Even if you have a perfect diet and a stellar workout, there’s a good chance you still aren’t reaching the health and fitness goals you’ve set for yourself. To get there means doing everything in your power to maximize your gains, which includes taking supplements to enhance your progress. By far the most popular fitness supplement for weight lifters is protein powder. Not only does protein powder help facilitate muscle growth and strength, but it also has a number of health benefits.
- Understanding How Protein Powder Works
- Benefits of Protein Powder
- Whey Protein Powder
- Casein Protein Powder
- Organic Protein Powder
To understand the important role that protein powder plays, you must understand the process of building muscle. When you go to the gym and lift weights, you’re actually breaking your muscles down by causing tiny microtears. After your workout, your body will recover by building back up this muscle tissue, only bigger and stronger- at least if you have a proper diet and training regimen.For the body to properly repair this muscle tissue, it requires plenty of amino acids. And what is the building block of protein? Amino acids! It’s simple science.
But not all protein powders are created equally. In fact, protein powders come in a variety of forms. We’re going to cover whey protein, casein protein, and organic protein powders as they’re the most popular powders that you should consider supplementing with.
There are so many positives to taking a protein supplement, and it all comes down to health and giving your body what it needs. Protein plays such a large role in building muscle and helping you recovery. For this reason, you never want to be protein deficient. Let’s now look at some benefits that protein powder offers you.
Cuts Down Cravings and Hunger
A major probably for gym goers is that after they hit the gym, they’re tempted by the snacks all around them: chips, cookies, ice cream etc. Eating these foods is an easy way to throw all your progress right down the drain.
Consuming protein powder tackles this issue twofold:
1.) Consuming protein powder reduces levels of ghrelin, a hormone that tells your brain to eat, for up to several hours after consumption. By drinking a protein shake, you stave off those cravings for unhealthy food.
2.) If you have a sweet tooth, protein powders can serve as a great substitute to sugary foods, as most of them tastes great without all the nasty ingredients in junk food. You can even add fruit to get extra nutrients in.
Boosts Your Immune System
When you spend your days lifting weights, running, jumping, swimming etc. you’re putting a lot of stress on your body. This isn’t exactly the same type of stress that comes with working a job, but it can have similar effects on the body if not taken care of.
As you may know, high levels of stress can lower the body’s immune response. Protein powder helps combat this as it reduces levels of the hormones in your body that cause stress, like glutathione, to keep you feeling healthy.
Great for On-the-Go People
Although it’s ideal to get most of your calories and nutrients from whole foods, that sometimes isn’t practical. In today’s modern world, there’s a good chance you may find yourself having to miss out on meals regularly. This is terrible for guys looking to pack on muscle.
By consuming plentiful amounts of protein, you ensure that your body is getting enough amino acids in order to properly restore the torn muscle tissue. While having a diet filled with protein-rich foods like eggs and chicken is important, many people have found protein powders helpful in order to get the adequate amount of protein needed.
Plus, sometimes you may get tired of the same old food. Look at it this way: Can you eat a dozen eggs or pounds of meat every day? Probably not. On top of that, eating all that food can cause issues for your digestive health. One scoop of traditional protein powder has the same amount of protein as about four eggs or half a pound of chicken! This is huge, and provides s a convenient way to get the protein you need. You need that protein constantly, especially protein with a complete amino acid profile which the quality protein powders have. No more missing meals with protein powder!
Whey is the most popular choice for protein powder. It has been a staple in the diets of bodybuilders and novice trainers alike for decades. The reason whey is the choice for most protein powders is that it’s relatively easy to produce. Whey protein is a byproduct of cheese production. It’s ‘scooped off the top’, broken down, and concentrated into protein form.
But the reason it’s consumed so much is because it gets digested quickly which is why it should be taken directly after a workout. It’s the best way to get amino acids straight to your muscles which helps boost your progress.
Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Gold Standard
The most highly touted brand of whey protein, if not all bodybuilding supplements in general, is Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Gold Standard. This product has over 11,000 reviews on Amazon. The company has developed a tremendous amount of popularity and prestige simply because of the quality of their products.
Optimum Nutrition’s whey uses Whey Protein Isolate as the primary ingredient, packed in to give your 24 grams of all-whey protein. One of the great things about Optimum’s Whey is that because the company is so big, they can offer protein in a variety of flavors such as ‘Rocky Road’ and ‘Banana Cream’. These are two great-tasting flavors.
Dymatize ISO 100 Post Workout
ISO 100 is one of the favored whey powders by competitive bodybuilders, as it can really help take your performance in the weight room to the next level. It’s a highly-fast absorbing whey, with 25 grams of whey isolate. Unlike many other brands of whey protein, ISO 100 is pure and is free of fat, carbohydrates, sugar, gluten, lactose and other nasty additives. Plus it goes great in shakes and smoothies.
Casein is another popular choice for bodybuilders and athletes. The process of creating casein is quite similar to whey, yet the two have distinct roles in building muscle.
As previously mentioned, whey is used after workouts since it’s a quick digesting protein. Casein protein on the other hand, is a slow digesting protein powder. This means that after consumption, it will take a few hours for the body to completely digest the protein. It’s for this reason that it’s often consumed at night, right before bed. By doing this, bodybuilders can give their bodies a constant supply of protein throughout the night, due to the length of time it takes casein to digest.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Protein
Yep, Optimum is that good of a brand, and if you’re going to buy Casein powder then look no further than this product. Optimum Nutrition’s Casein is designed to prevent catabolic reactions and muscle breakdown in the body, by releasing protein slowly throughout the day. In fact, it takes about twice as long to get broken down as whey protein. ON’s casein contains 24 grams of micellar casein per serving.
Muscle Pharm Combat Casein Supplement
Muscle Pharm’s Combat Casein is part of their Combat line, designed to pack on size and strength. It’s relatively similar to Optimum Nutrition’s Casein, but packs in 28 grams of protein per serving! It also has an added digestive enzyme blend to help you get the most out of the casein powder.
Unlike whey and casein powder, organic protein powder is often made from non-animal products such as rice. It offers a few unique benefits for this reason. For one, many people are allergic to dairy. People assume that just because the protein is in a powder form and isn’t reminiscent of dairy products, it’s not dairy. That’s not the case at all. If someone is lactose intolerant, they will respond to whey and casein protein the same as if they were consuming a traditional dairy product like milk or cheese.
Also, organic protein powders don’t usually consist of slow-releasing or fast-digesting protein, rather it’s going to be somewhere in the middle. This is advantageous for people who just want to consume a regular protein powder as a meal replacement.
An excellent choice for an organic protein powder is SAN Rawfusion. This is a top-notch quality prion powder, comprised of a fusion that contains rice, pea, and artichoke isolate blends. The product contains 21 grams of high-quality protein per serving.
Again, one of the great things about this product is that it can be tolerated by nearly anyone, with even the worst allergies or digestive issues. It is free of allergens, GMO’s, animal products, artificial colors, sweeteners or anything synthetic, so it should appeal to anyone with concerns about any of those.
And yes, it tastes great. The two most popular flavors are chocolate and vanilla bean, and they certainly mix well in any shake or smoothie that you make.
Sunwarrior Classic Wholegrain Brown Rice Protein Powder
Sunwarrior’s protein is perhaps the most popular organic protein around. With nearly 600 reviews on Amazon, its reputation is superb. And for good reason too. Sunwarrior is 100% plant-based, comprised of wholegrain brown rice protein. It’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of additives and chemicals. This means that it’s not only great for your recovery and health, but it’s easy on the digestive system so there’s no worries about issues after consumption.