Portable protein powder is part of the everyday routine for those of us who are serious about maximizing the benefits of our workouts. But it seems like no one’s really mastered the most convenient way to get that post-lift protein fix. No shaker cup is perfect… there are a few annoying protein powder hassles that we all know and hate - the lazy volcano water fountain that won’t let you fill the shaker all the way, the protein chunks cemented in the creases of your cup. So let’s fix that BS. Your shake should feel like a reward, not a pain-in-the-ass.
We’ve got 8 protein powder hacks to make you feel like the Steve Jobs of mad gains.
1. Don’t be a Rookie
This nugget might be Powders 101 for some, but we all learned it at one point or another, which makes this #1 for a good reason: always put water in first. If you don’t want to chisel away clumps of powder from the base of your shaker after your workout, then don’t put it in there first. Liquid. Powder. Shake. You’re welcome.
2. Shaker: 1 Fountain: 0
What is it about gyms and sad, broke-down water fountains? Seems like every single water fountain in every single gym in America is just too lazy to do its job well… that weak, ineffectual little stream of water just isn’t going to cut it. Go ahead: try and fill your tall, 32 oz shaker cup with water from that thing and see what happens. I dare you to try and get it more than a third of the way full. SOLUTION: the cap. Use your shaker cup’s cap to scoop water. Fill it up, pour it into the shaker cup, and repeat until you’ve got the amount of water you want. Add powder, shake, and get back to your squats.
3. On The Rocks
There’s nothing worse than warm chunky protein. But we suffer through it for the sake of convenience. You pour lukewarm tap water into your shaker, add powder, pinch your nose, and toss it back. But that’s completely unnecessary. Try this: Fill your shaker about a third of the way full with ice. Add a little water to make a barrier, then add protein on top. By the time you’re finished with your workout, the ice will be mostly melted, and any bits left over will just help break up the remaining protein. Add a little more water to get the desired consistency, shake the thing up, and enjoy an ice cold shake with minimal extra effort. Seriously, if you haven’t tried this yet, you’re doing life wrong.
4. The MacGyver
Powder. Sandwich bag. 2 tablespoons of water. That’s all you need. This is a game changing trick for those moments when you forgot your shaker cup (or forgot to clean it) or for when you just don’t want to have all that extra liquid sloshing around in your stomach during a workout. Stock up on the smallest ziplock bags you can find, which can hold about 2 scoops of powder with a little room to spare. Add in just a few tablespoons of water, zip it shut, then massage it into a nice, thick frosting-like paste. You can down it immediately or save for later. During your workout, just bite off a corner of the bag, and squeeze it into your mouth like frosting.
5. The Canister Manager
You hate finding the bottom of the protein canister. But maybe, just maybe, there’s a whole scoop worth of powder left. Fat chance trying to scrape up that leftover powder with the oversized scooper, though. If you’re determined to get every last gram of protein (and you should be), grab the nearest piece of paper (CLEAN paper, please), and make a funnel into your shaker cup. To finish off a smaller canister of pre-workout or BCAA powders, just add the water directly into the supplement canister itself. Shake, pour, drink, gains.
6. Under the Macro-scope
Let’s break down the big, bad protein powder market for a second here: almost every brand has their own “proprietary blend” of protein, which sounds impressive… but it’s just another way of saying “we won’t tell you what we’re putting in it.” In no way does “proprietary” mean better. It just means non-transparent.
Ditch those blends for a powder that’s as pure a protein as you can find, then add-on from there. Cutting carbs and running on fats? Go with some Coconut Oil Powder or MCT Oil Powder. Need some carbs to get those gains? Brown Rice Powder is the way to go. Take control over your macros. Just 5 minutes and some extra initiative and you’ll be drinking the exact type of shake you need. Either that, or you can be a sheep and let the big brands (who don’t know your body, or your goals) sell you their “special magic”.
7. Emergency Survival Kit
You’ve got a traveling toothbrush, additional lithium-ion USB batteries for a cellphone, even a spare deodorant in the car (hopefully). Sometimes life calls for backups, so when one of the most important meals in your day comes after a workout, don’t be left without protein because you’re away from your own cupboard. Stuff a few single-serving packets of protein powder in your gym bag, keep a few in your drawer, in your glove box, and be ready for wherever the workout takes you.
8. The Wake ’n Shake
Get that shaker ready first thing in the morning. Every. Damn. Day. If you don’t have that shaker with you when you hit the gym, you’re basically wasting your workout. We don't need to hear your excuses. If you’re really serious about maximizing your gains, you need to time your nutrition. Make shaker prep the first thing you do in the morning. Skip the gym’s fructose-heavy smoothie bar, and be wary of the overpriced ready-to-drink shake fridge. Only you know the precise combination of supplements you need to meet your goals, so just bring the damn shaker with you.
This last one’s not really a hack, but it MUST be said…
DON’T LEAVE YOUR DIRTY SHAKER LYING AROUND
We’ve all done it, and it’s just inconsiderate. That stuff SMELLS. A vast majority of the best protein powders are processed from dairy, which means… just like milk… it gets old fast. You re-rack your weights at the gym. You flush your toilet. People want to see your gains, not smell them, so extend this similar courtesy to everyone you work and live with by CLEANING OUT YOUR SHAKER!!!