If you're a bodybuilder looking to build muscle, the importance of nutrition equals that of training. One macronutrient bodybuilders focus on in particular is protein, as protein is responsible for muscle repair and cell growth. If you're having trouble getting all your protein needs from whole foods, either due to time, cost or health reasons, a protein smoothie diet could help you bulk up without resorting to copious quantities of meat, fish and eggs for your protein.
The Bodybuilder's Protein Bible
The amount of protein you need depends on your age, activity levels and weight, though the International Society of Sports Nutrition advises that highly active individuals such as bodybuilders should consume 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. This works out to 0.64 to 0.91 gram per pound. Dietitian Rob Skinner of Georgia Tech Athletic Association recommends a similar amount, advising men to get 2.5 grams per kilogram, or 1.14 grams per pound, and women to get 2 grams per kilogram, or 0.91 gram per pound.
Protein Smoothie Basics
A protein smoothie will generally contain a few simple ingredients. While you may be able to buy premade high-protein smoothies at your local supplement store, your best bet is to make your own. Each smoothie should be based around a protein powder, such as whey, egg, casein or rice protein powder. One scoop of protein powder typically contains around 20 grams of protein. After this, you can get creative. Trainer Bryan DiSanto recommends experimenting with different ingredients in your smoothie and trying such concoctions as a chocolate, peanut butter and banana smoothie. Alternatively, try a greens smoothie with fat-free yogurt, spinach, mango and apple.
If you're looking for muscle-building advantages of basing your diet around smoothies rather than protein-dense foods, you'll be searching for a long time. According to trainer and coach Elena Voropay of "Iron Man Magazine," shakes and smoothies are quick and convenient, but you burn more calories eating whole foods and may find them more satiating. Therefore, it might be wise not to consume a smoothie-only diet and just have a couple per day as snacks -- or if you're on the go and can't sit down to a full meal.
Make your smoothies so they fit your goals. If you're looking to build muscle, you need high-calorie smoothies. That means using whole milk or coconut milk instead of water, adding high-sugar fruits like bananas, raisins or pineapple and bumping up the carb and fat content with oats, cereals, carb powders, nuts and nut butters. When leaning out or dropping weight, though, the secret is to make lower-calorie (but just as tasty) smoothies. Stick to water, skim milk or almond milk for your liquid. Blend in fibrous veggies such as spinach, kale or broccoli and add low-sugar fruits like berries for sweetness. By varying the ingredients, you can make a protein smoothie that fits in with your nutrition goals.