I've had a lot of ladies ask me about protein powders lately. If you are a gym frequenter, you probably have seen buff dudes bring their blender bottles with BCAAs, creatine, or protein powder with them. But protein powders are becoming more and more popular, even with non weightlifters. Hopefully, this blog will help to clear up some of your questions.
Who should take protein powders?
According to WebMD, protein powders are not just for bodybuilders and pro athletes. There are a variety of different life circumstances that would benefit from the extra protein:
- When you’re growing. A teenager needs more protein to fuel his workouts because his body is still growing and uses more protein in general.
- When you’re starting a program. If working out is new to you and you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would.
- When you’re amping up your workouts. If you normally work out for half an hour a few times a week, but now you’ve decide to train for a half-marathon, your body will need more protein.
- When you’re recovering from an injury. Athletes with sports injuries frequently need more protein to help them heal.
- If you’re going vegan. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle eliminate a number of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.
What exactly is protein powder?
A protein powder is simply a convenient, complete, high-quality source of protein, usually derived from a natural source of protein: whey, brown rice, spirulina, soy, pea, hemp, caesin, milk, egg whites, etc.
What's the point?
People use protein powder as an efficient and affordable way to get more protein into their diet as a supplement for their regular food protein intake. Protein gives your body long-lasting fuel, it speeds recovery, it helps build muscle, and is an essential part of a healthy diet. Adding a protein shake into your day is faster and cheaper than adding a grilled chicken breast or a slab of tofu. Also, protein powders are usually very low in fat, sugar, cholesterol.
Will it make me look manly?
If you are a female, no. We just don't produce the amount of testosterone in our bodies to make us look like a bro. You would have to try SO HARD to look like a body builder. Protein powders without additives are basically the same as any other source of protein. So unless you think your usual dinner is going to make you look like Arnold, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. In fact, when paired with weight training, it will help you to lose weight. Protein powder helps women lose weight in the following ways:
- Keeps cravings at bay -- extra protein fills your tummy, leaving you less hungry and less likely to indulge in that cupcake.
- Enhances your workout -- you'll be able to do more, burning more calories.
- It will help build lean muscle -- It's different from bulky muscle. It leaves you with tight skin, and lovely curves. Plus, lean muscle burns fat even while you are sleeping! (Cardio only burns while you are actually doing the activity). You want to look feminine and toned, right?
When do I take it?
The best times to take protein is either first thing in the morning or around a workout. On rest days, I make sure to take protein first thing in the morning. For the most part, I'd say that taking your protein within 30 min after your workout is best -- for recovery purposes, but if you are taking something like GNC's Whebolic Extreme 60 Ripped™ Whey Protein that has caffeine added, you would want to take that 30 min before your workout because the caffeine will give your workout an extra boost. Check the label; it will tell you if it's best to take before/after your workout.
I put protein powder in my morning oatmeal and then I take it after my workout (on non rest days). I take it twice on workout days because I follow a mostly vegan diet. I could use the extra protein.
How do I take it?
- In a blender bottle mixed with water
- Blended into a smoothie
- In a protein pancake
- In a protein powder-based dessert
- In your oatmeal
Which powder should I buy?
My advice is to just go out and try some. Whey is always a good place to start from - it's the one most people take and can be found just about anywhere. There are so many different kinds to choose from and each brand tastes a little bit different. I would say to make sure to check the label. If your goal is to lose fat, don't buy one that has a ton of sugar in it. That would kind of defeat the purpose.
and GNC Pro Performance AMP Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60 (whey protein) after my workout.
Where can I buy it?
You can find generic brands just about anywhere - Kroger, HEB, Target, Walmart, etc. For vegan specialty items, Whole Foods or online is going to be your best bet. You can, of course, find protein powders at stores like GNC as well.
Which protein do you take? Do you have any other questions?