New to bodybuilding? Here's everything you need to know about protein powder for those who are just beginning. Don't worry... we'll keep it simple, to the point and will avoid using words like beta-lactoglulin that you don't have to pretend to understand.
The Beginners Guide To Protein Powder
IS PROTEIN POWDER NECESSARY?
No. But it is recommended if you plan to gain and consume more than 200 grams of protein per day. It will make your life much easier than trying to meal prep every time you need protein. Dollar for dollar, protein powder is typically more cost effective than buying whole food. That doesn't mean you can replace every meal with protein powder though. Protein is a supplement - meaning "in addition" to". Your main focus right now should be on the food you eat. Fill your diet with foods high in protein like fish, eggs, poultry and meat.
DO PROTEIN POWDERS REALLY WORK?
Yes. Keep in mind that protein is composed of amino acids, a.k.a. the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are essential to your body functioning properly, especially when it comes to maintaining healthy muscles. The major benefits of consuming protein powders are losing fat and preserving muscle, increasing size and strength, reducing hunger, improving immune system and coping with stress.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT PROTEIN POWDER I TAKE?
If you aren't already aware here is one EXTREMELY important tip about protein powders: they are not all the same and many are not what they claim to be. We hate to say it but most proteins are loaded with bad ingredients. The good news is there are plenty of all natural options out there that work. Many times these will be slightly more expensive than other brands that load their protein powders with sucrose, fructose, rice syrup, etc. But at the end of the day it's worth paying a few more bucks to get the results you're working so hard to achieve.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN POWDER DO I NEED?
This really depends on your body. A simple equation to figure out how much you need is to take 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per lean body mass. Example: if you are 150 pounds and 10% body fat (150 x .10 = 15 pounds of fat. That leaves 135 pounds of lean mass) then you need at least 135 to 205 grams of protein per day.
WHEN DO I TAKE PROTEIN POWDER?
We recommend taking protein powder for your pre-workout, workout and post-workout shake. Keep in mind that liquid food like protein shakes are absorbed much faster than whole foods which gives you a greater advantage if you take them around the times you workout. Protein powder can be used as a meal replacement but for no more than two meals a day. Here is a breakdown of what a normal day should look like:
Breakfast (meal 1)
Mid-morning (meal 2)
liquid protein meal
Lunch (meal 3)
Mid-afternoon (meal 4)
Pre and post workout (meal 5)
Dinner (meal 6)
Before bed (meal 7)
WHAT KIND OF PROTEIN POWDER SHOULD I USE?
There are a lot of protein powder's to choose from including whey, soy, casein, beef, eggwhite, hemp, the list goes on and on. Familiarize yourself with the different types of proteins and their benefits. Here's a good start to the two most important and beneficial types of protein powders.
Fast digestion, superior amino acid profile, high cysteine content and mixture of peptides.
Best when used before, during and immediately after your workout. This is the phase of your day when you need energy the most and when your body is in an anabolic state.
Slow digestion, superior amino acid profile and mixture of peptides.
Do not use casein pre, during, or post workout because it is slowly absorbed. Instead, use it during the day when you are not in your pre and post workout window. Many bodybuilders and athletes recommend taking this before bed to flood your body with amino's while you sleep.
Click to see the highest rated casein proteins.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH PROTEIN POWDERS
The number one thing to stay away from is overdoing it. A common mistake of newbies is to take a ton of protein powder. At first you may feel fine but then start to notice stomach cramps, bloating, aches and pains. If this happens decrease the amount of protein powder you are taking for a while. Replace it with whole foods that are high in protein like eggs, egg whites, grilled skinless chicken breasts, lean ground beef, and fish like salmon, tuna and tilapia.