The first thing every bro asks their gym bro…
“What Protein Do You Take, Bro?”
It’s a question that dates back as far back as anyone who recognizes another one’s gains in the gym or out in the street.
Now most of us wish we could eat every gram of Protein that we need, but in reality most of us need to consume Protein drinks to meet our daily macronutrient requirement. These powders and drinks are great ways to add in quality grams of protein while on the run, on a tight budget, or when we may just not be hungry.Let’s start with the basics.
There are three macronutrients that we consume on a daily basis, Carbohydrates, Fats and PROTEIN. Every gram of Protein contains 4 Calories which provides the body with energy to sustain and build. While Protein does a multitude of things for the body, when it comes to weight lifting, we care that it is essential for building quality muscle mass.You can find Protein in various foods such as animal meats, nuts or dairy products.
Some Protein sources have a combination or Proteins and Fats, or even Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates. This makes it important to chose your Protein source properly depending on your personal nutritional goals and requirements. If you are able to consume more Fats in your diet, than a fatty meat choice or nuts will work for you. If you are restricted you may need to stick with lean meat choices such as skinless chicken breast or fish. For the Vegan, there is Protein in various vegetables, nuts, legumes and newer Vegan Meat Substitutes such as Beyond Meat.
For the average gym rat, 1-2g of Protein per pound of lean body mass is a sufficient amount to consume. Remember that your body may not utilize every gram of protein simply because you want it to. Excessive protein consumption can strain your internal organs as well as be converted to fat stores.
Which Protein Powder should you choose then?
While there seems to be endless options for protein powders on the market right now, I believe we should be focusing primarily on the three most useful sources: Whey Protein, Casein Protein, Vegan Proteins.
Whey Protein Powder seems to be the most common source of protein. It is created as a Milk or Cheese byproduct, but has low levels of lactose.There are a variety of types of Whey Protein including Isolate, Hydrolysate, and Concentrate. Each type of Whey refers to the process that it has been created along with rate of absorption. In most Protein Powders you will find a Blend of Whey Protein which ensures that the protein absorbs at different speeds after consumption.
If you are looking for a fast acting, budget friendly protein powder then Whey Protein can often times fit your needs.
As with Whey Protein, Casein is a Milk byproduct which means it too has lactose levels. Casein however breaks down much slower in the body than your typical Whey Protein does.
The slower absorption of Casein Protein allows you to time it differently than you would with a basic Whey. This can be good for when you have long time frames that you will not be able to consume Protein, such as before bed.
Vegan Protein Powders have come a long way since your basic Soy Protein that tasted like chemicals or grass. Vegan Protein Powders today generally consist of Pea Protein, Hemp Protein, Asparagus Protein or a variety of other naturally sourced plant based protein sources.
The lack of lactose makes these proteins ideal for someone who is lactose intolerant or Vegan/Vegetarian.
These proteins can be used just as you would a Whey Protein, and offer a plant based option that provides the same results.
No matter which Protein you choose to go with, take time to research the brand, ask questions, and be consistent with your consumption. Protein Powders are not meant to be your main source of Protein, but are there to add grams where needed especially post workout or for a quick snack.
Don’t worry, there’s not necessarily any wrong Whey, as long as you stick to your nutrition plan and push it in the gym.
Have your Protein and watch your Gains.