Erm, not really, would be my answer.
“They are beneficial but not essential.”
However, post intense exercise you’re just not going to get a better bang for your buck than a Whey protein shake.
You deplete your body of a load of stuff during a workout.
A protein shake ensures a fast delivery of almost all of them.
So why wouldn’t you have a protein shake? I suppose would be my question.
We very rarely have an appetite in the window after exercise so having it in a drink format makes sense.
I would place money that 1% of the audience reading this gets in enough dietary protein.
So yeah, I think you should get a protein shake in you.
You don’t have to.
But then again.
You don’t have to get a full night sleep.
But I’d advise that before a eyeballing what protein shake to get.
Here are my 3 rules I enforce with my clients when they DO get protein powder.
1) Do NOT replace meals with shakes.
2) Do not have more than 1 shake a day (similar to rule 1)
3) Don’t be a awkward, just get Whey.
However, as mentioned briefly before.
If you’re considering purchasing some protein to up your recovery time and aid your ‘gainz’ in the gym.
Look into your sleep, the amount of time you spend on your smartphone and your training intensity and methodology in the gym.
Its a free way to improve your results without spending a penny.
Heard this come out of my mouth and it actually sounded worthy of being article written.
I get asked.
“Andrew, what should I be eating?”
I can give you a list, I literally could write out a long ass list of foods and say to you.
“Pick out of them, see ya later.”
Not my approach though (amigo).
Firstly you need to distinguish between food and processed foods.
This should help you get clear:
Walk into a supermarket, well most anyway.
In front of you are usually 2 isles.
Groceries, Veg, Fruit, Meat, Eggs, Poultry and sometimes Fish.
All these foods are ‘single ingredient’…
A potato is a potato, an aubergine is an aubergine, chicken is chicken.
Getting my drift.
ASK YOURSELF THIS: When did you last overeat a ‘single ingredient’ food.
‘Dave, you shouldn’t of left me with the carrots alone I just ate 34 of em!’
Nah, doesn’t happen does it!
Now look at the other 8-10 isles.
Its in a can, a bag, mixed with other foods and derived of anything that actually enables us to digest it properly.
Here is my approach.
Eat more from the first 2 isles.
I don’t care about how much you’ve been eating.
Just get MORE from those 2 isles.
Then continue to do so.
Until you’re at about an 80/20 split.
When 20% of your diet consists of pizza, ice cream and alcohol.
You know what?
For those of you who want chiseled abs or sub 10% body fat, go speak to a competition coach.
Because I am not your man and we won’t get on.
I haven’t got time for dealing with peoples eating disorders and obsessions with fat calipers.
I just want you to eat more of the stuff you need, little less of the stuff you don’t.
Then enjoy that 20% guilt free, any less than that and your life still start to suck.
Trust me, its not worth it either.
Here's a truth bomb, you may not like it.
No one gives a shit you got abs, they really don’t!
Not your Mum, Dad, Sister or Friends…
You think your mates are jealous but chances are they’ll actually just resent you after a while.
The way my mind works its all about aiming for that 80%.
No cheat meals! I don’t get hung up on food, but if you see me doing my food shop.
I’ll spend most my time buying things I haven’t tried before in those first two isles.
Then fill my basket with 20% of some shitty foods like Chewits and the odd chocolate bar and give absolutely zero fucks.
Intimidation is a big thing for most gym go’ers.
We even have an area in my facility that Women name ‘the men’s area’.
It’s not their area at all!
It’s just where the squat racks and free weights are.
These can be ‘intimidating’ because people feel like they’re being watched.
But let me tell you something.
Other people in the gym are so focussed on themselves – they probably don’t even realise you’re there.
If we removed our mirrors I honestly think we would lose 50%+ of our members.
Fitness has become so narcissistic that people honestly can’t bear to train without reflection.
When you think there’s a guy watching you squat.
He’s not, he’s just caught a vein in his bicep and he’s walking closer to the mirror to admire it.
The big meatheads?
Trust me on this one, they have the most insecurities of anyone in the gym.
Thus usually the main reason for being so large.
The largest bodybuilders I have ever met are also usually the kindest of people too.
Worrying about what other people think is a huge waste of your time.
My biggest issue however is that people are worrying about what others think to the extent they don’t visit the gym on their own or get done what they need to get done.
That’s the most ridiculous thing going.
The gym has become a hub for self obsession and vanity for all with the occasional person who just wants to be a little healthier and slimmer.
Body dysmorphia is rife and social media isn’t helping.
90% of the people training are admiring themselves and checking the amount of likes their last instagram post got between sets.
People won’t even notice you’re there.
When you train at the gym you burn somewhere between 200 and 500 calories an hour (on average – depending on your weight and the type of training you do).
So let’s say you train 4 times a week, that means you’re burning roughly 800-2000 calories a week from exercise.
But guess what?
To lose one single pound of fat a week you need to burn 3500 calories more than you consumed. So even after you’ve trained hard all week you could still be 1500-2700 calories short.
Which is why just “smashing the gym” isn’t enough if your goal is fat loss.
In fact, when it comes to fat loss, training is just a small piece of the puzzle – the big piece is being in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you’re eating).
If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t seem to lose weight I have the answer for you…
You eat too much food for the amount of activity you do (or don’t do).
It really is that simple.
And if you think “but I don’t eat that much and I still can’t lose weight” then I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong and you’re simply eating way more calories than you think you are.
Did you know that a Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte contains 420 calories?
Or that a bowl of Wagamamas Beef Ramen Noodles contains over 900 calories?
Maybe you didn’t realise that a Dominoes Pepperoni Pizza has over 2,200 calories?
So how do you lose fat then?
Make Sure You’re In a Calorie Deficit (And Sort Out Your Nutrition Habits)
Doing this equals weight loss because . . . well, science. Basically, if you burn off more calories than you consume you will start to lose weight and in the right circumstances (good nutritional habits, smart training and lots of sleep) this weight loss will primarily (or totally) be body fat.
Now when I say a “slight deficit” that’s what I mean slight – small, minor, minimal. Whatever you do don’t slash your calories to within an inch of their life and eat a stupidly small amount of food, that’s a bad idea as I explained here.
You also need to make sure you’re eating good quality food so you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs for energy, recovery and performance in the gym.
The easiest way to do this is to make sure you’re sticking to these four simple nutrition guidelines.
Number one, aim to include protein, healthy fats, vegetables and leafy greens in every one of the meals and snacks that you have throughout the day.
Number two, on training days have most of your carbohydrates in the meals and snacks immediately before and after you train. This is when your body will make best use of carbs, to provide you with energy before a session and to help you recover after a session. On non-training days simply spread your carbs out across the course of the day.
Number three, aim to make your meals up of a variety of single ingredient foods. By this I mean foods that only have one ingredient, for example chicken is just chicken, sweet potato is just sweet potato and pepper is just pepper – they all only have one ingredient. Whereas a Jaffa cake has loads of ingredients, most of which you can’t even pronounce.
Number four, 80 to 90% of the time avoid wheat sugar alcohol and processed foods. Having these sometimes is absolutely fine just make sure they don’t push you into a calorie surplus.
Nutrition for fat loss really doesn’t have to be restrictive as long as you stick to these for simple guidelines the majority of the time and always aim to remain in a slight calorie deficit you will gradually and consistently lose body fat.
If you want to lose body fat you should do weight training and anyone who advises you any different has no idea what they’re talking about.
For starters; having more lean muscle mass increases the amount of calories your body burns on a daily basis, so lifting weights and adding muscle means you can lose more fat every day just because you’re more muscular.
Why wouldn’t you want that to happen?
Side Note: Having more muscle doesn’t mean you’ll get “too bulky” . . . even for women, getting “too bulky” is impossible without dedicating a SERIOUS amount of time and concentrated training & nutrition efforts on specifically aiming to build muscle mass – you won’t be doing this ‘cos you’re aiming to lose body fat.
Secondly, lifting weights means you will get strong and when you get strong you can…
– Train harder with higher intensity
– Use higher loads (more weight) on the bar
– You’ll be more stable and less likely to get injured
– You’ll build more lean muscle mass (as I said earlier this increases the amount of calories your body burns everyday just by being alive so it makes sense to make some muscle gains).
All of those things contribute to effective fat loss training when paired with good nutrition habits and a calorie deficit.
So, let’s take a little step back here . . . there’s a difference between being ‘skinny’ and having the body you want – the weighing scales certainly aren’t the indicator of your dream physique.
Using women as an example . . . would you rather weigh 10-11 stone and look exactly how you want to look – firm, lean and shapely?
Weigh 8 stone on the scales and be skinny but look soft, flabby and out of shape?
Easy answer isn’t it?
Weighing more but looking awesome and being full of confidence will always beat weighing less but still being ’out of shape’ and unhappy with your body.
Remember, if your goal is scales orientated then your outcome will also be scales orientated i.e. you will weigh a certain weight but you won’t necessarily look how you want to look.
Change your mindset and have some mirror or measurement (muscle girth, body fat %) orientated goals too.
Those people that go all out on high volume cardio/interval training program and a hugely restricted diet may end up losing a load of ‘weight’ on the scales but they don’t always look better.
What I mean by this is;
If you do inordinate amounts of cardio (no weights) and eat a restricted/low calorie diet you’ll lose fat, you’ll lose muscle and you’ll weigh less but you’ll just be a smaller/lighter version of how you looked before; still a bit flabby, still a bit soft, still no shape, still unhappy with how you look.
Whereas if you kick the cross trainer to the curb, add weight lifting into the equation (and execute it properly) you’ll build muscle, you’ll develop great legs, arms etc., you’ll burn more calories every day, you’ll lose body fat and . . . when you lose that fat you’ll unveil the body you’ve been after all this time.
Now tell me that doesn’t make sense.
Increase Your Activity Levels
Being in a calorie deficit does not always mean that you have to eat less food. Living a more active lifestyle will increase the amount of calories you burn and help create a calorie deficit too.
Being more active doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym for two hours a day either, making simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift or doing things like indoor rock climbing as a social event rather than sitting in watching Netflix all adds up.
The truth is your time spent at the gym should largely be focused on getting stronger, becoming more durable, improving your fitness and building muscle mass. And your time outside of the gym (the other 165 hours you have every week) should be where your calorie deficit is created through a combination of nutrition and daily activity.
Get Lots of Sleep
A friend of mine (and fellow coach) once said…
“A lack of sleep makes you dumb, slow, fat, weak and more prone to injury and illness”
He wasn’t wrong.
Poor sleep can be a bit of a disaster for your body…
Your body fat can increase, muscle growth and repair will slow down, your corsitol (stress hormone) levels will go up and your performance in the gym will deteriorate.
And the result is you end up looking and feeling like walking, talking zombie – which isn’t ideal.
Sleep really is the unsung hero of getting results.
I mean yeah, you could survive on 4 hours sleep a night and a cocktail of Red Bull and Monster Energy whilst watching Netflix until the early hours but that wouldn’t do your fat loss any good.
So, getting into a good bedtime routine and deep sleeping pattern is important, here’s how to do it:
a) No phones/laptops for 60 mins before bed – the blue light can play havoc with your brain activity and sleeping pattern
b) Make sure your room is as dark as possible
c) Take some ZMA (if you have trouble sleeping)
d) Get into bed and read for 30 mins
e) Try to get to sleep before 12am and sleep for at least 7-8 hours
There’s also an app called Pzizz that I recommend you try, it’s pretty cool for helping you get in a solid sleeping routine.
All of this is tied together by consistency. If you’re not consistent, fat loss is unlikely to happen and if it does happen it will have been by accident.
The people who get great results do the basics well day in, day out for months and years at a time. It’s not sexy but it works.
All these guys have made impressive progress because they maintained a calorie deficit, good eating habits, a smart approach to strength training, an active lifestyle and lots of sleep for more than just a few weeks.
Remember, great results don’t happen overnight.
Whether the large population of gym goers realise it or not, they’re bodybuilding.
Bodybuilding is where you promote muscle growth and bring down body fat to show these ‘gains’ off.
So yeah, females and males alike typically sometimes without knowing take part in this bodybuilding malarkey.
However how many of these people actually know what's going on or how to make a muscle grow?
Imagine if people just started to drive cars without learning how to?
So I am going to break it down for you, simply.
There are two ways in which muscles grow.
Through strength increases (myofibrillar)
Through pump training (sarcoplasmic)
Both these are types of Muscle Hypertrophy.
Scientists are still trying to figure if its pronounced:
(hyper-trophy) or (hy-pertroph-e)
Please note, for muscle growth we need to be in a caloric surplus (extra calories).
Ok so here are the basics.
I am going to talk about SARCOPLASMIC HYPERTROPHY
(Aka Pump Training)
Muscles require oxygen.
Oxygen travels in the blood.
When we contract (tense) a muscle we send oxygen to it, through blood.
Each muscle is like a balloon and has a certain capacity for blood volume.
Through multiple reps under the right load, intensity, etc. etc.
We can send in more blood than can come out.
This is called a pump.
The muscle feels tight, almost like it could pop.
However if we continue to rep, which is a painful procedure one of 2 things occur.
Production of lactic acid.
Stretch of muscle tissue.
This is where the pain face comes from.
The muscle is like ‘Yo, dude we’re full, what are you doing?’
This causes the balloon to stretch, causing lots of small tears in the muscle.
This is why bodybuilders (and probably you) require protein to heal this occurrence.
The body is always adapting to things going on in every day life and this one is quite simply.
‘Yo man, we’ve had several instances of not having enough room to hold all this blood.’
Therefor the body adapts to grow the existing tissue to meet the bodies requirements.
Almost like moving to a bigger house when you got more kids.
Keep in mind muscle is expensive.
Its like having a fast fancy car.
You need spare money to be able to maintain it.
Or you’ll swap it in for a hybrid.
Get my drift?
Now lets take a brief look at MYOFIBRILLAR HYPERTROPHY
This is from lifting heavy, I do this very frequently with my female clients.
They do not want balloon like muscle tissue, they want dense, thick muscle tissue to get that ‘toned’ look.
Yeah that's right hombre, bubble bursting time.
HIGH REPS ARE FOR THE DUDES WANTING TO BALOON UP.
You should be lifting heavy.
(Queue the ‘my life is a lie’ line…)
So Andrew, what the hell is MYOFIBRIwhat?
Ok, here is the simplest way for me to explain.
Lets call your muscle tissue ‘Terry’.
Terry makes 5 cups of coffee a day, that's all he is used to.
One day you are like ‘Oi, Terry make us 45 coffees would ya?’
He is like, ‘Piss off mate I’ve only ever made 5’
(That's you lifting a weight that's too heavy)
Imagine one day your like ‘Oi, Tez, you couldn’t make 6 coffees could ya?’
He’d probably be fine.
Then 7, then 8, then slowly its 10.
Get my drift?
Before you know it, he’s making 45 and he didn’t even realise.
That's you getting stronger, welcome to strength training.
This produces leaner, thicker and denser tissue.
That's why bodybuilders and powerlifters look different with their shirts off.
That's muscle growth 101 for you lot.
Any questions drop me an email, not too many mind you.