Protein powders are a quick way to help ensure that your body is nourished and satisfied after a workout! When looking for a protein powder for yourself, be sure it contains 20-30g of protein per serving in order to start the process of recovering and rebuilding muscle tissue.
Additionally, make sure your protein powder contains a small listing of ingredients that are easy to read and understand. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know where it comes from, it’s probably not a good ingredient.
Here are some examples of protein powders and how they affect your body:
Whey Protein: Whey protein is one of the most commonly used proteins and is best for day-to-day use. It contains all of the essential amino acids, is easily digested, and helps to boost energy. Whey isolates and concentrates are best to use after a workout. Whey protein contains higher levels of naturally occurring Leucine, a key amino acid for stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
Casein Protein: Opposite of whey protein, casein protein is digested slowly. This is an important difference between the two. Casein releases amino acids slowly, so people often take it before bed to help with recovery and to reduce muscle breakdown while asleep.
Plant-Based Protein: Plant-based proteins are derived from, you guessed it, plants! To ensure that your body is working properly, it needs all 9 essential amino acids. This can be tricky when looking for a plant-based protein, so it’s best to look at those that have a variety of plant proteins in them: pea protein and hemp protein for example.
Choosing a protein powder that meets your needs:
Building Muscle: For muscle growth, choose a protein powder that the body can absorb quickly and easily utilize. Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options for building muscle.
Losing Weight: To lose weight, choose a protein powder with no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch). Do not choose a protein powder with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote muscle growth and weight gain.
Vegan: If you are vegan, don’t choose milk-based protein powders (e.g., whey, casein proteins). Instead, use 100% plant based proteins.
Protein powder recommendations from Coach Elena
Whey Protein: Ascent, Grow, Progenex
Casein Protein: Ascent, Progenex
Plant-Based Protein: Sun Warrior