People have asked me why I use protein powder. My answer is simple: It helps me stay lean and is conducive to my on-the-go lifestyle. Whether the goal is to lose weight, increase muscle definition, get leaner, get more muscle, or improve your health status, more and more people are adding protein smoothies to their diet!
Image from fitgirlcode
Why Should You Use Protein Powder?
In the body there is fat tissue and there is muscle tissue. Muscle tissue your fat burning furnace. Preserving and increasing the amount of muscle tissue is something everyone wanting to improve their health and fitness aims for (hence why our blog “Workout Tips to Build Muscle” was so popular).
Muscle tissue is made up of proteins therefore; protein powder would benefit you if you want to:
- Get lean (less fat)*
- Stay lean
- Preserve/gain muscle (lean) tissue
- Boost your metabolism
- Increased energy
- Keep yourself full during a meal or between meals
* The premise is that protein will keep you full and satisfied so you won’t need to scavenge for more food.
Check out one of my favorite Chocolate protein smoothie recipes
Image from empower network
What Exactly is Protein Powder?
Protein Powder is a normal ingredient that many people—men, women, young, old are adding to their smoothies. Protein powder is the extracted form of protein that comes from various sources such as milk, soy, casein, pea, plants, and hemp. Each type and brand of protein powder will vary in its contents and its nutritional value.
Which Kind is right for me?
There are a few different options to choose from:
1) Whey Isolate & Concentrate: I usually recommend isolate protein powder. The isolate whey protein is good for people who want to get lean and burn fat. In the isolate protein there is less lactose than the concentrate protein. There are also fewer carbohydrates, and the protein is absorbed faster than the concentrate, hence it is also popular as a post-exercise shake.
After a workout, protein consumption is important to fuel your muscles for repair. MY personal favorite protein powder is ISO Sport Whey because it tastes soooo good!
image from muscleforlife
Both isolate and concentrate protein powder are great for breakfast smoothies and a mid-day snack.
Isolate protein powders are generally higher in cost due to the additional processing it goes through to remove lactose. If allergies and a few extra carbs are not an issue for you, a concentrate shake would be just as good. If you are not sure which one to purchase, I recommend to first try the Kaizen Naturals Whey Protein as it mixes very well (most of them do too and this one is dairy-free too).
Note: Most concentrate whey proteins won’t say “concentrate” on the tub, but isolates will usually say isolate or “iso”. Here is an example of different proteins made by PVL. Here is an example of different proteins made by Kaizen.
2) Vegan Protein (Made from Hemp, Plant, Brown Rice): These proteins boast many things—made from plant-based sources (hence non-dairy), lower calorie count per serving, and high fiber. The North Coast Naturals Organic Hemp Protein Powder contains 8g of fiber in 2 tablespoons! These proteins are great for those who have dietary restrictions, want to increase energy levels, and regulate digestion. I have used hemp and brown rice protein to switch it up and I liked the change as the plant protein gives the body different micronutrients than whey proteins. Blending it with a banana or ½ cup of berries will taste good and keep you full and energized!
3) Casein Protein: Casein protein powder is a time-released whey protein powder. It is mainly used at night before going to sleep. The idea is it provides your body with amino acids (protein) for muscle recovery and muscle building. They’re usually just mixed with water and do have a thicker consistency.
4) Weight gainers: These protein powders are helpful for people who need/want to gain weight. It is hard to put on muscle when there is little weight on the person to begin with. The main populations I see needing to take weight gainers are adolescents, or someone with an illness causing rapid weight loss. If you do have an illness consult with your physician before taking.
When Do I Use Protein Powder?
Protein shakes can be made for breakfast, a snack, and after exercise.
After each workout I throw a banana, ice, and 1-2 scoops of protein powder in a blender and drink as soon after my workout as possible. I also take protein powder with me to work. These blender bottles have separate compartments for protein, which makes it super convenient! I usually don’t leave home without it incase I get stuck for a “snack” or need something to tide me over until my next meal.
There are many more creative ways when and how to use protein powder. I love this article by Celebrity Fitness Trainer Heidi Powell: “Protein Powder: It’s not just for shakes anymore.” You can even make pancakes with it! Check out my Protein Pancake Recipe.
As you can see, there is a protein powder for everyone. Protein powder is a great addition to your nutrition and I am pleased with how many people of all ages have incorporated shakes into their diet.
If you have any questions on any of the products, feel free to post a comment below and I will get to it as soon as possible! Also feel free to share your favorite smoothie recipes!