This article was written by Big Les & was originally published in The MuscleTalker January 2011 edition
Some people will decide to invest in a protein supplement for the first time; others will be trying out new products or just mixing things up. With an eye on cost here is a quick guide:
- The only - and I mean only - time you need a protein powder supplement is after a heavy weights workout. That is a workout where you break some tissue down! At this time you want nutrients in a hurry - so it's whey, and at least 70%. There are concentrates, isolates and high peptide based formulas - if you are on a budget then concentrate will serve you very well, isolate is for anyone not looking at title contention, the peptides - you need to be an advanced trainer to even have a chance of seeing the difference.
- Don't have your post workout whey with milk! Just don't, it defeats the very reason you are having whey by adding in casein that slows digestion down.
- Boosting your intake: protein powders are quick and convenient, so if you want one for extra nutrition through the day then you can pick a blend with casein, which is absorbed slower and so is not suitable post workout. If you are on a budget then skimmed milk powder in with whey is great home made version.
- Don't just look at protein content percentages. It's easy to be seduced by products that pack high percentages of protein. But what you want is quality protein that is high in essential amino acids and glutamine. This means you are looking for products that are high in whey or whey peptides and casein. Vegetable proteins are good for gas!
- A note about soya protein: so it is excellent protein but you need to know that it is impossible to source soya that is guaranteed not to be genetically modified.
- Don't dose scoop: protein powder is a food. If you are skimping and trying to make it last, you need to re-evaluate your protein strategy. The only time to be measuring your powder is pre-contest or on a very serious cutting phase!
- Don't overdo it. Yes protein powder is food, but the best food is good old food itself. Real foods contain nutrients not found in whey and protein powders, so don't try to live off powders, unless you don't want to be at your best of course.
Finally, protein powder is a bit like wine, one man's merlot is another man's paint stripper. Get samples, try out different products and flavours, and remember variety makes life much more fun.