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Shaking It Up in Your Gym.

You mix it, you blend it, you whip it, you chop it. And then, when all is said and done, and the roaring blender gives way to a dull whine, you drink it.

But above all, you know what you ultimately do with that nutritional health drink.

You love it.

The fitness fanatics’ ongoing love affair with those nifty powdered health shakes served up at your local health club is not heading for the rocks any time soon. A 16-ounce sport shake, for all intents and purposes, can often be our beloved knight in shining armor, conveniently appearing in our lives at the most appropriate of times, saving us from a day of depletion, malnutrition, of under-nourishment.

The booming market for powdered beverages is flourishing for a reason. In this fast-paced, ongoing train ride known as everyday life, things seem to whip by in a New York minute. We don’t really have time to sit and prepare each and every meal, so we find ourselves sinking into the dark world of fast-food establishments and unhealthy, on-the-go binges.

That’s where the shake comes in.

When you’re in dire need of a quick nutritional fix, just spill the contents into a blender and flood it with a healthy juice. The result – a rich concentration of carbohydrates and proteins – tastes almost too good to be true.

Shakes take on a number of different roles for today’s busier-than-thou health fanatic. They can inject your muscles with the carbohydrates they need throughout long, grueling workouts, yet they help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level throughout the training session.

Also, shakes can also provide you with the fluids you need during workouts while feeding you the carbohydrates and protein you need to stay energized without giving you that feeling of being “full”.

Say you’re getting ready to do that biceps workout and you’re feeling a little low on fuel. For one, you want a drink that will get you ready to curl – not hurl! If the shake doesn’t taste good, drain it. You don’t want to go into a workout with any nasty aftertaste. Make sure that the shake meets the liking of your taste buds.

Also, make sure that your tummy can handle it. Sometimes, health shakes don’t settle in your stomach the way you’d like. Products that are wheat-free are generally sensitive to nagging stomach discomfort caused by gas and diarrhea.

If you’re intentions are to consume a shake to trigger your body with an energy jolt, try this: Calculate your bodyweight, divide it in half, and this is the number grams of carbohydrate you should intake an hour before the workout. If you’re looking to load up earlier, then your number of carbs you consume in your shake should be much, much higher.

But remember this: Do not become too dependent on shakes. While they can occasionally serve as a fitting meal-replacement alternative, a health shake is not exactly the equivalent of a chicken breast, a baked potato and a garden salad. You must learn to work shakes into your diet as a provider of important nutrients and vitamins, not as the underlying provider of nourishment.

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