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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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