Can You Drink Protein Shakes without Working Out?

boosting muscle body weight with protein powder

Are you wondering whether you can drink protein shakes without working out? I am a personal fitness coach and will help you familiarize yourself with diet supplements and exercise.

Protein shakes are a popular pre- and post-workout drink. Most athletes and bodybuilders consume protein shakes to build muscle, lose weight, and increase energy.

However, if you drink protein shakes while taking the exercise out of the equation, will you still gain muscle or lose weight? Let’s find out!

How Do Protein Shakes Work?

Protein shakes are taken as a workout supplement. They supply the muscles with essential amino acids, forming the protein’s building block. These essential amino acids are necessary to build lean muscle tissues [1].

Every time you perform a resistance-type exercise, your muscles experience stress. As a result, micro-tears occur within your muscle fiber. However, with muscle protein synthesis, you will undergo a muscle recovery.

If you work out with weights, your body requires greater protein intake than an average individual. Generally, a protein powder provides 25-30 grams of protein per serving with a hundred extra calories.

Is It Possible to Gain Muscle by Drinking Protein Shakes without Working Out?

Taking high-quality protein shakes but not working out will not make you build lean muscle tissues. Keep in mind that muscle mass gains occur when stress is placed on the muscles during a workout. This process damages the muscle fibers [2].

After each workout, supplying your body with high-quality proteins is necessary to promote the muscle protein synthesis process. During this process, your muscles are being repaired.

Drinking protein shakes without working out is like taking medication when you are not sick. In other words, there is no sense in drinking protein shakes if you will not work out, as it may only lead to health issues.

Protein Shake: How Much Protein Does Your Body Need?

Are you not working out? If so, your body needs a lower protein intake than athletes, gym-goers, or fitness enthusiasts.

Beware that protein intake comes with different numbers. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Medicine stated that women must consume 46 grams of protein daily, while men must consume 56 grams daily [3].

Fortunately, you can quickly achieve that recommended protein consumption without taking casein or whey protein shakes by consuming protein-rich foods.

What Happens If You Drink Protein Shakes Without Workout?

Here are some effects of drinking protein shakes without working out:

Weight Gain 

Typically, protein shake supplements contain high calories. For example, a regular protein shake has about 100 calories. Adding extras like nut butter or a banana to the protein shake can increase your calorie intake.

A high-calorie count leads to excess weight gain, especially if you are not exercising [4]. Your body can get the same 30 grams of protein from a 120-calorie protein shake or in a 3.5-ounce chicken breast with 165 calories.

High Satiety Level 

Taking whey protein supplements without working out can fill you up. In return, you will not feel like grazing or snacking between meals. You will also not have food cravings since protein is a satiating nutrient [5].

If you are on a high-protein diet, your body will experience a high satiety level. Taking a low-calorie protein shake as a meal replacement instead of an additional meal, protein shake helps lose weight.

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Potential Kidney Problems 

Consuming too much protein may cause kidney problems [6]. Since protein metabolism occurs in your kidneys, taking extra protein negatively impacts these organs. Remember that one of your kidney’s main role is to metabolize excess proteins.

The protein metabolism process releases different waste products, such as creatinine and uric acid. Kidneys filter these waste products before being released from the body through urination. With a high-protein diet, your kidneys become stressed.

Good Source of Fiber 

Fiber is critical to weight loss and digestive health. A plant-based protein powder provides fiber to your body [7]. If you drink a protein shake as part of your healthy diet, your body receives the necessary fiber, improving your digestive health.

Increased Energy 

Suppose you drink a typical protein shake in the morning as your first meal, your insulin spike increases. As a result, your energy levels also increase. This leads to more energy in the morning.

On the other hand, some studies show that you will not get a similar insulin spike if you consume a protein shake later in the day as you have throughout the morning.

Increased Acidity 

The pH level of your blood must be 7.3-7.45 to ensure optimum health. This range is slightly on the alkaline side. However, people usually do not reach those pH levels, which makes them at risk of being too acidic.

Most people are unaware that many unhealthy foods from modern diets are considered highly acidic. So, taking protein shakes without exercising contributes to your body’s acidic environment [8].

Detrimental Effects 

Protein shakes are marketed as healthy dietary and fitness supplements. On the other hand, not all protein shakes contain healthy ingredients.

These unhealthy ingredients are flavorings, preservatives, artificial ingredients, and sugars. The build-up of these harmful ingredients can result in detrimental effects on the body, gaining unwanted weight and leading to health problems.

Nutrient Deficiency 

People obsessed with drinking protein shake do not receive the essential nutrients their bodies need. Remember that protein shakes do not contain the vital nutrients that whole foods like fruits and vegetables have.

If you consume protein shakes without physical activity, you will stay full most of the time. As a result, you will not eat whole foods, which leads to a lack of nutrients in your body.

Faster Body Aging Process

If your body has too much protein, you become acidic, which can harm you in several ways.

For example, you may develop hyperaminoacidemia, a condition associated with nausea, diarrhea, and other uncomfortable symptoms [9]. Excess acids can also affect your body’s aging process, making you age faster.


What Is The Best Type Of Protein?

If you want to lose weight or build muscles, whey protein is the best type for you. Your bodily systems can quickly absorb and break down this protein, enabling it to be used for muscle growth and repair after a workout.

Can Protein Shakes Cause Weight Gain?

Protein shakes can only lead to weight gain if you do not exercise. Drinking high-calorie beverages like protein shakes can boost the calorie level in your system. Excess calories are stored in the fat cells without using those calories or working out, which makes you gain weight.


People usually consume protein shakes after a workout routine to switch their bodies from the catabolic state to anabolic to gain muscle mass. However, if you are not exercising while taking a protein shake, you will experience negative impacts, such as weight gain, nutrient deficiency, increased acidity, or a faster aging process.

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Hey everyone, I’m Sandra Ryan and I’ve been contributing to this website for almost a year now.

My professional background is in finance where I work at a small bank outside Austin, TX, as an accounting technician. I’m still gradually working towards becoming an accountant by attending night classes, but my real passion is sport.

I’ve been involved in martial arts since I was about 8 years old when I had to figure out ways to outdo my 3 older brothers who were in constant WWE style fights. Nothing ever happened more than bruises and the occasional cut, but once I started Taekwondo I just couldn’t get enough.

I have won many state championships over the years, but have started to take a bit of step back from competitive fighting. Mainly down to a few leg strain injuries that basically mean that I cannot perform at my absolute best anymore.

My hunger for competition has been replaced by running marathons and in the past 2 years also competing in triathlons. So far I have completed 7 marathons and 2 triathlons and my aim is to complete an Ironman in the next couple of years.

When the opportunity came up to contribute to a website with training tips I immediately loved the idea. You’ll see a lot of my blog posts on triathlon training, and if you have questions, just leave some comments.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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