So before I share with you my favourite protein smoothie recipe lets cover the basics about protein supplements as I often get asked a lot about whether I use protein supplements and if so, what brand? Why? And when?
First things first, yes I do use a whey protein powder, and Neat Nutrition’s Lean protein is my first choice. Most protein powders can be filled with nasty artificial sweeteners and preservatives. However, Neat Nutrition use all natural flavourings, sweeteners and ingredients. So when choosing your protein if you have a hard time pronouncing all the ingredient names, that is most likely a sign to put that one down and look for another one.
Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to nutrition and exercise, and so I can only really speak about my experience with protein supplements and how it has benefitted me.
We all know that protein is the basic building block of muscles. What a lot of people don’t realise is that proteins are the basis of other structures in the body such as skin, hair, nails, collagen, ligaments, tendons and cartilage, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, haemoglobin…should I go on? There’s a lot of published science that demonstrates the value of protein in exercise recovery and prep, so I’d encourage you to read some of that.
For me, I find that protein shakes massively improve my recovery following exercise, which is really beneficial since I train 6 days a week. So, if you train regularly like me you should be aiming for 1-2g of protein per kg of body weight. Obviously that’s a wide range, which needs to be adjusted depending on the type of exercise, the frequency and the intensity.
So, although it’s always best to take a ‘food first’ approach to getting protein in your diet, protein powders are an easy and delicious way to ensure that you are meeting your daily requirements. However, don’t forget that in order to maximise the body’s absorption of protein, you should aim to have carbohydrate with it, ideally in a ratio of 4:1 carb:protein.
If you are a girl reading this and are worried about becoming bulky, I hand on heart promise you that you won’t, you’ll actually get leaner. So although we don’t have enough testosterone in our bodies to build muscle like men do anyway, adding more protein in your diet in the form of a good protein powder will not make you build more muscles or improve your performance but instead insures that your body has protein available to use in order to rebuild damaged muscles helping to increase lean muscle mass, which means burning off fat and laying down muscle, i.e. becoming more toned.
I typically like to have a shake within 30 mins of finishing training, this means that the good stuff goes straight to the muscles for replenishment. This is always easy If I’m visiting one of my favourite London boutique gyms as I will no doubt visit their shake bar and demolish one of their delicious creations.
I also have a scoop of protein if I have oats in the morning. Not only will the protein enhance the oats nutritionally, but I also finds this helps fill me up and keeps me going until lunch time. However, on the occasion when I’ve not had a lot of protein throughout the day I’ll also have a shake before bed or make a creamy smoothie concoction (like the one you’ll find below) as a desert after dinner.
So now I’ve shared my views on why I personally use a protein supplement in my diet and how I feel it could help you reach your fitness goals here is my absolute favourite go to protein smoothie recipe which I whizz up in my nutri-bullet if I fancy a creamy treat.
1 scoop of Neat Nutrition Lean Vanilla Protein (or your protein of choice)
1 frozen banana
1 Teaspoon of Almond butter (I use Pip & Nut)
1 Teaspoon of maca powder
1 Medjool date (optional)
180 ml of Unsweetened Almond milk (I usually prefer my smoothies to be thick but if you want yours to be a bit thinner add some more almond milk and blend until you reach your desired consistency)
P.S Please take everything I say with a huge pinch of salt, I am not a qualified nutritionist or PT and I am just regurgitating self-learnt knowledge and information I have received from my own personal nutritionist. If you want to radically change your lifestyle and diet seek an expert’s advice.
Photo’s c/o yours truly