Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

When you look at professional bodybuilders, they use protein shakes as part of their diet and training regime. These help you to work out at optimum level. So it’s no surprise that people often think they need to work out to drink a protein shake. However, what happens to your body when you’re drinking protein shakes without working out?

It’s no secret that many people use them as a meal replacement or to get more protein into their high-protein diet. But what effect does this have on your body if you’re not working out?

In this article, we’ll look at what happens to your body when you have excess protein intake from shakes without working out. Keep reading to find out more!

What Happens if I Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

If you’re not working out, the protein in your shakes will most likely be stored as fat. This is because your body will have no other use, so it will just be stored away. You might think this isn’t a big deal, but if you’re not careful, it can lead to weight gain.

They can usually be divided into two categories: those high in protein and those low in protein. If you’re drinking shakes high in protein, you’re more likely to put on weight. This is because your body will be trying to store the extra protein as fat.

On the other hand, if you’re drinking a protein shake that is low in protein, you’re not as likely to put on weight. This is because your body can use the protein for other things, such as repairing muscles or creating new ones.

So, if you’re not working or stick to shakes that are low in protein still exist. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing weight.

What are the Common Ingredients in a Protein Shake?

Have you ever wondered what’s actually in a protein shake? Looking at the average protein powder, you’ll see that it’s full of all sorts of ingredients designed to help you bulk up and build muscle.

Some of the most common elements include:

Whey protein

Whey protein is one of milk’s most common protein powder types. It’s a high-quality protein that your body can easily absorb. It is also an example of plant-based protein powder.

Soy protein

Soy protein is another type of protein powder made from soybeans. It’s a high-quality protein that has all the essential amino acids. However, it’s not as easily absorbed by the body as whey protein.

Casein protein

This is a type of protein found in milk. It’s absorbed more slowly by the body, which makes it ideal for drinking before bed.

Artificial Sweeteners

Did you ever ask yourself why a protein shake tastes sweet? They often contain artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame. These help excellent tan shakes taste better without adding any extra calories.


This supplement is often added to protein shakes. It helps to increase your energy levels and improve your performance in the gym.

Food Thickeners

This ingredient is mainly used to improve texture and consistency. Typical food thickeners include maltodextrin and guar gum, which can affect digestion and gut health when consumed in large amounts.

Vegetable Oils

This product adds richness, creaminess, and flavor to your shake. The most common vegetable oils used are canola oil and coconut oil.

What are the Benefits of Drinking Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

In every case, whether it’s excessive or lacking a particular nutrient, there is always a silver lining. So, even though you might put on some weight if you’re not working out, some benefits to drinking protein shake still exist.

Most of the time, it would vary on what the person currently needs. Here’s a list of some benefits of consuming them without working out:

1. Weight gain

If you want to gain weight, consuming a protein shake can help you out because they’re high in calories and help you gain muscle mass. Excess intake of protein will be stored as fat, contributing to a person’s body weight.

2. Increased muscle recovery

They can help you recover from your workouts if you work out often since they repair and build muscle tissue.

3. A Good Source of Protein

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, protein shakes are an excellent way to get your daily intake. They’re made from plant-based proteins, such as soy or whey. A healthy diet is composed of different types of protein, so make sure to get a variety from other sources.

4. Improved muscle growth

Protein shakes help you build muscle if you’re working out. They provide your body with the amino acids to repair and build muscle tissue.

5. Convenient

Protein supplements are a quick and easy way to get your daily dose of protein. Moreover, they’re perfect for the on-the-go, and you can make it in advance.

What are the Side Effects of Protein Shakes?

Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

1. Weight gain

The excess protein will be stored as fat if you’re not working out. As a result, you’ll gain weight, which might be challenging to lose later. If you’re planning to lose weight, a protein shake works well when mixed with proper workouts.

2. Digestive issues

Too much protein can lead to digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. Protein takes longer to digest than other nutrients. If you’re taking a protein supplement, drink plenty of water and eat fiber-rich foods.

3. Kidney damage

Excess protein can strain your kidneys and lead to kidney damage. If you have a history of kidney problems, it’s best to avoid protein supplements altogether. Otherwise, make sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks in between protein shakes.

4. Liver damage

Like the kidneys, too much protein can also strain your liver, which leads to liver damage and other problems. Liver damage from the excessive intake is rare, but it’s still best to be cautious.

5. Dehydration

Protein powder is high in sodium and can lead to dehydration if you’re not drinking enough water. So, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially when taking protein supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much protein do I need if I don’t work out?

If you don’t work out, you probably don’t need to consume protein shakes. A regular diet should provide enough protein. A sedentary person who weighs 80 kg (175 pounds) requires at least 64 grams of protein per day.

Is it OK to drink protein shakes every day?

Drinking protein shakes daily is safe if you do not exceed the recommended daily intake. However, it’s still crucial to acquire most of your daily protein intake from other sources, such as food.

Do protein shakes help?

Yes, protein shakes help, especially for those who work out. They can help you recover from your workouts and build muscle tissue. Additionally, it’s helpful for vegans or vegetarians who might struggle with getting enough protein from other sources.

Final Thoughts: Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

Can You Drink Protein Shakes Without Working Out?

If you’re trying to gain weight or increase your protein intake, protein shakes can be helpful. Depending on your body’s needs, you might need more or less protein than the average person. 

But, as long as you’re not exceeding the recommended daily intake, it’s safe to consume them daily.

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Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.