By now It should be clear that including a good protein powder in one’s diet is very beneficial in ingesting your daily protein requirements. The tricky part is trying to pick a GOOD protein powder that will contribute to muscle gain and not break the bank. Proteins are the building blocks required to repair and grow muscle tissue when participating in any type of activity that breaks down muscle tissue, including particularly in our case, progressive resistance training.
For anyone who is a newbie to this concept, the thought of eating boiled pulses/legumes or 6 chicken breasts a day or 8 egg whites each meal can seem like a daunting task. Don’t worry, as there is an alternative to eating 6 whole food protein sources a day that is guaranteed to deliver just as good results. The alternative is to ingest protein powders in the form of a protein shake.
There are several advantages to consuming protein shakes in place of whole food protein sources throughout the day and they include:
• Faster absorption for post-workout protein requirements
• Better absorption and digestion
• Constant flood of amino acids at all times
First, you need to understand that not all protein powders are created equal. First there are powders that are known as mass gainers. A mass gainer is basically a powder that includes proteins, carbs and fats. Although all three of those macro nutrients are required in a diet, when picking a protein powder a person should never purchase a mass gainer if they really only want a protein powder.
Tip to consider: Most mass Gainer protein powders are cheap.
Some people who are new to lifting often make the mistake of purchasing one of these so called protein powders not knowing that they are also consuming much more than just protein which may contribute to excess fat gain due to the excess calories. When choosing a powder make sure it has the following:
• Low fat (1-5 grams is ok)
• Low carb (1-5 grams is ok)
• High protein (normally about 20-30 grams per serving)
The Time Tested
Another factor to consider when picking a protein powder is to find out how long that company or product has been on the market. My general guideline is to only consider products that have been around for at least three years and have received positive feedback. Normally, if a product lasts this long it is because it is a quality product that people continue to purchase because it works.
Natural and Pure Powders
The quality of a protein powder is in my opinion more important than the total quantity of protein. Always look at the label when deciding on a protein powder and make sure it doesn’t contain any more that 7-10 ingredients. Also, try and find a powder with more natural ingredients. Typically if you have a hard time pronouncing all the ingredient names, that might be a sign to put that one down and look for another. When choosing a powder it is also important to never get pulled in by advertisements that state it has so called added ingredients that will promote even more muscle growth.
Supplement companies use a dirty little trick where they will include a small trace amount of an extra ingredient that may be helpful in promoting more muscle gain on its own, but the amount they include in their product is not enough to make a significant difference. When they do this, the price is normally inflated and not worth considering.
Concentrate, Isolate or Casein?
There is also lots of debate as to which type of protein is the best to ingest. To make this simple, here is what you need to know. I have tried them all at different times in my training and have found that it really doesn’t make a difference. Of course, that is just my opinion, but that being said, if you have the money and you truly believe the type of protein will make a or break your results, then here is a basic guideline.
Concentrate – This is a good source of protein powder that is absorbed at a moderate pace. Typically it is good to include this type between meals.
Isolate – This type of protein is more rapidly absorbed and is recommended immediately following a workout to shuttle proteins and amino acids into the starving muscle cells.
Casein – Casein has a longer digestion period, more so than concentrate and isolate. Bodybuilders and many athletes normally include this type of protein as their final meal before bed as it provides a constant flood of aminos throughout the night time fast during sleep.
Stay Away From The Hype
Supplement companies are notorious for hyping up their products with unrealistic claims and promises. DO NOT buy into the hype of major companies that price their product above and beyond what you really need to pay. I am not saying these products are not good or that you will not see results with them, but rather, they are just not worth the price. Take the time to compare ingredients, company track records and do not let the hype influence your decision.
Quite soon, I will be have available an ebook: Guide to protein supplements FREE on the download article link on the right. Do educate yourself (rather than listening to your trainer or friend) about protein supplements: their processing methods, their effects on muscle or fat loss when compared to real food sources of protein.
If I can teach you anything, it is to think for yourself, instead of being told what to think.