If you’re using a protein shake, you may be wondering how often to drink protein shakes to gain weight.
Today we’re going to discuss how this most-popular supplement works, how often to drink protein shakes, and what they do for your weight gain.
How Often To Drink Protein Shakes for Weight Gain?
The short answer is that most people should aim to drink only 1 protein shake per day to gain weight. This is because the goal is to increase protein intake, which should be a whole-diet effort using whole foods and complete meals wherever possible. 1-2 shakes per day is optimal.
Protein shakes can be a useful addition to this process, but they also take up space in your diet and might distract from more important things.
Drinking more than 2 shakes starts to be a concern for shortfalls in the rest of your diet – where you should be using wholefoods like seafood and high-quality meats to get more protein, instead.
This means that protein shakes should play a deliberate role in your diet. They should be used as a boost of protein during the day, as a way to build out larger homemade mass gainer shakes, or as the perfect post-workout weight gain aid.
Recommended: Checkout this article for some homemade protein shake recipes that can help you gain healthy weight.
When To Use Protein Shakes For Muscle Growth?
You can use protein shakes at any time of day – and some athletes will drink 2-3 shakes a day to maintain good protein levels. This is especially important when drinking protein shakes after a workout – which can support recovery and muscle growth (1).
The main balance you need to strike is to make sure you’re not just using protein shakes because of a bad diet without enough protein.
Lots of skinny guys think adding protein shakes will make them big and strong – and they can help – but the rest of your diet still needs to support this goal.
Real food sources are richer in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, which you won’t get in most protein shakes. If you’re using 5 protein shakes per day, then there are a few things you need to consider:
- Is this just an excuse to not improve your dieting?
- Are you using up all your calories in protein shakes and missing out on real food?
- Are you deficient in muscle-supporting vitamins and minerals – like magnesium?
Protein Supplements for Weight Gain: Alternatives to Protein Shakes
You can use mass gainers and meal-replacement shakes instead of protein shakes. They also contain protein, but blend in extra carbs – and some even add other essential nutrients.
You can drink multiple protein shakes per day without any problems, but they aren’t the best choice. This is why they’re supplements – if you want to replace meals, then you want to use a high-calorie, protein- and micronutrient-rich shake designed for that purpose.
If you’re trying to add a large amount of calories, you can use a mass gainer, but you should focus on getting plenty of vitamins and minerals as well as protein and calories!
When To Drink Protein Shakes For Weight Gain?
You can drink a protein shake at any time of the day to improve your weight gain but the best time to drink protein shakes to gain weight is after a workout. After exercise, your body is nutrient-sensitive and is trying to replenish energy levels with carbs and proteins – which protein shakes can help with.
Otherwise, protein shakes can be taken throughout the day. They’re particularly useful during long periods of not being able to eat a full meal, like during the working day between lunch and dinner.
Milk proteins are better for normal use, whey is best after exercise, and casein is best before sleep to support overnight muscle growth.
How Many Protein Shakes Per Day To Gain Weight?
The best choice for weight gain is typically 1-2 protein shakes per day. 1 is a good rule of thumb, while the second can be used as a post-workout shake if you’re really trying to pack on high-quality mass.
As mentioned above, taking too many protein shakes has a real opportunity cost: it takes up space for other, better food choices. 1-2 protein shakes can be used to get your protein intake up and get some extra calories, while also being combined with a good day of eating, too.
Precautions: Protein Shakes For Weight Gain – Are There Risks?
There are no major risks to protein shakes, but you need to make sure that you’re not relying on them to the neglect of other parts of your diet. It’s important to not let protein shakes replace high-quality wholefoods.
Natural, whole food protein sources are the best choice, and whey protein shakes should take up a little slack when you’re busy or after workouts.
They’re easy to use, but they will not make you gain weight faster – they’re just easy to use and convenient. They can improve weight gain quality, but not quantity.
Finally, whey protein shakes can be quite difficult to digest for some people – myself included. Typically, you will be better off taking whey protein shakes more often, rather than using huge shakes with 3+ scoops. It’s also important to get a good ratio of liquid to powder for digestive and taste reasons!
Conclusion: Our Final Thoughts
You can drink whey protein shakes as often as you want, but the best frequency is probably 1-2 a day. Ideally 1, with the rest of your protein coming from food options like seafood, beans and pulses, lentils, and high-quality meats.
This should answer your question: “how often should I drink protein shakes to gain weight?”
Protein shakes work best as a supplement to your diet – built around the timings and convenience you need after a workout or during a long working day. It’s a way to boost your protein intake but shouldn’t be the main source in your diet.
Be careful to build your diet around your needs, and then build your protein shake afterwards to optimize, rather than using it as an alternative to good protein sources!
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- Mass Gainer Vs Meal Replacement for Weight Gain
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.