Can You Build Muscle By Just Drinking Protein Shakes?

If you’re interested in bodybuilding, you’ve likely already seen a BILLION ads telling you to buy the newest and greatest protein shake that is supposedly going to make you SUPER STRONG and just crush the gym.

The reality is, most of that is just fiction. And most of us know by now that those protein shakes are just a replacement for high protein food, and that while they do help, it’s no different than eating a steak.

With that concept in mind, many people wonder- can you build muscle by just drinking protein shakes?

Well, no. You’d likely drop dead way before you see any muscle growth anyways. You need a balanced diet in general to live, and JUST drinking protein shakes every day does not give you the calories needed to actually grow muscle. And you also need to work out, protein itself does not grow muscle without your body telling it to.

While protein shakes give protein, which is NEEDED to grow muscle, muscle growth isn’t JUST protein, it’s also calories! Let’s cover this a bit more in-depth, and explain why you can’t just drink protein shakes to grow muscle.

Can You Build Muscle By Just Drinking Protein Shakes?
Can You Build Muscle By Just Drinking Protein Shakes?

What’s The Nutrition of a Protein Shake?

First of all, we need to understand the nutrition of a protein shake before we answer any other questions. That we can understand the EXACT macronutrients that are being put into your body.

For this example, we will just take the ‘standard’ protein shake you would find at a grocery store or supplement store. I think the most popular protein shake in the world is the Optimum Nutrition Protein Powder, it’s just so common at stores that most people have used this one at some point in their life. Plus, it’s one of the most sold protein powders on Amazon.

**Just note, we are using this for general macronutrients. MOST protein shakes will have very similar nutrition to this!

Nutrition 33g (1 scoop)
Calories 130 calories
Protein 24 g
Fat 1.5 g
Carbs 4 g
Optimum Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Powder Nutrition

So, what can we take away from that chart above?

Well, there’s a LOT of protein, and not much of anything else. This protein powder has a little more carbs than other protein powders typically do, but all in all, it’s very low.

But, that’s why they call it protein powder, after all.

So, Why Can’t I JUST Drink Protein Shakes All Day?

Well, if you drink protein shakes everyday, you’re going to run into a lot of problems.

First of all, your body requires a diverse and crazy amount of vitamins and minerals every day to live. Protein powders cannot replace this.

While some protein powders put a lot of vitamins and minerals in their ingredients, it still doesn’t replace the vast amount of nutrition your body needs to, well, live.

Protein Shakes Just Do NOT Have The Calories Needed To Build Muscle

It would be, very difficult, to drink enough protein shakes to actually build muscle due to the low calories that most protein shakes have.

While some say it’s possible, you run into the problem of damaging your kidneys. As Flex Wheeler’s Leg Amputation has taught bodybuilders recently, your kidneys can do crazy things when you put a lot of protein in them- especially if they aren’t functioning correctly.

If you drank that many protein shakes every day, your kidneys would likely run into serious issues as you would be pumping nearly 400g of protein in them.

Now, there are some protein powders that have a ton of calories in them, but those are very rare and are more commonly labeled as mass gainers. MOST protein powders are absolutely low calories.

You Actually Need To Work Out Too, Protein Can’t Build Muscle Without The Body Telling It To

So, when I was little, I thought that just drinking protein shakes in general would cause the muscle to come.

I didn’t think the working out part was necessary as long as you ate healthily.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.

So, as I covered in the article above, no, protein alone does NOT build muscle without working out.

That’s not to say that eating healthier doesn’t have health effects, contributes to fat loss, and a better body tone- BUT, if you want serious muscle, you will have to work for it.

Now, you don’t need to go to the gym 5 hours a day, 7 days a week or anything, simple workouts and consistency can go a long way.

But in general, if you don’t workout, the protein shakes cannot build muscle without your body instructing the protein to actually build the muscle. Otherwise, your body just gets rid of the protein and uses it for other functions.

Conclusion of Can You Build Muscle By Just Drinking Protein Shakes?

Well, unfortunately, you cannot build muscle just by drinking protein shakes. Here’s why:

  • Your body cannot grow muscle without working out. It doesn’t let the protein do that as it sees no need to grow the muscle.
  • Your body needs tons of vitamins, minerals, that protein powders do not provide.
  • Your body also needs a lot more calories than protein shakes alone can provide.

While I wish it was simpler to grow muscle and have that ripped physique, unfortunately- it just isn’t. Maybe science will change it some day!

Thank you for reading.

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