Part 1 of the protein series
I have only slowly approached the topic of protein powder and protein shakes. To me, they meant Arnold Schwarzenegger and extreme bodybuilding. Nothing I wanted to identify with. Then I started to take a closer look at sports nutrition and soon I recognized the importance of protein for the building of muscles.
Read in the following post why you must not underestimate the importance of protein for a successful workout. Also, this is the first part of a special series, in which I will give you seven delicious shake recipes.
Protein is one of the fundamental elements of muscles. It builds and maintains body cells and promotes the transportation of important substances through your muscles. Protein further helps your muscles to recover more quickly after an intense workout. Without protein or with a protein deficiency, your body can not fulfill its main functions.
During an intense workout, your body burns up to 30 grams of muscle protein. So if you train with too few protein reserves in your muscles, you might even lose muscle mass, instead of building up. Your performance decreases even though you regularly work out. Note that your workout plan is not your only key to sports success. You also always need to make sure that you keep your protein levels steady and that your care for an adequate protein intake.
How much protein do you need to bulk up?
The normal daily protein need lies between 0.8 to 1 gram per kilogram body weight. You can cover this amount easily through a protein-rich diet. Take care to eat enough meat, dairy products, eggs, nuts, or soy.
To bulk up, you should ingest between 0.8 and 2.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight/day. The amount depends on your kind of sport, the intensity and the durance with which you train. There are many apps and websites that help you to calculate your daily protein need. You can state how much muscle mass you want to gain, which sport you are doing, for how long, how much else you move throughout the day, etc.
So do you need to eat lots of eggs?
Eggs are still the most natural protein source and of course you can begin to increase your protein intake by eating more eggs. The protein structure of the egg is quite similar to the protein structure of your muscles. Thus, your body absorbs the egg protein much better and more effective than from other foods. This trait is called biological value. The biological value describes how well the body absorbs the protein of food. The higher the value, the better. The egg is the reference unit and has a biological value of 100. In comparison, cow’s milk has a value of 88. But, whey protein has a biological value of 104. So, if you ever have enough of omelet give protein powder a chance.
Which protein powders are there?
The most common protein powder is whey protein. It consists of whey protein mixed with water and athletes love it due to its high biological value (104). The body absorbs this protein quickly and it is rapidly available as energy supplier. Because the sugar and fat content of the whey protein are particularly low, this protein is especially easy to digest. Lastly, whey protein contains many BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) which are also important if you want gain muscle mass.
Another protein is casein. It consists of much larger molecules than the whey protein which makes it harder to digest. You can get enough casein through for example Quark.
The egg protein is from eggs and contains no fats or carbohydrates.
Vegetarians and vegans prefer soy protein. It is produced vegan and consists of only vegetable components. Otherwise, it has the same traits as other protein powder.
Finally, the multi-component protein powder that often consists of whey and casein proteins. Yet, I would rather invest my money in whey protein powder and eat quark.
Which is the optimal time to take protein powder and gain the most out of it?
Whey protein is best taken right after a workout. Your body can directly use the protein to fill up its empty protein storages. Casein you should better eat in the evening and not immediately after a workout.
How to find the perfect protein powder
You should first decide of course which protein powder you want to take (whey protein, egg protein, soy protein.)
Also, pay attention to the following points and you’ll find a good protein powder that is worth its money and does not harm your health.
- have a look at the list of ingredients: the further back an ingredient appears, the less it is contained in the product. Thus, keywords like whey isolate or similar, should be first or second. You want to have some protein in your protein powder, don’t you?
- Check the production method: the best process to gain protein is the ultrafiltration/cross-flow microfiltration/CFM (all describing the same). Here, several filters refine the protein in a cold process. Bonus point, this method removes all the big fat and sugar molecules and so whey protein has a fat content of only 1%.
- Check that there are no hidden chemical components or anabolics in your protein powder. Germany has a specific website that lists all the chemical- and anabolic-free powders. Check if your country has a website like this, too.
So far, there are no risks known to taking protein powder. But make sure to invest into a good product in a high quality. Also, protein powder does not replace a balanced and healthy diet.
I’m curious. What are your experiences with protein powder? Have you noticed an increase in your performance? Which companies do you use?
I am convinced of this product and it meets all the above criteria:
Also, if you are looking for a great way to use protein powder, have a look at my first shake recipe of this protein series. Bon apetit.