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Don’t whey-ste your time with excess protein supplementation

protein supplementation
The protein world is perhaps one of the largest supplement markets out there. How many times have you aimlessly scrolled through your Instagram feed, amazed at the number of pictures of lean gym bunnies and body-builders glugging half a liter of protein milk down their throats?

I see you nodding your head! But how much of that does the body actually use? Is protein supplementation effective for muscle maintenance? What are the most bio-available types? Dust-off that canister of whey protein sitting at the back of your pantry as we debunk the top myths of protein powder, and how to efficiently utilize it for our fitness goals.

First up, do we even need protein supplementation?

The answer is yes, but not in extreme quantities as many may assume. To all the fitness newbies out there, more protein does not equal muscle growth. Sorry to disappoint! If that was the case, we’d all be competing in bodybuilding competitions and showing off those muscle outlines in tight T-shirts.

Let’s start with the basics. Protein is an essential macronutrient, that has a plethora of body functions, including muscle repair and optimization. When ingested, the protein digests to amino acids – ‘the building blocks of protein’. These amino acids then disperse to various cells, to provide energy or replenish and repair the cell. When the body has excess protein, it is processed by the liver and excreted out in urine. Basically, excess protein flows straight out. Therefore, the timing and amount of protein consumed are absolutely crucial in order to prevent protein wasting.

How much protein do you need?

An easy way to calculate the amount of protein you need per day is by simply weighing yourself. Your weight in kg is the amount of protein in grams that you should be having per day. For instance, if you weigh 75 kg, you should be aiming for 75g of protein a day. For most meat-lovers out there, you may not even need supplementation to keep the protein levels in check. In fact, you probably get enough protein from your diets without having to even try!

OK, so I get enough protein from my diet, why on earth would I use supplements?

Protein supplements are a tremendous way to recover from a strenuous workout. Here’s why you should invest in a high-quality protein powder to fuel your post-workout sessions.

First off, protein powders are already broken down into their simplest form. Therefore, the body can quickly utilize the amino-acids and circulate them to muscle cells for the speediest recovery time. Instead of running home after a gym session to gobble down a few eggs, your protein shake is conveniently there with you, ready to be absorbed by the body.

Secondly, high-quality protein powders are usually low in fat and carbs, which is perfect for those looking to shed off body fat. Protein powders will keep us fuller for longer- as they take a few hours to digest. This will prevent any aimless snacking and unnecessary meals that will hinder our fitness progress.

What type of protein should I go for?

The market is stocked with a dizzying array of protein powders, ranging in plant-based, dairy-based, flavors, prices, macro contents – you name it! It can be an extremely daunting task to try and pick a protein powder that will benefit your health goals rather than destroy your progress.

Here are some top tips to prevent you from picking up a useless can of junk:

  1. Aim for 100 calories a scoop

  2. Look for protein powders that are low in sugars and fats

  3. Aim for at least 20 g of protein per scoop

  4. Choose whey over casein, as it is more quickly utilized by the body

  5. If you are vegan, soy-based proteins are wonderful!

After 10 hours of browsing the aisles, I finally picked up a container! Now, what?

You’re taking a step in the right direction. Time to figure out when to shake-up this bad boy and drink. Studies have demonstrated that the best time to consume protein supplementation is directly after strenuous exercise or within the first 30 minutes. During this period, muscle is a lot more responsive to amino acids, as it has been fatigued and depleted of energy. It’s calling out for some TLC! Protein supplements will nourish these muscle cells and repair any damaged tears, eventually strengthening the muscle tissue – making us leaner and optimizing our workouts. Opt for a low-fat milk when mixing up your protein shake, and stick to one scoop per serving.

As with anything in life, it is quality and not quantity when it comes to protein supplements. Don’t waste your money and start using this resource efficiently in order to get the most out of your workout – and your wallet!

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