Protein shakes commonly give the impression that drinking them is the answer to your muscle-building pitfalls. Will drinking them (without working out) make you like the lean, muscular people used in supplement companies’ ads?
While they can definitely help, simply drinking one a day will not work to transform your physique.
Depending on the brand, they usually contain 200-400 calories and 20-30g of protein per scoop. So, can they make you gain weight if you don’t workout?
Well, the answer is maybe…
Why People Use Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are simply supplements that contain protein in liquid form. They can be used as an easy way to boost your protein intake.
To gain muscle and strength, it’s recommended to eat around 1g protein per pound of bodyweight. You may need to increase this to 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight while cutting to ensure you preserve muscle.
Most of your protein should come from whole sources, like lean meats, but protein shakes can be supplemented into your diet. They prove to be a convenient protein source that can be consumed in seconds!
People who workout need a higher protein intake to ensure their muscles are repaired. When the muscles are repaired with adequate protein, they’re able to build themselves to become bigger and stronger.
Furthermore, whey protein is fast-digesting, meaning it reaches the muscles faster. That’s why people commonly down protein shakes right after working out. They want to provide their muscles with protein as soon as possible to maximise muscle growth or maintenance.
Protein Shakes & Weight Gain Without Working Out
The state of your weight all comes down to calories. Your maintenance calories are what your body needs to stay at its current weight. Going under this number will make you lose weight and going over will make you gain it.
If the calories in protein shakes tip you over your maintenance calories, it would cause you to gain weight. This is especially the case if you don’t workout as the protein isn’t being used to repair muscles.
The body isn’t in need of the extra protein compared to someone who lifts weights. The muscles are not being torn down and therefore, 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight wouldn’t have much of a benefit.
The one benefit for someone who doesn’t workout is that protein can supress the appetite. However, it’s best to stick to whole foods rather than protein shakes – they will feel more satisfying to eat.
Protein shakes aren’t necessary for those living sedentary lifestyles as the body doesn’t need a big boost of protein.
Without working out, there are no attainable goals of gaining muscle. Therefore, protein shakes would simply be an extra 200-400 calories, and 20-30g of protein that isn’t going to contribute to much.
Your overall caloric intake from your wholefood diet will be the major factor in whether you gain or lose weight. But protein shakes could be enough to add calories that push you into a surplus and put on weight.