Today’s question is about how to mix up a nice post-workout protein shake at college, rather than in the comfort of your own home…

As a College Athlete, How Do I Make a Post-Workout Shake?

As a college athlete I don’t have the ability to mix my own post workout protein shakes. I have been looking into Muscle Milk but have heard some words of caution about some of its ingredients. If muscle milk isn’t a safe supplement, are there any other alternative post workout drinks I could use?

Muscle Mike

Protein Shakes in Reach for College Students

Hi Mike,

I never looked into MuscleMilk once I saw the price tag. After a quick glance, it doesn’t look like something I’d take, nor does it look like something too awful. It contains two different artificial sweeteners, which I don’t like, but many people don’t worry about them. The rest of the ingredients looked pretty normal for a drink like that.

(Let me know if there is a specific ingredient you’re worried about, but in general, Muscle Milk falls too far into the processed food realm for me to recommend it. Anything with that many ingredients, I usually shy away from.)

made my own protein shake

What is it that’s holding you back from mixing your own protein shakes?

In college, I typically mixed up my own shakes, and I saw many others doing it. All you really need is water or milk, protein powder, and a Blender Bottle.

If you want to keep things refrigerated, a dorm room size refrigerator is pretty cheap (try Craigslist), especially compared to buying the ready-to-drink Muscle Milk every day. You could also take your protein powder to the dining hall and grab some cold milk or water there.

For washing the bottle, just keep some dish soap on hand and use whatever bathroom is nearby. Or perhaps there is a small kitchen in the building with a sink.

You could even buy a quiet little blender like the NutriBullet (under $50 on Amazon). Or the Ninja (also under $50 on Amazon). If you plan to make smoothies, that’s the best blender for a college dorm room.

On a budget, you can even find a mini blender from a good brand like Hamilton Beach – i.e. the Hamilton Beach Personal Smoothie Blender – sometimes under $20 on Amazon.

I’d recommend that over any of the ready-to-drink drinks I know of. Personally I use the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Natural protein powder. Throw in some organic whole milk and liquid egg whites (if you want more calories) and you’re good to go!

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  1. I usually add some cocoa powder and sugar to the optimum nutrition chocolate whey protein powder to intensify the flavor and boost the antioxidant content

    note-optimum nutrition does contain stevia, which although natural, is still a zero calorie sweetener and may not be ideal post-workout

  2. Quick update everyone:

    Thanks to a useful email from one of my readers, I found out that the big concern with MuscleMilk has to do with dangerous levels of heavy metals, as found by Consumer Reports this past summer when they tested protein powder products.

    You can see Cytosport’s response here to get an idea what’s going on:

    Since I lack knowledge when it comes to testing products for heavy metals, there’s not much I can comment on. All I can say is, try to eat as naturally as possible, and don’t overdo it on stuff like Muscle Milk, Red Bull, etc.

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