Huel instead of ordinary protein shakes after workout?

Hello! Sorry if this exact question was asked before. I did search for it, but I only saw similar questions comparing Huel and Protein shakes, which didn’t exactly answer my question.

So, I’ve been using Huel for about 2 months now, Not 100% on it, I just replace a breakfast and/or dinner a couple of times a week.

Now, I just recently started working out, I’m going to the gym every day (except weekends) for an hour and I’m working on losing some body fat and gaining muscle.

So, people who go to gym and want to see good results usually drink a protein shake (e.g. whey) right after a workout.

Am I going to see any “positive results” if I use Huel instead of the ordinary protein shakes? For example, three scoops right after a workout. Or should I just go for protein shakes?

Huel is great as a post workout drink so I would use it, unless you are a serious body builder then Huel will do a good job.

Personally I think Huel fits the bill despite it’s carbohydrate % being higher than most all in one protein shakes. You’re going to be missing out on the additional BCAA’s and possibly some Creatine which tends to be in the all in on shakes. My top tip for post workout recover and fuelling would be to take Huel but also take BCAA’s. You can buy in various formats if you can’t stomach the pills so you can add to your Huel Shake. Also maybe look at cycling Creatine for 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off as this certainly helps the promotion of muscle growth and increased strength. Just finally make sure you’re getting plenty of water.

My final tip, seeing as your goal is fat loss and Muscle gain, would be to look at High Intensity weight training. If you’ve previously lifted weights a bit then I would suggest googling overtraining and specifically Mike Rashid. Because of the intensity of this type of weight training you sweat like a maniac and it burns fat better than most cardio. I used overtraining for 12 weeks last summer cycling creatine for 6 weeks starting from week 4 and I managed to gain 3kg in lean mass (muscle) and reduced my bodyfat % from 22%-18%.

Protein shakes are only of use when it comes to hitting your macros for the day. Nothing more, nothing less.

You may be already doing that with your existing diet, hence a shake could be unnecessary. Start tracking every piece of food you consume in MyFitnessPal app and analyse how much protein you consume.

Your goals are also confused. To gain muscle, you must be in a calorific surplus or at least be eating your maintenance amount of calories. To lose body fat, you must be in a calorific deficit, whether you do this by eating less or by exercising is up to you.

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While I have to agree with the gain = surplus and loss = deficit it is possible to achieve both muscle gain and fat loss alongside each other. The simple principle for this is consumption calories is equal or greater than BMR + exercise calories combined.

As noted above I achieved 3kg lean body mass gain and 4% Fat Loss Reduction through weight overtraining.

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If you are looking for a protein shake then Huel isn’t the product for you, since Huel is much more than just protein - carbohydrate, fats, fibre and vitamins and minerals.

However, if what you want is an easy post exercise meal then Huel would be ideal. The fitness industry, IMHO, overstate the value of protein in muscle gain. Obviously increased protein is essential, but to the extent many ‘shakes’ provide, perhaps not.

Really your body needs are a full range of nutrients after high intensity exercise and Huel would be great for this :smile:

I’m unsure what the recommendations are for BCAAs whilst trying to gain muscle, but to clarify, Huel contains all three BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine).

If you wanted to take creatine too then you could easily add this too your Huel meal. I seem to remember creatine being fairly neutral tasting, so it should be great!

@Monkeydave - thanks for the reading suggestion, will check it out!

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The beauty of BCAA supplements as you’ll see below is they can be easily used during exercise to reduce fatigue, accelerate recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and improve the use of fat for energy. BCAAs are well known for triggering protein synthesis.

From experience, loading myself with BCAA’s speeds up recovery or at least limits the sufference of muscle soreness. All meaning I can train harder :+1:t3:

I work with a lot of bodybuilders and a god number have converted to Huel, including as their PWO shake. Some of these are top end national champions and find Huel ideal off-season PWO.

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Out of interest James, what would your input be on the recommendation of BCAAs alongside Huel as above be? Potentially beneficial? Or unnecessary due to Huel’s inclusion of said BCAAs?

I’m not a fan of BCAAs as a supplement, but I am a fan of one of the BCAAs, ie Leucine if used appropriately. PWO Huel is more than enough and is high in all 3 BCAAs naturally so there’s plenty for PWO.

How many scoops would one typically use for an after workout shake? I’m sure it can depend, but curious to what people are using. I also just received my first order HUEL tonight, so I’m pretty excited to give this a whirl.

Nutritional timing doesn’t really matter at all. Use whatever fits your macro/calorie targets.

Basically, exercise nutrition has not been really figured out. A lot of studies are not much better than bro science.

So, get advice from people with a lot of experience training others. It sounds like some folks here have trained a lot of people, which means they’ll have seen a wide range of responses to diet and training.

Here are my two cents: First, get your longer term goals in order. Is your goal general fitness or do you have other ambitions?

If it is the first, then don’t worry about supplements but just make sure you get the right amount of macros, vitamins, minerals, and calories and exercise. Huel can help with that but also eat fresh food. Track your weight and strength so you know your loosing mostly fat. Drink enough water. Get enough rest and sleep.

MyFitnessPal and fitbit are great supports to help you track your progress or lack thereof at the beginning. So are classes and instructors.

I strongly recommend finding a good trainer at the beginning to help you master movements and setup a plan that’s right for you. If they make things complicated avoid them. Simplicity is key for you. Complicated movements lead to injury. Complicated training and diet plans lead to poor adherence.

Back to your original question: It might be enough for you based on your exercise intensity, size, overall diet. From my experience it is definitely better than only consuming protein after exercise, since you do want more carbs around your exercise for energy and recovery. I personally take both since I have macros to hit and I am hungry after working out. Who cares if the science keeps changing on meal timing? It can’t hurt to eat protein after the workout then but it might help.

Don’t worry too much about the previous paragraph though unless your goals are not general fitness. This should be your priority for general fitness:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Don’t train injured body parts
  • Get a balanced natural diet
  • Drink enough water
  • Do cardio and lift moderate weights
  • Dont stress

All of these suggestions are no brainers. Few people follow them. It makes all the difference if you’re otherwise healthy.


Hi, this is a really interesting thread. I searched for working out on Huel. I’m a swimmer and go every morning, usually swim 1,610m each day. I did my first day of three Huel meals yesterday at 3 scoops each and had 2 protein bars; one am snack and one pm snack. Today, I felt really fatigued in the pool. I’m drinking a huel now post workout and dropped to 2 scoops today as yesterday I could have died with tiredness…I’m thinking it’s the carbs.

I was wondering the same as usually I would have a protein shake with BCAA. I guess it’s too soon to tell and too many variables - I’ll keep at 3 huel meals this week anyway and see how it goes. I’m trying to have a large calorie deficit as I’m in a plateaux on body fat loss.