Any knowledgeable fitness vet knows that, when it comes to delivering calories, nothing can beat a quality whole-food meal. If you want to get big, you need to eat big! However, that same veteran knows that a solid protein shake can also deliver quality protein, nutrients, and calories—and do it quickly. When strategically used and intelligently applied, a daily protein shake can help any athlete achieve his goal.
Knowing how useful protein shakes can be, we asked five elite athletes from the worlds of pro powerlifting and bodybuilding to share their personal protein-packed recipes. They were all up for the challenge. Equipped with the Bodybuilding.com exclusive Animal Whey powder, they got right to work blending goal-specific, time-targeted shakes.
Try them all and feast like an Animal.
Five Shakes, Five Ways
Watch the video - 10:25
Dan Green's Boss Breakfast Shake
Dan "Boss" Green is one of the greatest American powerlifters of all time. He is the all-time world record holder in the 220 and 242 weight classes, with raw totals of 2,110 and 2, 210 pounds, respectively.
Chocolate Animal Whey: 2 scoops
Banana: 1 medium
Peanut butter: 1 tbsp
Heavy cream: 1 tbsp
Ice: 3/4 cup
Water: 3/4 cup
The Boss's Insights
My morning shake is not just a protein shake, but a meal replacement. The banana adds carbs and calories, mixes well, and helps offset the peanut butter's strong, salty flavor.
The thing about a good breakfast shake, though, is that it can't just taste great—it also has to keep my appetite down if I'm going to make it through the first few hours of the day. So I make sure quality protein, carbs, and fats are a part of my morning routine.
I try to get the bulk of my dietary fats in my first meal of the day. That's why my special breakfast shake has both peanut butter and heavy cream. I prefer to get fats from whole, identifiable sources like beef, fish, cheese, dairy, whole eggs, butter, and nuts. All of these fat sources are tasty, filling, and keep me satisfied.2
Frank McGrath's Pre-Wrath Shake
Frank "Wrath" McGrath is an iconic pro bodybuilder and has long been an Animal athlete. After a car accident that nearly killed him in 2010, Frank has come back stronger than ever.
Chocolate Animal Whey: 2 scoops
Banana: 1/2 medium
Natural peanut butter: 1 tbsp
Ice: 1/2 cup
Water: 1/2 cup
I hate training hungry. Even though I eat a whole-food meal an hour or so before I train, I sometimes need something more that won't upset my stomach. Before my serious car accident five years ago, I was an eating machine. I also used to drink a lot of protein shakes. Ever since the accident, though, I haven't been able to eat like I used to. I had my spleen removed, and doctors also discovered a kink in my intestines that sometimes made it painful to eat because food would get stuck. I stopped drinking protein shakes because they would make me feel nauseated.
When I got the new Animal Whey, I let it sit in the closet, afraid to use it. But then I tried it using the above recipe. You know what? I had no problems at all—no upset stomach, no nausea, nothing. This stuff is really great, and it tastes great, too.
You can use this recipe before you train or before bedtime. The natural peanut butter adds a lot of flavor and good fats into the mix. Bananas have a lot of potassium and help me digest the shake more easily. Best of all, it's easy to make and you don't need a lot of ingredients.
I use variations of this basic recipe throughout the day. For a breakfast shake, I'll mix in a cup of oatmeal instead of a banana. It's perfect for when I need some quick, convenient nutrition and also allows me to get in two shakes per day if I need it.
Roman Fritz's Attack Dog Shake
Roman "Rex" Fritz is a German IFBB Pro. He's known for his precision, meticulous approach to bodybuilding, and attack-dog intensity in the gym.
Double chocolate chip Animal Whey: 2 scoops
Oats: 1 cup
Pasteurized liquid egg whites: 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
To be honest, I am not really big on protein powders. I believe that whole foods are the better choice at any time of the day, period. It just doesn't make sense that a chocolate-flavored shake can be equally as beneficial as—let alone be superior to—a juicy piece of steak with a baked potato.
That being said, many of us don't live in a perfect world. Life doesn't always allow us to sit down six times a day for 30 minutes to chow down a whole-food meal. A protein shake can be very handy in the morning before you rush off to work, in between classes at school, or during a two-hour movie.
As meticulous as I am in planning my daily routine, even I run into unpredictable situations and have to opt for a protein-rich meal replacement drink instead of a steaming plate of food. Still, I like to keep my shakes as close to a whole meal as possible. If I can't be optimal, I at least strive for the best possible solution.
Instead of processed carb powders like maltodextrin, I go for naturally grown carb sources like oats, corn meal, or whole-grain rice flour. And rather than getting the protein exclusively from the powder, I also like to mix in some pasteurized liquid egg whites. That way, the shake remains closer to a real-food meal. The combination of proteins is highly anabolic because the two complement each other's amino-acid profile.4
Jason Huh's Get-Huge Shake
Jason "Huge" Huh is a pro bodybuilder who marches to the beat of his own drum. Defying convention and the mainstream, Jason is truly a unique figure in the sport.
One of my primary post-workout goals is to create an optimal anabolic environment by ingesting carbohydrates and protein. When you get glucose or other simple carbs combined with sufficient amounts of amino acids (the building blocks of muscle), you create the optimal environment for recovery and muscle growth.
With that in mind, I have experimented with many different types of ingredients for the perfect post-workout shake, and I've found that rice is my favorite post-workout carb!
People always ask me, why jasmine rice? The answer is pretty simple. In my experience, I've found I really like its effects on restoring muscle glycogen. Not all carbohydrates interact with the body and muscle the same way. Jasmine has a higher glycemic-index rating compared to most types of rice.
The more refined the carbohydrate, the faster it's digested, and, therefore, the greater the insulin spike it causes. Heating rice to higher temperatures further breaks down the simplicity of an already simple carbohydrate, which in turn creates an even greater insulin spike and response. Fruits, especially those high in fructose—apples, cherries, mangos, and pears—may be better for liver glycogen storage, but also produce a nice insulin spike.
Along with these carbohydrates to spike insulin levels, I also use a high-quality whey-isolate protein and a few other performance ingredients. These ingredients are fundamental to rapid absorption and recovery. With proper nutrition and timing, hard work, and consistency, there is no limit to how much muscle you can gain.5
Dorian Hamilton's Anabolic Nightcap Shake
Dorian "Heavy D" Hamilton is an up-and-coming bodybuilder from Canada. Despite various injuries, his passion and will to succeed keep him on the road to success.
Chocolate Animal Whey: 2-1/2 scoops
Avocado: 1/2 medium
Coconut shavings: 2 tsp
Unsweetened almond milk: 1 cup
A lot of people are really surprised I put an avocado in my shakes, but it actually makes the shake very creamy and thick, especially if you add ice cubes or frozen fruit. Avocado is also rich in healthy fats and fiber.
I know a lot of people (including myself) do not digest dairy well. For that reason, I use almond milk. Almond milk has a very creamy taste and is a healthful, dairy-free alternative to milk or cream.
You can easily vary the consistency of the shake. If you want it to be really thick, don't use too much almond milk. For an ice-cream consistency, use around 5 ounces of almond milk with 8-10 ice cubes. If you prefer a milkshake consistency, use about 8 ounces of almond milk and 4-6 ice cubes.
I happen to love the combination of chocolate Animal Whey and coconut, so I add coconut shavings to my shake. Trust me, the flavor is out of this world. Plus, coconut is rich in healthy fats and gives the shake extra fiber.