Muscle Milkshakes

Shake it or blend it: Protein drinks can help you achieve your muscle-gaining goals. These six recipes will tantalize your taste buds and fuel your gym-going efforts.
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If you’re a bodybuilder, protein shakes aren’t just an option for your diet — they’re an essential component. They provide a quick, easy-to-prepare meal that you can have anytime, anywhere. They are packed with muscle-building protein (and sometimes other key nutrients, as well, depending on what product you choose). And they are especially advantageous before and after workouts, when your body needs those nutrients fast.

A problem with protein shakes, if you can call it that, is how easy it is to fall into a rut. The same shake time after time, day after day, can get boring in a hurry. With that in mind, we’ve created six interesting and tasty recipes, suitable for drinking either before workouts or as a snack, for you to sample and add to your nutritional repertoire.

Apple Cobbler
Serves 1

1 cup unsweetened apple juice
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

Place all ingredients into a shaker. Place the lid on tightly and shake for one minute. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 253 calories, 20 g protein, 0 g fat, 44 g carbs

Tip: Use an apple-juice box and a to-go cup of applesauce to make this recipe gym-bag-friendly.

Choco-Pomegranate Blend
Serves 1

1 cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup unsweetened soy milk
1 scoop chocolate soy protein powder

Place all ingredients into a shaker. Place the lid on tightly and shake for one minute. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 276 calories, 27 g protein, 34 g carbs, 2.5 g fat

Note: This shake is particularly good before workouts because pomegranate juice has been found to protect nitric oxide from being broken down. And since soy is high in arginine, you’ll be looking at a mega-pump in the gym.

Black Banana Forest
Serves 1

2 cups water
1 small banana
½ cup frozen cherries
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 scoop chocolate whey-casein blend protein powder

Place all ingredients into a blender. Place the lid on tightly and blend for one minute or until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 334 calories, 37 g protein, 42 g carbs, 3 g fat

Blueberry Fields of Protein
Serves 1

1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

Place all ingredients into a blender. Place the lid on tightly and blend for one minute or until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 285 calories, 29 g protein, 28 g carbs, 7 g fat

Note: You can substitute 1 cup of low-fat (1%) milk for the soy milk. The exchange will add a gram of protein and 8 grams of carbs and remove 2 grams of fat from the recipe totals.

Good Morning Muscle
Serves 1

½ cup orange juice
½ cup acai juice
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder

Place all ingredients into a shaker cup. Place the lid on tightly and shake for one minute or until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 185 calories, 21 g protein, 25.5 g carbs, 1 g fat

Lean ’n’ Green
Serves 1

1 cup iced green tea
½ cup orange juice
1 cucumber, trimmed and peeled
1 cup sliced pineapple
2 mint leaves
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder

Place all ingredients into a blender. Place the lid on tightly and blend for one minute or until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Serve.

Nutrition Info: 243 calories, 23 g protein, 38 g carbs, 1 g fat

Quality Ingredients
Here is a small selection of supplements we used to create these shakes.

BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24
The Vitamin Shoppe Spiru-Soy
Optimum Nutrition NitroCore 24
MHP Probolic-SR
The Vitamin Shoppe Açai Juice
Ito En Sencha Shot Green Tea

Muscle Mix-ins

Choose a supplement to add to your shake to fuel your muscle growth.

Arginine: Take 3 to 5 grams 30 minutes before and after workouts to boost your nitric-oxide levels to promote muscle growth.

BCAAs: Most protein powders already include the amino acids found in BCAAs. But taking 5 grams before breakfast, preworkout and postworkout can help set up the perfect mass-gaining day.

Beta-Alanine: Adding 4 grams daily to your shake can help fight fatigue, improve endurance and set you up to build muscle.

Creatine: Adding 1 to 2 grams to a shake three times (before breakfast, preworkout and postworkout) a day can help you experience the ultimate muscle pump.

Glutamine: Like creatine, glutamine adds volume to muscle cells, which will increase their size. Taking 5 grams after your workout can help you recover.

Flaxseeds: These fibrous seeds will help you get omega fatty acids, which have been shown to fight inflammation and assist in weight-loss efforts, in your diet. Add one to two tablespoons daily to your shakes.