Protein, protein, protein… Any fitness guru worth their salt will tell you that protein is the number 1 supplement to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. We shall answer some of the most frequently asked questions and clear-up any misconceptions about protein shakes.
What is a protein shake?
The most widely used supplement on the market, protein shakes tend to consist of whey protein, although casein (milk), soy, egg, hemp, rice, and pea protein powders are also available. People often mistake them for steroids based on the performance enhancing properties which are driven by the products’ marketing campaigns. Unlike steroids, Protein shakes are legal, purely nutritional and have no direct influence on your hormones.
People also misconceive the difference between a ‘mass gainer’ and a protein shake. Mass gainers are used as an aid to bulking up and include a large amount of carbohydrates that get delivered straight to your muscles. These serve a purpose after a workout when the muscle’s energy is depleted. Protein shakes, by contrast, deliver amino acids to muscle cells, helping them to recover after strenuous workouts.
Should I take protein shakes?
If you’re not getting enough protein through your diet, making gains in the gym will be painfully difficult regardless of how hard you work out. This is due to your body having insufficient protein in order to effectively rebuild and repair your muscles. Where possible you should try to get more protein through natural sources such as milk, eggs, meat and fish as they are unprocessed and have a higher nutritional value as a result. However, protein products such as shakes and bars can be a good way to conveniently get a large, quick protein hit straight after a training session. To ensure you are getting the best quality protein products look out for products which provide all 20 amino acids.
Which protein shake should I chose?
Whey is the most common base for the protein powder, as it contains all of the nine essential amino acids that facilitate the healing of damaged muscles.
There are three main types of whey protein: isolate, hydrolysate, and concentrate. Isolate yields a high level of protein and is low on allergenics, making it a good option for the lactose intolerant. Hydrolysate is produced in a way that effectively means it has been pre-digested, so its rate of absorption by the body is super fast. Concentrate, meanwhile, is the cheapest option, as the effects of its protein content are offset by its significant fat and cholesterol levels. Serious athletes tend to use hydrolysate – so it will come as no surprise that hydrolysate is also the most expensive of the three options.
How much protein should I take?
The amount of protein you should be taking will depend on a number of factors such as size, age and activity. An athlete or body builder should be taking more protein than the average person. As a rule of thumb you should be taking in between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein each day, for each kilogram of body weight. Remember that this is a rule of thumb and will not be the same for all people. If you’re still unsure how much protein you should be consuming, then visit www.myprotein.com and check out this nifty new interactive nutritional guide which breaks down your protein intake by sport. I believe the most important factor to consider when deciding whether or not you need to begin supplementing with whey protein is to remember that it’s just a food supplement. Don’t expect instant results: whey protein is a great source of protein, but it’s not going to ‘do’ anything for you that food wouldn’t do.
Like all supplements, whey protein is best used in conjunction with your overall health and fitness efforts, which will include planning the correct training phases, training intensity, consistency, adequate rest periods, and, of course, a nutritional program calibrated to your current goals.
I Love Newcastle Magazine would love to hear your thoughts about the above post, so please feel free to share them in the comments box below.