What are the best ingredients that you can add for the perfect muscle building shake?
It’s been said many times over that your diet accounts for well over 80% of your success when it comes to the results you achieve with your physique, whether you’re trying to pack on the muscle or trying to maintain it while you are cutting up.
You will need to cut out some calories and scale back on simple carbohydrates and fats while increasing your protein when you are on a mission to trim down.
And on the other hand, you will have to load yourself with high quality protein and complex carbs in order to pack on the muscle when you are bulking up or trying to add lean muscle mass.
In both cases though, getting adequate protein is absolutely essential for your success because protein provides the necessary building blocks that your body needs to recover properly from training and grow.
This is why so many people opt to include muscle building protein shakes and smoothies, whether high-carb or low-carb, in their workout regimen instead of just trying to focus only on a whole food diet.
Protein shakes make it easy for you not to miss out on getting the proper calories and grams of protein that you need each day, which are essential for building lean muscle mass while bulking or cutting.
So here is a list of some awesome ingredients that you can use to create the perfect protein shake for your muscle building needs.
1. Whey Protein
If you have been around the health and fitness community for any length of time then you know that whey protein literally does it all!
Whey protein is by far the most popular and also important ingredients for building muscles, gaining an overall edge in performance and dropping body fat.
It is also contains two specific proteins called lactalbumin and lactoglobulin that are great for enhancing your immune system and increasing overall health and vitality.
Among all of the different types of protein on the market today, whey protein has a big advantage for creating an anabolic effect because it gets absorbed the fastest into your system.
This is why it is the preferred choice for post-workout.
Furthermore, a high quality whey protein isolate contains few calories compared to other protein sources along with only trace amounts of carbohydrates and fat.
And to top it all off, whey protein gives you a feeling of satiety which will help to prevent anyone from over-snacking while dieting.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has made a big hit in recent years not only because it is an excellent source of probiotics but also is surprisingly high in protein.
Greek yogurt is made by straining off the whey, which is what gives it a very thick and creamy consistency, much more than other types of yogurt.
Because the whey is removed during processing, it naturally contains less sugar and carbohydrates and more muscle building protein when compared with regular yogurt.
So without a doubt, you should definitely include Greek yogurt in your muscle building shakes since it packs at least two times more protein than regular yogurt and will still give you all of the health enhancing probiotics that your gut needs.
3. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another all-time favorite muscle building food amongst bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts because it consists of relatively slow releasing protein called casein protein.
This makes it an ideal choice later in the day and especially before going to sleep because it can produce an anti-catabolic effect where it helps to preserve muscle mass.
In addition, it’s also a great source of calcium, vitamin B12 and other important nutrients that your body needs to recover and grow.
It is this impressive nutrient profile that makes cottage cheese another essential protein source that you can add to your muscle building shake and use when you need that slow releasing protein effect.
Although we have been focusing on protein so far, you can’t forget the importance of high quality carbohydrates when it comes to your shakes.
With that said, oatmeal is by far one of the best sources for high quality muscle building complex carbohydrates, and for two reasons.
The first reason is that oats have a very low glycemic index value and the second is that it is a minimally processed food, especially if you buy steel cut or Irish oats.
Additionally, oatmeal has more fiber and a better micro-nutrient profile than most other sources of carbs like potatoes and rice.
And with the high quality fiber content, it can definitely help to increase the feeling of satiety and therefore help to decrease hunger; which makes it great for dieting.
In short, adding some old fashioned oats to your shake can help to promote greater fat loss while supporting the preservation of lean muscle tissue and giving you a clean form of energy.
Bananas can be considered the closest thing to the perfect, post-workout muscle building food (they can also be a great pre-workout food as well!).
This is because a nine inch long banana consists of approximately 600 milligrams of potassium which is essential to get your muscles on the road to recovery.
Additionally, bananas not only add a sweetness that can provide an excellent mouth watering flavor to a relatively dull shake, but also provides a smooth and creamy texture, even when you make your shake with water.
You’ll probably want to steer clear of bananas when you are cutting, but if you are trying to pack on some muscle or bulking-up, bananas are the way to go!
Some Extra Ingredients
There are a number of extra ingredients that you can add to your muscle building shakes to top them off for your specific needs.
- Berries: You can add some frozen berries to get an extra dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that would be great to fight off free radicals after a brutal training session.
- Healthy Fats: You can also add any type of all-natural fresh ground nut butter such as peanut or almond to get your Omega 6 fats or ground flax seeds to increase your intake of the more important Omega 3 fats.
- Milk: If you are bulking or on a mass cycle and want extra calories in your shake then you can add some form of whole milk. If you are cutting then try unsweetened almond or coconut milk, which both make for a nice thick and smooth shake while keeping it lo-cal.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you really have a lot of ingredients available to make the best muscle building shake tailored to your specific needs to get the maximum benefits.
Plus, you can always keep it interesting by rotating the ingredients so that you don’t get bored or burned out.
What are your favorite ingredients that you put into your muscle building shakes? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Nichole Arne is a health and fitness instructor and has been working in the industry for over 15 years. She is dedicated to helping educate men and women all over the country on living a healthier lifestyle. Nichole is also a weight loss coach and loves to take on clients who have nearly given up and lost all hope on ever achieving their weight loss goals. Seeing a client’s success is what motivates her to keep on striving for faster results while developing better diet and training systems.