In the bodybuilding world, packing on lean muscle mass takes both time and effort – the degree depending on how you go about reaching your goals. Some things people do tend to produce favorable results, while others, not so much.
Where do meal replacement shakes fit in? Are they a good thing to add to your current dietary routine, or are you better off without? Let’s investigate the issue further.
What Are Meal Replacement Shakes?
First, exactly what meal replacement shakes are needs to be addressed. Originally, these were designed to help those who were in too big of a rush to cook a well-balanced meal and thus need a quick option that was both easy to prepare and easy to consume. A powder that you either blend with milk or some other beverage (or potentially one that is already in a can) seems to be the perfect solution.
Most meal replacement shakes will contain all of the three macronutrients include fat, protein, and carbohydrates, however the proportion of each will vary depending on the individual product.
Some are lower in carbs for those low-carbers out there, while others have a lower fat content for those who are watching their calories.
Then there are also ‘zone’ type of products that tend to have an equal balance of each nutrient, giving you a very well rounded shake.
Calorie value again will vary depending on the particular brand, but most range from about 200 to 400 calories per serving. This is approximately the same amount as most people who are eating five to six smaller meals a day would need.
Meal Replacement Shakes And The Quest To Build Muscle
So, what about when it comes to building muscle? Are they helpful?
This depends on how you look at it. First off, meal replacement shakes can be a good option provided you are eating whole food sources too. Building muscle is a very calorie intensive process and as such, if you are trying to rely on meal replacement shakes to replace your current meals, you’re likely to be disappointed.
They simply will not provide enough total calories to get that weight gain process going.
Therefore, the solution is to use meal replacement shakes in addition to your current meals, helping to both up calories and prevent yourself from feeling overly stuffed from whole foods.
Trying to pack in 4000 plus calories can get to be a trying feat day after day, so a couple of shakes can definitely make this easier on yourself.
Additionally, because these tend to have slightly more dietary fat than typical ‘weight gainer’ shakes, they are a slightly better option since it won’t cause near the insulin spike that you’d get from all the sugar calories in a weight gainer.
Commercial Vs. Your Own
Finally, one thing you may want to consider though before running out and purchasing commercial varieties of meal replacements, is to simply make your own.
If you combine protein powder, raw oats, dextrose (available at supplement or some grocery stores) and finely chopped nuts, you’ve got a terrific meal replacement shake right at your fingertips without any added chemicals, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Additionally, you will also be the one who is controlling the calories in this shake, therefore you can get exactly what you need.
So, if you’re considering a meal replacement shake, keep these points in mid. They can work to help you gain muscle provided they are used in an appropriate manner. The minute you stop eating your usual meals though and start just pounding back these shakes is the minute you can kiss your optimum results down the drain. You must be smart with how you incorporate them.