Protein powders have been popular among gym goers for a long time now. There is lots of information out there. Some very good and some very bad and misleading. Here are the responses I give to clients when asked about what they should do…
The first and most often asked is why should I use protein powder?
Protein makes up roughly 80% of your muscle mass and is responsible for your muscles structure and ability to move and function. This is why protein intake is such a key supplement for athletes who train. The goals can be different but all are helped with the intake of protein. Whether you want to increase muscle size, strength, performance or speed of recovery. If you really enjoy your training program and want to do it more often and recover more quickly between sessions then protein powder will definitely help you.
I have talked previously about the timing and benefits of post workout nutrition and if you want more information on that click here to read more…
So now you understand why it is beneficial but what should you look for in a good protein powder before you buy it?
Most people looking to buy protein powders for the first time will look at the label and see the number of grams of protein and pick the one with the most and buy it thinking it is the best value. This is definitely not the right way to go about it and is an honest mistake I see lots of clients make. Let me tell you how I judge which one to go for.
There are 3 key ingredients you need to look for on the label. If they aren’t on there put the bag down and find one which states the quantity of each of these.
Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine!
These are the essential 3 amino acids and are the main building blocks for muscle in the body. Unless it is specified how much of each of these is in the product I personally would not buy it. Sometimes it will not be on the ingredients label but it will say 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 on the packaging somewhere.
This is the ratio of Leucine:Isoleucine:Valine found in the product. Anything with at least a 2:1:1 ratio is what I will generally go for.
The last question I often get is what is the difference between a WPI and a WPC and which one do I need?
This question is easily answered as each serves a different purpose.
WPC stands for Whey Protein Concentrate. It is best used either at night before bed or in the morning as a substitute for breakfast or added to smoothies as it is a slower release protein source. The protein molecules are less broken down and it is digested slower by the body.
WPI or Whey Protein Isolate is for use straight after a workout or when you want it to be digested much more quickly. It is a more broken down form of protein and is generally used post workout.
These questions are the ones asked most frequently and the information above should help you make a more educated decision when going out to buy protein for yourself.
If you still have a burning question that wasn't answered feel free to ask in the comments below…