If your aim is to gain muscle or strength, you probably already know that protein is king. It’s not just about what you do in the gym; what happens in the kitchen matters just as much. However, the modern diet makes getting enough protein throughout our day challenging. And this is where protein supplements might help give you the boost you need.
So, should you consider adding protein shakes to your diet? What is the best protein for the gym? Are protein supplements safe? What are the benefits of protein supplements? Below, we answer these questions and more.
Protein Supplements – What Are They? And Why Would I Need Them?
Protein supplements are protein-rich powders, capsules, bars, shakes, and more. Some people take these supplements as a mass gainer, to put on muscle and weight. But, at the same time, protein is a very satiating substance – meaning protein keeps you fuller for longer, so some protein shakes on the market today are actually used for weight loss.
So, are protein supplements good or bad? Why would you need them? If you want to gain muscle or lose weight, protein can be a great tool in your wellness kit. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. As previously mentioned, protein also can help keep you full for many hours, thus reducing your appetite and total caloric intake.
The Benefits of Protein Supplements
If you’re still wondering why you might use protein supplements, here are a few of their benefits:
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Promotes muscle growth.
- Helps in post-exercise recovery.
- Keeps you full for hours afterwards.
- Easy to “grab and go”.
- Aids nutrition.
Exploring Different Types of Protein Supplements
Finding best protein supplements usually comes down to individual preferences and what you need them for specifically. Luckily, with many high-protein supplements and even vegan protein supplements on the market, there are plenty of options to choose from. Popular types include:
- Whey protein powder.
- Casein protein powder.
- Pea protein powder.
- Protein bars.
- Protein supplement tablets.
- Protein supplement capsules.
- Protein cookies.
You can also find protein supplements tailored to losing or gaining weight. For instance, a weight gainer protein powder contains higher calories than a weight loss or diet protein powder. Lastly, there are specific protein powder supplements for women and men, each containing ingredients specific to what each person’s body composition requires.
Incorporating Protein Supplements Into Your Fitness Routine
Protein supplements are ultra-easy to incorporate into your fitness routine. In fact, you might be able to add it to your already existing regime, such as by adding protein powder to your pre-workout smoothie or mixing protein powder juice. Protein bars are also easy to grab on the go.
With flavourless protein powder, you can also add it to recipes you already make daily, such as sauces or even your morning coffee. For example, many people add collagen, a type of protein powder, to their morning tea or coffee.
Protein Powder Recipes: Beyond the Basics
If you can, obtaining your protein from nutrient-rich, whole-food sources, such as lean meat, eggs, cheese, tuna, and more, is always best. However, as previously mentioned, this can be tough with the modern diet and rising grocery costs. Yet, you can take your regular protein powder up a notch by adding it to various recipes, such as:
Pre-Workout vs. Post-Workout Protein Supplement Consumption: Does Timing Matter?
There’s plenty of debate regarding the “right” time to consume protein. The truth is it doesn’t necessarily matter when but as long as you eat enough of it. At the same time, certain times of the day can have benefits.
Common Protein Supplement Questions and Concerns
Ready to dive into the world of protein supplements but still have a few more questions? Keep reading to find the answers.
Are Protein Supplements Safe?
Protein powder and protein supplements are considered very safe. No evidence indicates harm to any major organs, such as the liver, kidneys, or bone. If anything, some individuals may have minor digestive side effects with certain types of protein, such as whey.
Protein Supplements for Weight Loss: Do They Work?
How Much Protein Do You Need Daily?
This may depend on your goal. Generally, experts recommend eating about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, if you intend to build muscle or gain strength, you should consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
The Pros and Cons of Protein Supplements
Let’s explore protein supplements’ benefits and side effects a bit closer. As listed above, the pros may include increased muscle gains, weight loss, and better recovery. The cons, however, may include that they can be expensive, depending on the type of protein you buy. Additionally, some people may find that certain protein powders upset their stomachs – but this is also more likely to happen with highly processed protein supplements.
Choosing the Best Protein Supplements for Your Goals
The best protein supplements for you ultimately comes down to what you need. So, let’s look closer at how you can choose a suitable protein powder.
Selecting the Right Protein Powder for You
Consider your needs; Is your goal to gain muscle? Lose weight? Gain strength? Maintain weight? A quick solution? Find a protein powder that makes sense for your specific goal, diet and schedule.
For example, if your goal is weight loss, you probably want a protein supplement that isn’t heavy on calories. A protein bar is a handy boost if you only need a small pre or post-gym snack. If you have an early start, prepare some protein oats the night before or add protein powder to your morning drink.
Vegan Protein Supplements: Plant-Powered Nutrition
Many protein supplements are made from animals. Thus, if your diet is restrictive in any way, such as if you’re plant-based, you’ll want to be careful when selecting a suitable protein powder. Luckily, many options exist, including protein supplements for vegetarians and vegans. You can also find gluten-free and dairy-free options if needed.
Maximising Gains: Protein Supplements for Women
Protein supplements for women often claim to improve nail strength, enhance hair health, and more. So, do they actually do these things? Well, this depends on the type of protein supplement.
For example, collagen is a protein supplement that is shown to improve skin, hair, and nail health. At the same time, many women supplement with collagen and a protein powder, like whey or casein, for their workouts. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your lifestyle.
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Check Out Aura’s New Fitness Nutrition Range
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