By Nik Toth
Protein is an essential macronutrient required for the development and repair of muscles and tissues. Protein powders are one of the most purchased supplements in the health industry.
From fitness models drinking large protein shakes after a lifting session, to social media gurus endorsing branded protein products, it’s no surprise the protein market is so vast and popular.
Since there are so many protein powders to choose from, let’s clear up some important questions:
Read on to discover everything you need to know about protein shakes:
Gulping down five protein shakes a day may sound nutritious to some, but the body only requires a certain amount of protein per day, and any excess is excreted or converted to fat and stored. More protein does not always equal more muscle.
To discover the right amount of protein you should be consuming per day, you can simply multiply your weight in kg by 1 – 1.5, and you’ll find the recommended amount of protein in grams for your specific goals. For general health and well-being, your body only needs about 1-1.5 gram per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 50 kg, you will need approximately 50-75 grams per day.
For most people, getting their protein requirements from food sources (such as lean meat, eggs, nuts, legumes) alone is sufficient. However, many athletes, fitness models, CrossFitters, or those wanting to build more muscle choose to supplement their diets with a protein shake. This may serve as a meal replacement or an additional serve of amino acids for muscle recovery.
If you want to increase lean muscle tissue, then upping your protein intake is going to be important. Although real food is always digested and broken down more efficiently by your body than processed protein powders, when it comes to convenience, protein powders always win.
The market is well-stocked with a dizzying range of protein powders, with dairy or plant-based options, different flavours, macronutrient contents, and more. It can be an extremely confusing and daunting experience to find the right protein powder for you.
Here are some tips to guide you through selecting a protein supplement that will complement your fitness goals:
Now that you’ve selected your first protein supplement, it’s time to figure out when to use it, and how.
I highly suggest taking the protein supplement within 30 minutes of a workout. During this period, the muscles are very responsive to amino acids from the protein, allowing for the muscle fibres to recover quicker. Opt for coconut water or water when preparing your shake.
With protein supplementation, it’s important to remember that quality matters more than quantity. It is also important that you limit protein powders to one serve per day. Do not use them as meal replacements; instead, eat real food because your body is much better at utilising natural foods than man-made supplements.
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