Protein powder shakes are in my opinion probably the most important supplement there is, and it is basically one of just a few supplements that I use on daily basis. There does seem to be a fare amount of confusion surrounding Protein powders and this is mainly due to claims and information provided and published by supplement companies.
We have all been there. We walk into a supplement store and are faced with hundreds of choices. The guy working there is trying to make us buy the one where he is getting the highest commission on so his advice is probably not 100% reliable and with every company making the claim that their powder is the best for “fast results” it is no wonder that there is so much confusion about protein powders. In this articles though I want to provide you with non nonsense, straight forward advice so you can walk into any store and find a good quality protein powder without getting ripped off ever again.
In this article I will not talk about things like the advantages of taken protein powders, how much protein you should be taking for your goals, or even go into a crazy amount of detail about the chemical break down and productions stages of protein powders (believe me it will be a very long article if I had to.) We will just look at the actual facts of protein powders themselves: the most popular types and how to use them.
So let’s get started.
Now, if I had to name all the different types of protein powders it would probably become an article in itself, so instead we’ll look at the protein powders you should look for.
If you are looking for the most versatile, high quality and effective protein powder you should start by looking at Whey protein powder. The biggest problem is that you mainly get two kinds of Whey protein powders: Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate. Whey Isolate is normally seen as the better choice due to the fact that is has a higher amount of actual protein per serving (90-95%.) Whey Concentrate on the other hand can have anything from 30 – 85% of actual protein per serving and it will normally come with more fillers (e.g., carbs, fats, etc…) to make up the rest of the calories.
For this reason most people go with Whey Isolate as you normally are guaranteed a good amount of quality protein per serving. It takes the guess work out of trying to find out how good the protein powder you are looking to buy really is. However, Isolate can be more expensive (some might say because it’s worth it) and if cost is a problem for you then there is nothing wrong with going the Concentrate route. In fact, if you do your homework you can find Whey Concentrate powders that are just as good (sometimes with extra benefits) as the Isolate version. For me personally, I do prefer Whey Protein Isolate and it is the protein supplement I use every single day. Like I said I won’t go into too much detail here but you can also start to look at how the supplements are developed.
The only other protein powder I will mention is Casein Protein powder. This is a slow releasing type protein powder and one you can use just before you go to bed or during the day. Be careful not to use this right before or after workouts as you should use a fast release protein supplement instead. To be totally honest, I just have a Whey Isolate in my supplement cupboard and at night I would eat something like low fat cottage cheese that also has casein protein in it.
Now that you know what to look for (Whey Protein Isolate) lets quickly look at a few things you want to consider when you choose a brand.
Price: Normally when it comes to any kind of supplements you get what you pay for. but let’s face it, we all know that when a brand gets bigger and more famous they know they can add a few extra dollars for that name. So if money is not a problem just go into the shop, mention the things above, and ask for the best supplement they have. If money is problem, like for most of us, look around and ask for a supplement with the specific info above but maybe one without a brand name. Many small companies that are just starting out will have the highest quality product but try and keep the price down to make a name for themselves and get a foot into the market.
Purpose: If you want to add muscle then you might be looking for a supplement with a few more calories and more protein per serving. If you are looking to get lean and ripped you might want to look for a supplement with a very low amount of fat and carbs but still a high amount of Protein per serving.
Taste: This might sound like nothing important but I have literally thrown away tubs of protein powder because it just tastes so bad. If you are going to start using a protein powder regularly make sure you like the taste. Many companies will actually have samples so ask for a few samples and try them out first. This way you can make sure you buy something you will actually enjoy drinking.
Mixing: Make sure you check the mixing details and also how easy it mixes. For example, if you can just use a shaker and mix it anywhere it might be more versatile than something you have to mix with a blender because it just doesn’t mix easy. Also, this is not that common anymore, you could even get some powders where they will tell you to mix it with milk instead of water. Once again can become a problem if you are not at home all the time to mix your shake.
This should give you a nice short but powerful guide on what kind of protein powder to buy and use so that you don’t get ripped off again at you next visit to the supplement store!