For anyone looking to bulk up or increase their lean muscle mass, the integration of additional protein to your diet is an essential part of the equation. While it is entirely possible to achieve this through increased food intake such as eggs and chicken, often times it can be difficult to stomach it all. If chomping down on 6 chicken breasts and 8 eggs a day (in addition to your normal diet) doesn’t sound ideal, using a protein powder supplement may be the right choice for you.
To start putting on the extra muscle your body needs additional resources. The generally accepted formula for lean muscle mass growth is about one and half times your body mass. This protein should then be ingested throughout five to six meals over the day. But if you are like me and most other people, sometimes this isn’t possible. Logistically, you may not have time to prepare (or afford) the quantity of food that is necessary to prescribe to this formula. Have no fear because the protein shake is here.
Easy to store and even easier to make and consume, protein shakes comes in a huge variety of flavors that are sure to appeal to even the most picky of eaters. But with the sheer amount of options available it can sometime feel like you are blindly throwing a dart at a dartboard when you walk into a supplement store and try to pick out a protein. Hopefully, the information below will lead you to making a more informed and well-rounded choice.
Research the Company
I can’t stress this enough. The supplement industry is unregulated by the FDA, so anyone with a patent and a little insight into manufacturing can market their brand of protein to a wholesaler. Because of this, you can visit a supplement store one month and go back the next to see a slew of new products all boasting amazing results.
Before you commit to one product over the other, do a little bit of research online to find out a few important details about the product you are about to consume. Great things to look for are customer reviews that are satisfactory, how long the company has been around and to some extent, the breadth of products that they make. Do they specialize in just protein or do they create a huge gamut of supplements. Specialized brands that have been around for a long time are great choices.
It’s What’s Inside that Counts
Protein manufacturers love to flaunt how many grams of protein they can squeeze into a serving. These numbers are usually found on the front of the container and emblazoned with gold stars or mock award ribbons. While it is important that each serving is giving you an adequate portion, it’s more important to look at what else is being put into the product.
Take a moment to flip the container over and check out the other ingredients that are being used. If you see more than 10 additional additives it might be a good idea to check out another brand. The quality of the protein will always outweigh the quantity. Keep this is mind when you are comparing one product to another.
Protein varieties usually boil down to about three different types. You have whey concentrate, whey isolate and then casein.
Whey concentrate is the most standard of proteins and is usually the one you find in the majority of products and protein drinks. Whey concentrate is a great protein for your morning or noon shake. Whey concentrate digest at a moderate pace. Because of this digestion speed, whey concentrate can also help curb those urges to snack.
Isolates are the perfect choice for a shake that is going to be consumed immediately after a workout. After a heavy workout, your muscles are in desperate need of protein and amino acids. Whey isolates can deliver these important materials to your muscle cells rapidly and thus increase the amount of gains you are able to achieve through one workout.
Casein protein is a slow digestive protein that is the perfect fit for a nighttime shake. Casein’s digestive properties work perfectly with a great sleep cycle as it bolsters your body’s repair processes that occur during sleep. Casein protein taken before bed will deliver your muscle cells a persistent flow of vital amino acids, an essential component of muscle growth.
Gainer versus Protein Powder
You may walk into a supplement store and see the words, “gainer” and think, “yes, this is exactly what I need!” WAIT! Slow down a bit. Gainers are indeed not for everyone. Gainers are a blend of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and sugars that emphasize weight gain as much as they stress muscle development. Gainers work really great for hard gainers or individuals who have a high metabolism and struggle with keeping weight on. If you are the former and often grapple with keeping the weight off, steer clear of a gainer.
Avoid Sensational Claims
Short and simple. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is. Stay away from products that promise to deliver certain results over a course of time or products who main point of advertisement appears to be what it can do for your body. Gains in lean muscle mass will always occur from a clean and trusted protein, great diet and an excellent workout regimen.
Sam Omidi is a health coach, educator, and blogs about the weight loss and training ecosphere. He is the founder of WeightLossandTraining.com, a health blog that specializes in just about everything in the fitness world, including workouts, meal plans and workout routines for men. Sam works to help people take control of their fitness destiny through a comprehensive and holistic approach, tailor-fitted to their goals.