How to Bulk Up With Protein Shakes

Smoothie, yogurt, milkshake with frozen berry, oats decorated grated chocolate
Two smoothies on a table topped with berries and oats. (Image: Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock/Getty Images)

Body builders need more protein than the average adult to build and maintain muscle mass. To help them meet these needs, a wide variety of supplements are available, including protein shakes. Although protein from a shake doesn't affect the body differently than protein from meat, dairy or other food sources, their portability and minimal preparation makes shakes convenient for some athletes. Use shakes to meet your protein needs, balance your diet with other healthy foods and work out regularly to build muscle and bulk up.

Step 1

Determine how much protein you need. According to the American Dietetic Association, body builders need 0.63 to 0.77 g protein per pound of body weight each day. Plan to meet your needs by eating fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, beans and tofu in addition to protein shakes.

Step 2

Experiment with different brands of protein shake until you find the ones you like best. To maximize their effectiveness, choose products that contain both whey and casein; the body absorbs these two types of protein at different rates, so a shake that contains both has the longest-lasting benefits. If you can't find a product that contains both, find one of each; mix them together. Drink half the mixture at a time.

Step 3

Drink a protein shake approximately an hour before working out to fuel your body during exercise. Drink a second shake immediately after your training session to help your muscles strengthen and rebuild.

Step 4

Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains and natural fat sources, such as avocado and nuts, into your meals. Limit the amount of processed food and soda that you consume. A healthy diet will give you energy for your workouts and help your body strengthen.

Step 5

Meet with a trainer for a personalized workout routine. Each body is different; a trainer can help you put together the exercise regimen that will benefit you most. Follow your trainer's instructions; don't work out more often or more intensely than he suggests.


According to Manouchehr Saljoughian of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, whey protein is the most effective type of protein for body building.

Talk to your doctor before beginning a strenuous exercise program.

Be patient while you build strength and muscle mass. Changes to your body take time.


Don't attempt to get all your daily calories from protein shakes. Maintain a balanced diet for health and wellness.

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