Even as a fitness editor, I’ve never been one to drink protein shakes for several reasons: One, I usually work out after work, around 8 or 9 p.m., which means I don’t eat dinner until close to 10 and the last thing I need is extra calories before a late meal. Two, I’m not very good at food prepping, even if it’s just blending water or almond milk with dust (call me lazy). And three, I’m dairy-free, and many protein powders contain whey—a byproduct of cheese or milk’s casein—as their main source of protein.
Over the course of three weeks of near-daily shakes, I lost five pounds. I don’t know that the ingredients in the shakes themselves caused me to lose weight, but I do know that they aided in my portion control (a real problem for me). Whenever I drank one post-workout while cooking dinner, I ate less of my subsequent meal. And I had less of a sugar craving: Instead of eating a couple chunks of dark chocolate for dessert, I’d finish the last few sips of my shake and feel perfectly content.
What’s more, I didn’t lose muscle mass, as far as I can tell. I strength-train four days a week, and since sticking to the powder, I’ve never received more comments on my arms. With the fat loss, as minor as it may be, my muscle tone is finally showing through. Of course, it’s not a head-turning transformation, but hey, I’ll take it.
Meanwhile, I love being sore, but I also hate taking more than one rest day per week because working out is mental therapy for me. With the drinks, I couldn’t help but notice how much less exhausted I felt on my days off, even if my muscles were super sore. On the whole, my body felt less heavy and fatigued, which allowed me to squeeze in a bit more activity (like climbing five flights of stairs in the subway station) on recovery days. Those added bursts of activity only added to my energy, so overall, I felt great even when my muscles didn’t.
To be honest, I don’t know that drinking any shake before or after every single workout is all that sustainable. But if you, like me, struggle to get in your daily protein because you don’t eat meat or dairy, plant-based protein powders might be what you need to shake up (ha) your fitness routine—in a good way.
Source: Plant-Based Protein Weight Loss