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

What Top Natural Bodybuilders Look Like | Natural Bodybuilding 

Do This To Transform Your Home Gym Into A Real Gym!

With so many of us training at home, some miss that commercial gym feeling, and in this video we go over how you can easily capture that real gym vibe!

With this in place, you'll feel like you never left commercial gyms behind!!!🤣

With this in place, training at home will make you feel like you are still in a commercial gym!!!

I do hope that you get as much of a laugh from the video as @egcitrin and I had making it for you!

Thanks so much for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#gymhumor #gymlife #workout #fitnesshumor #humor #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #funnystuff #funnyvideos #naturalbodybuildingvideos #justforfun #personaltrainer #fitover40 #excelsior #bodybuilding #fitnessfun #fitness #roguefitness #roguerack #ryourogue

113 16

This is 49.

Thankful for one more round around the sun.

And every year I take a photo of myself around my birthday to show where I am as the years go by. It's been 19 years now since my last contest, and here I am.

There's no major diet changes for the shoot, nor is there any change in training. This is just me as I am all the time.

And it's important as I hope it gives you a sense of what can be achieved without drugs, without steroids, GH, TRT, protein shakes, fat burners, pre-workouts and whatever newfangled supplement phases in and out of popularity.

This is just hard work, dedication and time.

(And if I'm honest, every year I feel more and more self conscious about these shots, and I hurt my wrist recently and had this crazy idea that I would be completely lopsided as I can't do certain movements of late. All of which was in my head and I took the darn photos anyway.)

I hope they inspire you on your path, and I hope you find a path of peace and transcendence as I have, that rewards you not so much by how you look, but by how you feel following it! As that's the "secret" if there ever was one!

Thanks in advance for the well wishes, know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #personaltrainer #fitnessmotivation #fitnesslifestyle #naturalbodybuildinglifestyle #noshortcuts

281 75

The Surprising Truth: Steroid & Natural Bodybuilders Look Alike To Most People!

Click on my bio link to see it or go to my YouTube Channel: Naturally Intense!

In this video I talk about the fact that the general public can't tell the difference between a steroid using bodybuilder and a high level natural bodybuilder.

As far as most people are concerned, we are all lumped in the same box, and to highlight this, I talk about the time that my good friend, Kai Greene and I were guest posing at a local high school show and then top IFBB Pro Orville Burke showed up to guest pose as well.

Orville was two weeks away from winning the 2000 Night Of The Champions hands down and looked incredible!

But even though he outweighed us by about 50lbs or so,(and looked nothing like us!) the audience could not tell the difference!

It's a story and I go over as well why it's so hard for people to spot someone using drugs.

A slip that allows for so many actors to obviously use steroids and get away with lying about it by claiming their 6 month 30lbs of new muscle-ripped-to-shreds-physique came from "eating a lot of chicken breasts and training every day."

A slip that conversely makes it such that we natural athletes are constantly being accused of using steroids, when anyone in the sport can clearly see that nothing could be further from the truth!

It's a really great piece and you can access it by clicking on my bio link.

Thanks as always for taking the time to look at my work and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #kai greene #orvilleburke #5thavenuegym #naturalbodybuildingvideos #drugfreebodybuilding #natty #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #excelsior #bodybuilding #nosteroids

91 8

80lb One Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Presses (I Hurt My Wrist)

So I flipped my bike, did a full aerial rotation and landed superhero style- BUT while I often dress like a superhero I am still quite human, so I really hurt my wrist.

But that, of course, won't stop me!

If one side hurts, use the other side and this is my last all out set with 80lbs for 8 reps, and I would have gone heavier but there's a point where just balancing the weight on one side becomes almost impossible!

So still training and I hope you are too!!!

Thanks for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #nuobell #hometraining #homeworkout #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #shouldertraining #shoulderday

35 10

The Dark Side of Bodybuilding Supplements: My Bad Experience

I was 16 years old and my training partner and I saved up our hard earned cash to buy the supplement called Hot Stuff, which was supposed to be a "metabolic optimizer"

Everyone was raving about how great it was, so we bought it and immediately noticed a difference in our workouts and maybe even a hint more in the way of gains.

Then all of a sudden, it was nowhere to be found, completely off the market. And we couldn't understand why.

A few months later it was back and we were first in line as it had worked so well the first time. But this time, nothing happened.

We felt nothing at all, and wondered if it was all just a placebo?

It would be almost 25 years later that I learned that it was initially spiked with clenbuterol, an asthma medication approved ONLY for horses not fit for human use or animals in food production.

A substance on the very banned substance list, but used widely in bodybuilding as a fat burner. Now thankfully it wasn't a steroid, and don't think for one moment that this was an isolated incident. In recent years I've personally known several natural competitors who tested positive for banned substances and I can vouch that they didn't use anything outside of regular store bought and legal supplements.

Bear in mind that here in the US, there's no regulation on supplement content and the only reason Hot Stuff got pulled was because of a whistleblower. As such I don't recommend bodybuilding supplements to natural bodybuilders as you are often dealing with the type of contamination we see in the illegal drug industry. As people will do whatever it takes to sell their product, regardless of the consequences to your health.

So be careful with supplements, thanks as always for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#nosupplements #nosupps #nosupplementbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuilder

114 20

How long did it take to look like this? 34 years-start to finish.

From my humble origins at 6 ft, 125lbs, it would be 11 long years of truly soul scorching training and dedication to my diet before I would be able to step onto a natural bodybuilding stage and be definitively competitive. 11 years of often wondering if I ever had a chance of making it. But I kept going.

When I was finally onstage and winning contests it made no difference in how I trained and how I approached my diet. As all that mattered was that I be the best I could be today and kept on going.

And that's what I did. Ten years later I got to a place where I felt more or less satisfied by what I had accomplished, as I had a strong vision of what I wanted to look like and I wasn't going to stop until I passed it.

And so I just kept going. This was actually a few years after I had stopped competing, but it made no difference as I just kept going.

Fast forward 13 years from that point, working all out trying to beat yesterday's personal best, and you have this package you see here.

A full 34 years later.

The passage of time hasn't stopped me from doing things any differently as my path as a natural athlete is the reward itself, the challenge of working to always be better and the satisfaction of seeing how it carries across to every aspect of my life.

The fact that it took so long is a blessing, and I don't have any regrets whatsoever for doing it the natural way. Only invaluable life lessons and a longevity that makes me proud to think that I am almost half a century old, but still have a lot more in me to keep on going.

Doing anything naturally takes a long time and I hope that you too find that place where the process becomes a path and a reward in itself, and that you keep on going!

Thanks as always for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #personaltrainer #fitnessmotivation #fitnesslifestyle #naturalbodybuildinglifestyle #noshortcuts #embracethechallenge

175 16

High Intensity Lever Shoulder Machine Presses- 235lbsx8!

Another set up with the @betitanfit Lever Arms mounted on my @roguefitness Monster Lite Rack with a pull up attachment bar fixing the two together.

It feels just like a Hammer Strength Machine Shoulder Press, but it's heavy!!!

The arms alone weigh 55lbs and the angle is such that you can feel the weight all throughout the range of motion.

This was my last set and I was aiming at getting 6 reps but when I got to 6 I knew I had two more so I fought for it!!!

Still training, hope you are too and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #roguefitness #betitanfit #UnleashYourTitan #ryourogue #hometraining #homeworkout #roguerack #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #leverarms #shoulderworkout #shoulderpress

84 12

Training Elevates Mind, Body, and Soul- So I Always Train On Vacation.

It's a bit of a paradox.

Training, especially high intensity training, is blisteringly hard.

And yet, as hard as it is, it elevates us to a different plane.

Every excruciating rep bringing us nearer and nearer to being in what many refer to as a flow state.

Where there is no, "you" nor is there "a weight" there is only the activity of lifting.

A laser-like focus that takes us away from the mundane and repetitive cycles of every day life and instead acts as the ultimate "reset button".

As such, if I am on vacation, I don't want to stop having those peak moments, and it speaks to my overriding philosophy, which is the goal should be that you eat well and train consistently not because you fell you have to, but because you feel good when you do.

I hope you all have wonderful vacations and during those great moments, have even more great ones while working out.

Thanks as always for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideos #vacation #vacationtips #fitover40 #workout #gymlife #workoutmotivation #trainingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingmotivation

98 7
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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