HomenutritionWhy I Don't Use Protein Shakes Or Recommend Protein Supplements

Why I Don’t Use Protein Shakes Or Recommend Protein Supplements

See the video here:

Why I Don’t Use Protein Shakes Or Recommend Protein Supplements

In this video, I talk about why it is

that throughout my bodybuilding career, for the most part

and since the 1990s, late 1990s,

I have not used any protein shakes nor do I advocate it

or use it with my clients

who are getting ready for body building competitions

or any clients.

It’s really something I completely stand against

and in this video,

I’m going to talk about why I don’t use them.

And hopefully it helps you

make a little bit of a more informed

and less marketing-oriented decision

in terms of whether you should be using

protein shakes or not.

This is me right before I started bodybuilding

My Muscle Mass Gains Without Using Protein Shakes

So, today we’ll talk about why it is

that I stopped using protein shakes.

So just some background.


When I started training in Trinidad,

I was 125 pounds, six feet tall.

Over the course, from the age of 14 years old

when I started, being painfully skinny, to

20 years old, just about 19-20 years old,

I went from 125 pounds

to 198 and a half pounds in contest shape.


Not just 198 and a half pounds off season,

Contest shape, pretty much cut.


That’s a significant amount of muscle mass

that I put on.


And during that period of time,

I didn’t have protein shakes.

I was a teenager growing up in Trinidad,

I didn’t have access to any of those things.


how i got fat from using protein shakes

My Experience (Getting Fat) From Using Protein Shakes

And I would read the magazines

and really and truly think that one day

I’ll come to the United States, and I did at 20 years old.


And I always felt that when I came here,

I’d be able to have access to protein shakes

and I’d be just like the guys in the magazines

who were so much more developed than I was.

Little did I know then that it was really,

because they were on drugs,

and I wasn’t on drugs and would never be on drugs,

but the magazines really created for us back then

this idea that you really needed protein shakes

to be successful as a bodybuilder.

So much so that I completely ignored the fact that

I had accomplished so much

without even touching a protein shake.


But when I came to United States

and I was in a position all of a sudden

to have access to protein shakes and afford protein shakes,

I really expected that there would be

this tremendous change in my physique,

a tremendous change in my performance at the gym,

and I don’t think anything really happened.


If anything, to be very honest, I got fat.

I came to the US at 198 and a half pounds, as I said,

and by the age of 24, four years later,

I was 252 pounds.


Before I started my preparations

for my first natural bodybuilding contest

here in United States,

I was 252

and it didn’t feel good.


I was having a protein shake every day

and I was eating

with the idea too of trying to put as much muscle mass

and mass in general as possible.


The whole bulking up idea,

which I do not advocate either.

And I haven’t done as well, since the late ’90s,

I’m going to do a video about that as well.


In contest shape without protein shakes

The Rule Of No Protein Shakes During Natural Bodybuilding Contest Prep

But what was the most stand out to me

was that when I dieted down for my first contest,

I was starting to diet down for my first contest

my bodybuilding coach, Mr. Ian Mercer,

who is perhaps one of the greatest

natural bodybuilding coaches of all time,

along with Charlie Carollo,

who was the then owner of Fifth Avenue Gym

and chairman of the then, I believe, WNBF|INBF

(or it could even predate that.)


But what they told me was that before a contest,

you stop taking protein shakes

when you’re doing your preparations.


And that didn’t make much sense to me

’cause I said, well, I thought protein shakes

were really an important part of bodybuilding

and that you needed that extra protein

to put on muscle mass and everything else.


And Ian Mercer, my coach as I said,

looked at me and said, “No, before a competition,

you take all those things out

’cause it’s not going to help you.


You only eat solid food.”

Now, some background.


Anything that Ian Mercer told me back then, and even today,

I just listen and go ahead with it

because the man had literally decades of experience

at the time when I met him.


And I just had a couple of competitions under my belt.

And I think one of the most important factors

is being able to listen and learn

from those who’ve gone before.


And I’ve always had a certain reverence

for those who I worked with and I listened to him implicitly

and I stopped the protein shakes.

And I cut down, in a very legendary way, from 252 pounds

to my contest weight that I came in for my show

at 209 pounds three months later.


So I lost a lot and I was actually surprised

that in the four-year period, with all those protein shakes

that I wasn’t bigger than that.


Yes, I put on just about maybe nine and a half pounds,

which is good over a four-year period.


It’s excellent actually over a four-year period.

But I wasn’t sure that having the protein shakes

made that much of a difference

considering the progress I was making

before I was not taking any protein shakes.


25 years of natural bodybuilding without protein shakes

Why I Stopped Using Protein Shakes Permanently 25 Years Ago


And then here’s the strange thing

I felt better than I ever did

when I stopped using those protein shakes.

My stomach felt better.


My digestion was better.


My energy levels were better.


I was cutting down.


I was leaner.


I looked my best.


I didn’t lose any strength.


I replaced the liquid protein I was taking

with solid protein

and I felt overall better,

more like my natural self and my normal self.


And at the end of the competition, which I won,

I told myself, well, if I feel so good

without the protein shakes and did so well

before without protein shakes,

why should I go back to using protein shakes

on a regular basis?


And so I stopped.


I stopped completely.


That was somewhere around maybe 1997.


And I haven’t had a protein shake since.


Ian Mercer one of the best natural bodybuilding coaches of all time


Comparison of Natural Bodybuilders Using Protein Shakes vs Those Not Using Protein Shakes

So my clients, as I went on

and became also a bodybuilding coach

and started training clients,

a lot of them would come to me and they’d be adamant

about the fact that they would not stop

taking protein shakes.

They were completely adamant.

And at the time I would allow it.


And so as I always talk

about the importance of experimentation,

what I had was this really interesting

controlled experiment front of me,

in that I had some clients

who are getting ready for competitions,

trying to get as lean as possible,

men and women who were taking protein shakes.


And then I had others who were exactly doing the same thing,

eating more or less the same diet,

training with me, training pretty much the same way

and not taking protein shakes.

Natural bodybuilders using protein shakes lost less fat

Natural Bodybuilders Using Protein Shakes Lost Less Body Fat Compared To Those Eating Only Solid Food

And interestingly enough

and keeping with what Ian Mercer had said,

those who kept on taking protein shakes

did not lose as much body fat

as those who were not taking protein shakes.


The protein shakes did seem to make a difference.

The ones who were consuming no protein shakes

had the same protein intakes as those with the shakes,

except those who were taking the shakes,

they were getting liquid protein.


Some of them were taking as many as two shakes a day.


So why is that?


Why is it that taking protein shakes

seems to have a bit of an adverse effect

in terms of body fat reduction?

The molecular structure of proteins

Why Protein Shakes Don’t Work As Well As Solid Protein For Fat Loss

Well, there is a reason for it.

If we think about the molecular structure of fats,

carbohydrates and proteins

and how our body breaks down these macro nutrients

for our body to be able to use them,

we can see a bit of an understanding of how it works.


So molecules of fats and molecules of carbohydrates,

they pretty much are easily broken down.


They’re very much easily broken down by the body

because it’s not as complex a structure as protein.


To break down protein,

our body has to use more energy

than it does to break down carbohydrates or fat.


So with that being said,

if I was to consume 200 calories worth of protein,

and I was also able to consume 200 calories worth of

either fats or carbohydrates,

the amount of energy that my body would have to use

to break it down,

would essentially create what’s called a thermic effect.

Diet induced thermogenesis is decreased with protein shakes

It increases your metabolism.

Now every food, even fats and carbohydrates

do have a thermic effect,

but protein has the highest one

because those molecular strands are so complex

and if you eat something like a chicken breast,

your body has to break down that chicken breast

into the individual essential amino acids,

which then go into your bloodstream

and your body can use.


Your body can’t use solid protein.

Your body has to break it down

into the individual amino acids.


And that’s important because that requires,

like I said, energy,

and creates the thermic effect.

But every time you eat a protein meal,

a solid protein meal that is,

your metabolism increases slightly

as it breaks down everything

into the individual amino acids.


Now, if you’re taking a pre-digested protein drink,

it’s a little bit different, like the whey proteins,

even from the vegan versions as well.


It’s just not the same.


It’s already broken down.


So, you’re not going to have as much of a thermic effect.

Liquid calories from protein shakes vs solid protein

The Problem With Liquid Calories


You’re also going to get liquid calories.

Liquid calories are a lot of calories

coming in at the same time.


And let’s talk for a second about

how our bodies are designed.

Now, the only real liquid calories that the human body

is designed to take in is that of human breast milk

and human breast milk is by all means,

and all milk is a weight gain formula for young mammals.

That’s all it is.


Breast milk is a weight formula for young mammals.

Now you think about something like Whey Protein Shakes.

It sounds complicated, but Whey is a milk product.

It is a milkshake.

All the marketing in the world can’t change that fact.

It’s still a milkshake.

And as we know, our body as we get older,

is designed to take in solid foods not liquid.

Liquid calories coming in

tend to be a problem for us

because it’s too much coming in at one point in time.

When too many calories come in at one point in time,

even though it’s not high in fat,

you still have that problem of

your body is not designed

to take in too many calories coming in at one time.


So, what does it [your body] do?

If there’s too much coming in,

either we use it as energy

or we hold on to some of it.


So, I think as well that if you think about

how it would work,

the thermic effect from a protein shake

is never going to be the same as what’s going to happen

eating solid food

and I’ve been able to prove it with clients.

When clients switch from solid,

sorry, switch from a liquid protein intake

to the same amount of protein from solid foods,

they do see a significant increase

in muscle mass, strength and decrease in body fat

when or if they’re trying to reduce their body fat levels.


Protein shakes don’t seem to be the best solution

if you’re trying to really maximize your muscle mass,

or I would probably say, if you’re trying to lose body fat

especially so.

Epidemiological data suggests protein shakes adversely affect weight loss

Protein Shakes Are Not Natural And Are Highly Processed Foods That Our Bodies Are Not Designed To Consume


It’s interesting as well,

that so many fitness enthusiasts

talk about the importance of being natural,

eating natural foods and unprocessed foods.

And I’m a big advocate as well.


And looking back, it was one of the reasons too,

why I stopped using protein shakes because

there’s nothing more unnatural than a protein shake.


It doesn’t exist in nature in any form whatsoever

and you can’t take natural ingredients,

put it together in an unnatural way,

introduce something that’s completely new to the human diet

and say, because it has natural ingredients it’s natural,

it’s not, that’s not how it works.

You can take all the organic products you want

to make organic ice cream,

it’s still ice cream.


It’s still bad for you if you’re thinking about trying to lose weight,

if you’re thinking about trying to watch,

your caloric intake,

the same applies to protein shakes.

misleading practices of protein supplement companies

The Misleading Marketing Practices Of Protein Supplement Companies


The other thing that was very troubling

was that as I became more involved

in the bodybuilding world,

I was able to see a bit of a dissonance

between what people have said they took

and what they really took.


I personally knew several bodybuilders

who were huge endorsers of different protein shakes

and they never took a protein shake in their lives.


They sold it, but they never took it.


And myself, as I became more and more involved

and more successful in bodybuilding,

I got contacted by several brands and they would ask me,

would you endorse our brand in exchange for,

usually they would offer free products,

which I wasn’t interested in

because I don’t use supplements at all.


And in some cases, they would offer some money for it.


And my response was always,

well, I don’t really believe in taking protein shakes.


And they were always saying,

in every single piece of correspondence we ever had,

it didn’t matter.


I didn’t have to use the protein shakes.

I just had to say that I did!


And say that my results and my gains and my success

were due to me using this particular product.


Now, integrity is something that’s very important to me.

And I see in the fitness industry,

so many personal trainers,

so many athletes with their sponsorships that and the other,

and they advocate the use of things

that they don’t necessarily believe in

because they make money from it.


Because they have a vested interest in selling it.

I’m going to tell you, through my entire career,

I have never sold any form of supplement,

never advocated it.


I’ve walked away from a lot of money on the table,

and early on in my career,

when things were really hard,

I looked hard at those decisions I was making,

but it’s important for us to walk the walk.


It’s important for us to be honest.


It’s not about making a buck

and it’s not about misleading the public

in saying that you’re taking something that you don’t.


The other problem as well

was the fact that so many of those athletes

use anabolic steroids, and if you do

it doesn’t matter whether you use protein shakes or not.


We have to be honest about it,

honest about what we do and what we don’t do.


And my job as a personal trainer

so far has always been enough for me

to earn an honest living.


Anything outside of that might bring me more income,

but it’s not going to help me sleep at night

because my mission is and always has been to help people.


And making money selling something I don’t use or believe in

does not help anyone.


And so I have nothing to do with it.


Never did it.


Never will do it.

In fact, in this channel, you can be guaranteed

all the information you hear

is going to be based on my experience, what I’ve seen,

and you’re not going to get any sales pitches about

any particular products,

it’s not going to happen.


I hope that

this video helps you get some perspective on protein shakes,

helps you see a little bit through the veil of

all the marketing that’s usually associated with it.


And it helps you make an informed decision.


You Don’t Need Protein Shakes Or Any Supplements To Realize Your Fitness Goals


You can do quite a lot!

And you can do so much

if you stop relying on externalities.

If you stopped thinking

that you need something outside of yourself,

a protein shake, a pre-workout drink,

all these pills and portions,

you don’t need anything, because all those things do

is distract you from what’s important.

What’s important is that you already have

all the tools you need to succeed.

You only need regular food, that’s all you need.


People in Third World countries do so much

without most of what we have here in the United States

and in developed countries,

because at the end of the day,

it really comes down to what you do

and it comes down to being as natural as possible.


Thanks so much for tuning into this video.


I hope you found it helpful,

do be sure to like and subscribe

because there will be so much more content

coming out on a regular basis and Excelsior!


Thanks for tuning in.

Related Articles:

Are Protein Shakes Bad For You?

You Don’t Need Large Amounts of Protein To Build Muscle

Related Videos:

Keto vs Low Carb Diets For Fat Loss: Insights From Natural Bodybuilding Contest Prep

Diet vs Training | What Matters Most for Body Transformation

What If You Believed You Were Taking Steroids- The Placebo Effect In Action

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Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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