What Happens if You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

What Happens if You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out

Protein shakes are typically used for muscle repair after an intensive workout. However, several people use protein shakes as a snack or meal, but they don’t work out very often, if at all. What happens when your drink protein shakes all the time without working out and burning off the extra calories?

If you drink protein shakes without working out, you will gain weight because excess protein will create fat by turning into glucose. The average person doesn’t need extra protein. However, a protein shake is good after exercise to help you rebuild and repair torn muscles; thus, making you stronger.

If you like drinking protein shakes, but you don’t like exercising that much, stay tuned to learn what you can do to have your shakes without gaining weight.

Why Do People Drink Protein Shakes After Working Out?

Protein shakes are meant to be a quick boost of amino acids to repair micro-tears in your muscles after an intense workout session. However, most of the time, even with moderate workouts, protein shakes are not necessary, especially if you meet your protein needs with whole food sources.

However, there are other reasons why people drink protein shakes, even without working out. If you have any of these issues, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re getting the correct treatment for your condition and that you’re not putting on too much weight all at once.

Some People Have Eating or Digestive Issues

Dysphagia is a condition where people have difficulty swallowing, whether it is food or liquid. People with this condition might choke or cough while trying to eat or drink liquids, or they might bring food back up. There is often drooling or a sensation that something is stuck in their throat.

Treatment for patients with dysphagia usually depends on the type they have. Once they are tested on their swallowing abilities, and their esophagus is evaluated, a treatment plan is customized for the patient, including speech therapy, to include new ways to swallow or have feeding tubes.

Other people, however, have digestive issues and can only handle certain forms of protein. Protein shakes can sometimes be used instead of solid food until a physician can determine their correct treatment.

Some People Need to Gain Weight

Believe it or not, some people cannot gain weight no matter what they try doing. They have a high metabolism, and no matter what they eat, they stay very thin.

Or, it could be that someone is recovering from anorexia and has a challenging time with solid food. In these cases, protein shakes might help them put weight on under the direction of a physician.

Why Is Protein Important in a Well-Balanced Diet?

In a well-balanced diet, protein provides the essential amino acids needed to build and repair tissues and muscles. Along with fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, protein from meats and eggs helps build red blood cells and create lean muscle tissue that burns fat more efficiently.

Protein shakes can add extra protein to your diet, but if you aren’t working out, you risk gaining weight rather than losing it as you intended, even if you’re working out. Trying to get your protein needs met through protein shakes could add more protein to your diet than you think or need.

One other thing to remember: if you have a poor diet filled with fast food, a protein shake will not improve your health, as it doesn’t contain other nutrients.

How Much Protein Do You Need per Day?

So, how much protein do you need per day? The National Academies of Medicine and Nutrition recommends that most adult females get around 46 grams per day, while adult males take in 56 grams or so per day. Divided between 2-3 meals per day, that works out to between 15 and 18 grams of protein per meal.

Most protein shakes contain between 18 and 30 grams of protein, about half to two-thirds of your daily protein intake. With that much excess protein and not working out, your body will turn the extra into glucose, then store it as body fat.

Athletes and bodybuilders need more protein as they are trying to build muscle and shred fat for competitions. Because they are working so intensely, the excess protein is used efficiently to rebuild and repair their muscles. If you’re not working out, you probably don’t need extra protein.

Extra Protein Might Cause Weight Gain

If you take in more protein than you need, it is about the same as taking in too many carbohydrates. Without working out, the extra protein could cause weight gain very quickly. If you’re meeting your caloric needs and drink a protein shake in addition to your regular meals, you could put on up to one extra pound per month.

Plus, if you’re getting more protein than you need, you could be putting yourself at risk for kidney disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and calcium stones. Too much protein can damage your liver if you take in only protein without fats or carbs. When you have an excess amount of protein in your diet, especially without working out, you could damage several bodily systems.

Try Getting Protein From Various Sources

Instead of focusing on protein shakes to meet your needs, get your protein through various meats, eggs, dairy, and plant sources. Protein found in nature in its whole food form also has various minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium that come along for the ride. Meat-based protein contains all the B vitamins you need for energy, metabolism, red blood cell count, and lung activity.

Whole eggs contain protein, choline for your eyes, and the right amount of healthy fat to keep your brain healthy.

Plant sources of protein like legumes and nuts contain potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and other minerals you need.

If you were to get your protein from shakes only, you would miss out on all of this nutrition. And, because it’s more difficult to overdose on protein from whole food sources, you won’t be tempted to get more protein than what your body can use immediately, and without having to work out to keep the weight off.

A Healthier Option To Protein Shakes

shakeologyIf you’re in need for a healthy shake option, then you should consider the Beachbody Shakeology shake.

Shakeology contains a good amount of protein at about 16 grams and also includes the following core ingredients:

  • Superfruits & Antioxidants
  • Prebiotics & Probiotics
  • Adaptogens
  • Supergreens & Phytonutrients
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Vitamins & Minerals

It’s an amazing blend of whole food ingredients from around the world.


Any Activity Can Help Keep off the Weight

If you want to drink protein shakes, or your doctor has put you on a protein shake regimen, you don’t need to have intense workouts to keep the weight off. Instead, try going for 20-30 minute walks daily, or get out in the garden and pull some weeds. As long as it works most of your muscle groups, any activity should help you keep fit, active, and at a healthy weight.

Many people who are unable to stand for long periods benefit from chair aerobics or chair yoga. Or, they get floor pedaling machines where they can work their legs or arms while seated.

It’s not difficult to find time to do something. Standing up and stretching every now and then can also be beneficial.


Most people think that if they work out, they should drink protein shakes because fitness coaches recommend it. Or, they think that they can drink protein shakes without working out and still lose weight. However, this isn’t accurate as you’ve seen and could derail your weight loss progress.

Focusing instead on healthy eating habits, getting gentle activity, and not snacking between meals can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals quicker than drinking protein shakes without working out.



Before using meal replacement shakes and exercising, I was obese and on track to having high blood pressure at the age of 25. I'm glad to say I lost 50 pounds and am living a healthier lifestyle than before. Now I like sharing what I learned when I first researched what meal replacement to drink and the best way to lose weight. Learn more about me here...

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