You know for a fact that you can’t get all the protein you need from food alone, which is why you’ve decided to turn to protein supplements to fill the gap. It’s not always convenient or practical to eat poultry, eggs, fish, meat and other dietary sources of protein to meet your nutritional requirements. Keep in mind though, protein supplements won’t be able to take the place of a solid, well-balanced nutrition plan. They will, however, do well to fulfill an optimal protein intake.
While whole food is preferable to protein powders because it contains other nutrients, to be able to meet your protein needs, you’ll have to eat a lot. And that’s not going to work if one, you don’t have the budget for that much food; two, you don’t have time to prepare everything you’ll need to eat; and three, you plan on losing weight. Plus, when you do the math, protein supplements work out to be more cost-effective than whole food.
However, taking in protein isn’t just simply buying protein powder, making a shake and chugging it down whenever you want. Here’s how to make protein supplements work for you so you can achieve your fitness goals.
Go for high-quality protein
Buy protein powder that contains natural ingredients without fillers and other unnecessary ingredients. Stay away from powders loaded with artificial colours and sweetened with chemicals such as sucralose or aspartame. Whey protein is the top choice because of its mixture of peptides, fast digestion and absorption, high cysteine content and superior amino acid profile.
Calculate how much protein you need
The recommended protein intake per day is at least 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you weigh 150 pounds and have 10 percent or 15 pounds of body fat, you have 135 pounds of lean body mass. This means you need at least 135 to 205 grams of protein in a day.
Schedule when to drink a protein shake
It is ideal to take in liquid protein instead of whole food immediately before, during and immediately after a workout, This is because liquid is more quickly absorbed by the body. The best times would be one shake in the mid morning, and then one before and after your afternoon/evening workout.
All in all, keep in mind that protein supplements are just that–supplements. Although they are convenient for taking in the necessary calories to power you throughout the day, whole food sources are still the best for getting essential nutrients. Make sure you have a solid whole food base and use protein powders as a supplement when it’s more convenient and fast absorption is necessary.