I’ve been on a gym binge these past few weeks, often averaging six consecutive days of weight training and intensive cardio. I’ve put on a few kilograms of muscle, though I’m still trying to lose some surplus fat- I’m aiming for a leaner body without any significant muscle loss.
In a typical day, I usually get my gram-of-protein per pound-of-bodyweight through natural sources such as grilled chicken breasts (31g per piece) or steak (about 70g per steak). It’s easy enough to get to the consumption targets I’ve set out for myself, especially when you’re as famished as I am.
With Ramzan turning my meal schedule upside down this month, I’ve been struggling to fill the void that my regular diet left in its stead. It doesn’t help that a majority of my intake consists of deep fried pakoras, samosas and jalebis- neglible if not negative protein. Almost immediately, I started losing muscle instead of fat. Now that’s a big no-no if you know how hard it is to gain that muscle in the first place.
After about a week of feeling drained and useless at the gym, I have resorted to consuming at least half of my protein through a protein shake. I thought the perfect recipe would act as an apt meal replacemen; then I went a step further to include nutritional foods into the shake that I did not eat on the regular. Now I don’t recommend taking protein powder or workout supplements to anyone, simply because I’m not a personal trainer, nutritionist or physician. If you choose to consume protein powder in any form, do so at your own risk and judgment.
What I can say from personal experience is that a shake or two a day have significantly improved my energy levels, my muscle retention, growth and subdued my appetite for desserts. My protein keeps me going while I fast, and does not leave me with a vaccumous feeling in my stomach.
I’m currently using a low-carb, Dutch Chocolate flavored, whey protein based powder from a brand called Isopure. Each scoop contains around 25g of protein, though the amount that one should ideally consume varies from person to person, so look it up, consult someone, whatever.
If you’re looking for a simple, no bullshit protein shake that acts as a replacement for a meal, a pre-workout or post-workout repair, or simply fulfills your protein intake, this could work for you. I’m not the biggest fan of peanut butter, so I use almond butter in the shake- people who prefer peanut butter should use that instead. I also despise bananas, so I restrict the amount of bananas I include. Bear in mind that this recipe is tuned to my taste profile and any alterations that work for you can result in a yummy shake regardless.
Isopure Dutch Chocolate Whey (Low Carb), 1-2 scoop(s)
Almond butter (you can use peanut butter), 1-2 tablespoon(s)
Half a banana
Skimmed milk, 1 cup
Oats (optional), handful
Vanilla essence, one drop (or two)
Ice, as desired
Voila! I have a temporary fix to maintain muscle which allows for a good and energetic work out, a nutritious meal replacement, a supplement and appetite inhibitor all-in-one. You’re welcome.