Walk into any gym these days, and you are just as likely to hear the rattling of a shaker jar as the clanking of weights. Powders, pubs, and other nutritional supplements are now so ingrained in workout culture that it is tough to imagine not following up a wonderful work out with a shake of some kind (and sometimes even mid-workout). And protein powder, especially, is leading the charge. Created by several sources — from soy to peas — the favorite supplement has cemented its place in our heads, our diets as well as our community grocery stores.
If you are an elite athlete or just a weekend warrior, then odds are you have a tub of protein powder sitting someplace in your home. And if not, perhaps you’ve gulped down a shake or smoothie sooner or later. But do you really know what is in your protein powder? And do you know how use it to get the best results? To assist you more efficiently determine how, when and in the event, you should use this supplement, we made this beginner manual. Here is how the most popular questions about protein powder shake out.
Protein Powder Primer
Many gym-goers catch a tub and begin adding shakes to their diet without thinking about why or if they want protein powder in any respect. As Brian St. Pierre, sports dietitian and nutrition coach at Precision Nutrition puts it, the most obvious reason to supplement with protein powder would be to accomplish your protein intake target for the day. However, they are not absolutely needed. “If you can satisfy your protein needs with whole foods, that is fine,” says St. Pierre. If you end up taking in a high-quality whole-food source of protein a few times daily, normally a gram of protein for every pound of body fat, you may not even require the powder fallback. But, once you’re crunched for time, protein supplements can be your greatest ally.
Though the labels may claim otherwise, the several tubs are more equal than you think. At the center of all protein powders is exactly what you’d assume (or hope) — protein — if it is from soy, soy, soy, or something else. Still, you may see terms like “hydrolyzed” and “cutting edge” to liven up bottles. St. Pierre asserts that the pursuit of greater and faster-digesting protein powders might be frivolous in the grand scheme of things (study agrees). “A lot of companies will push for getting you to pay major dollars for grass fed whey or cold-filtered whey,” St. Pierre says. “These could be things which make them better, but how much better is up for discussion.”
Therefore, if spending more does not automatically make a protein powder what should consumers look for when buying the supplement aisle? St. Pierre recommends first searching for a respectable company that has good manufacturing practices. Certifying companies buy real products from store shelves ( like a regular buyer) and conduct tests to be certain that the bottle contains what the label advertises.
When to Mix It Up
Figuring out the best times to supplement can be hard. Here are the two most common applications for protein powder throughout the day and specific programs for each.
When you are rushing out the door for work in the morning, the last thing you’ve got time for is to make a fast breakfast to kickstart your day. That is one situation where protein shakes can be convenient. Generally speaking, St Pierre recommends incorporating in a supply of vegetables, a serving or two of fruit and some wholesome fats alongside a spoonful or two of protein shake powder. These shakes may be used in place of a meal or in addition to a normal meal when attempting to gain weight.
With the dawn of the post-workout window — a thin piece of time to ingestion nutrients after a work out for the biggest advantage — protein shakes and shaker bottles became a requirement to get a gym trip. If you did not slug a shake before you walked out the door, the thought went, you’re compromising recovery period and crippling the benefits you could reap from your workout. Protein supplementation post-workout has been demonstrated to be beneficial, especially in helping people recover after a difficult session and possibly increase strength and muscle gain. However, the post-exercise window might have been somewhat overblown. St. Pierre admits that post-workout nutrition is important but not as much as you might have previously thought. “Basically, it is not a bad thing to have a shake right after your workout, but you do not need to,” he explains. “Do not drive yourself crazy thinking that you have wasted a workout as you didn’t have a shake right after exercising.”
Protein powders shake have apparently become a requirement for an active lifestyle right alongside high tech exercise trackers and cutting edge footwear. Though protein shakes may be a handy way to take in calories, it does not imply they are always the best choice. Whole food sources are still your best bet for getting nutrients. The takeaway is to build your diet with a foundation of solid food and use protein powder as a — you guessed it — supplement when it is healthy and convenient.
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