So you have started making your gym trips more regular and are more focused on exercise and fitness in general.
You have heard about protein powder and you want to know if it is all that it’s cracked up to be and how it works.
It’s fairly simple really. Your body’s muscle cells, or muscle fibres, are predominantly made up of different protein filaments.
When you work out to strengthen and increase your muscle’s mass, you are putting stress on the fibres, which damages them and makes them tear.
In order for your body to repair or rebuild these muscle fibres you need to ensure you are getting enough protein in your diet.
Yes, with a balanced diet, you should be getting protein into your body anyway.
However the protein you receive from whole foods is not absorbed into the body as quickly as the protein you receive from protein powder.
For someone who regularly exercises there is a need for extra protein in their diet, and there are certain times when a quick, extra kick of protein is just what the doctor ordered.
What types of protein powder are there?
Protein powders come in many different forms and are derived from different sources, but essentially they are all refined to result in a form of concentrated protein.
Three of the most popular include whey, casein and soy. Though all three of these protein powders have the benefits of extra protein, they also have slightly different benefits from each other.
Whey protein powder
Whey protein is derived from milk, and is considered the best quality form of protein. It is also easily digested and the body is able to absorb and utilise it very quickly.
Casein protein powder
Casein protein is also most commonly derived from milk and has an advantage of slow, yet steady release. This makes it ideal for consumption in the evening, because it is during your resting periods that the muscles are actually working to repair and rebuild themselves.
Soy protein powder
Has the benefit of being produced from vegetable matter (Soybean) and is therefore suitable for people with extreme allergies and vegans.
Do you need extra protein?
When you are still young, let’s say until the age of 24, your whole body is still developing and therefore needs more protein than normal anyway.
If you are exercising and working out during these periods there is even more need for protein to keep up with the bodies need to regenerate and build itself.
Also, if you have suffered from a sports injury then your body is also going to need an extra boost of protein to keep up with the demand, so that your body can work harder and faster to heal itself.
Extra protein is also needed for someone who is new to exercising, or has recently bumped up their normal routine. This is because your body is going to require more protein than it normally does, and an easy way to incorporate that into your diet is through protein powder.
If you are a vegan, then it is incredibly important that you ensure that you are receiving enough protein in your diet, because most complete proteins are found in meats and dairy.
Fortunately some protein powders are made from soy, and are therefore vegan friendly, so a good way to ensure that you are getting enough protein would be to use a soy based protein powder.