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Supplement Series: Protein Powder


We’re continuing our look at supplements today with a focus on protein powder to discuss the what’s and the why’s of using it, how much you should consume per day, the benefits of a powder versus nutrients via daily meals, and if it is right/necessary for you based on your goals.




WHAT IS PROTEIN POWDER?


The truth is in the name here. Protein powder is a supplement that adds a specific type of protein to your daily nutrition, typically whey or casein. Each has specific functions and benefits.


Whey Protein is great for a post-workout shake as it is can be digested very quickly and help to rebuild your muscles. Think of it as the ‘intra-workout’ shake as you would want to eat it around the time of your workout.


Casein Protein is better for slower digestion if you expect to go long periods (5-8 hours) of time where you won’t be able to eat anything and don’t want your body to cannibilize your muscles.



DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?


Protein Powder is one of the most valid supplements you can buy. Adding protein powder to shakes, oatmeal, puddings, etc. is an incredibly effective way to hit your daily protein intake, especially beneficial for those who struggle to eat regularly throughout the day due to time constraints and a busy schedule. The key benefits of Protein Powder are:


Promotion of Muscle Growth

Increased Energy

Increased Performance Over Long Periods of Time

Convenient Nutrition Delivery

Lean Weight Gain When Combined With a Healthy Diet


However, you cannot live on protein shakes alone. Your body reacts differently to protein intake based on the other macronutrients (carbs & fats) you consume. It is vital to get daily requirements of all macronutrients in order to promote muscle growth and hypertrophy.



HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?


The amount of protein you should consume on a daily basis is one of the most debated topics in the fitness industry. A study conducted in 2018 by Brad Jon Schoenfeld and Alan Albert Aragon and published in the National Library of Medicine concludes that, in order to maximize anabolism (think muscle growth) one should consume protein at a target intake of 0.4 g/kg/meal across a minimum of four meals in order to reach a minimum of 1.6 g/kg/day (Link To Study Here)


Broken down by weight, it would look like this:


100 lb person: 4 meals per day, 27g/meal

150lb person: 4 meals per day 37g/meal

200lb person: 4 meals per day 50g/meal

250lb person: 4 meals per day 62g/meal



DO YOU NEED PROTEIN POWDER?


Short answer: it depends. The best way to get your daily nutrition is via a healthy diet of real foods. In a perfect world, we’d all have time to cook our meals and eat healthy, balanced, nutrient dense food 3-4 times per day. In the real world, people are busy and time is limited. If grabbing a protein shake or adding a powder to your food helps you hit your targets, it’s a perfectly valid and effective way to produce muscle growth.


CONCLUSION:


If you feel protein powder is necessary for your fitness goals, aim for a brand that is high in grams per scoop (25-40) and low in sugar. And, in my experience, stick to typically flavors (chocolate, vanilla) as some of the more exotic flavors (fruity pebbles, cinnamon bun) are practically inedible. But, as always, do what is right for you!



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