss – but only if used correctly.

Most common protein shake mistakes

Fix these common protein shake blunders and in no time, you’ll be back on the right track.

Mistake #1: Meal replacement

If you’re trying to lose weight, it seems like a good idea to replace breakfast or lunch with a protein shake. After all, who has time to prepare healthy meals anyway?

However, your body needs fuel in the form of food. Remember, protein shakes are supplements, meaning they should enhance your healthful living habits, not replace them.

If you’re finding it a challenge to carve time to create nutritiously balanced meals, try this: Before turning in for the night, think about what you’re going to eat the next day. Planning your meals helps you make purposeful choices instead of simply reacting to hunger pangs.

Then, complete some basic meal prep. If you choose a salad for lunch, for example, chop all the veggies, wash the lettuce and slice the meat in the evening and pack in separate sandwich bags or containers. In the morning, it is easy to grab and go before you head out the door to work.

Mistake #2: Not keeping shakes simple

You likely bought protein powder because you wanted an easy way to supplement your diet with added protein for weight loss or muscle enhancement. The beauty of protein shakes is that they are easy to prepare with just one added ingredient: Milk or water.

So, if you are bulking up your shake with almond butter, dried fruit or crunchy nut mix-ins, you are defeating your goal of keeping it simple. Remember, extra add-ins boost the caloric count, too.

If you like an extra punch of flavor, try tossing in a few pieces of fresh fruit instead.

Mistake #3: Not paying attention

Not every protein shake is created equal. To get the results you desire, you need to read the label before you buy.

It’s scary, but some will have just as much sugar and carbohydrates as they do protein. Others will include unnecessary preservatives, artificial sweeteners and additives that could be fighting against your personal goals.

Also, be sure to watch for potential allergens, like soy and dairy products, including whey, if those are a problem for you.

Mistake #4: Bad timing

Studies show that your body can better utilize the benefits of protein if it has a steady supply of it. In addition to protein-rich meals, have protein shakes as a snack to curb cravings or immediately following a workout to rejuvenate the muscles.

Before bed, enjoy a shake with casein instead of whey because casein digests more slowly.

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