Protein, protein, protein. Chances are, if you’re into fitness you’ve heard how important protein is probably a thousand times. Whether you’re the meathead who works biceps 4 times a week, or you’re just the person who enjoys going on a nice jog after work to relieve some stress, protein is very important. The reason it’s so important is, it acts as a building block for building and rebuilding muscles. The problem is lots of people don’t even know where to start when it comes to protein. What protein should I eat? Do I need protein powder? Which protein powder should I get? These are just a few of the many questions that people might be asking themselves, but hopefully I can clear some of those questions up.
How Much Protein Do I Need to Consume?
The first question that a lot of people have is how much protein they actually need. Honestly, this is a bit of a complicated answers because there are a plethora of opinions out there and it seems like everybody has a different answer. So the only true set guideline, is for sedentary people, which is .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, if you are being physically active, you’ll need more than that.
Personally, I try to get around 1.2 gram per pound of body weight, or 2.4 kg per pound. So clearly, that’s a big difference, but I’m also very physically active. So to tell the truth, it might just take some trial and error to figure out what works for you and your fitness goals. However, you could always use one of many online calculators to figure it out, or better yet talk to a certified nutritionist.
The next question that a lot of people have is what sources to get their protein from. There are tons of options out there, and it can get a little overwhelming at times. First things first, in my opinion getting protein from actual real food sources such as: fish, chicken, red meat, eggs, nuts, quinoa, lentils, or anything that would be considered actual food, should come first before supplements. The reason is, a lot of protein supplements don’t have the same amount of other nutrients as real food sources.
However, if you get to the point where you just can’t seem to get enough protein from these sources, then it could be time to look at protein supplements. The thing is, there are so many different options out there, all claiming to be the greatest thing you’ll ever try, it’s hard to pick just one. The first two types of protein we’ll talk about, whey and casein, are both derived from milk.
The first and most popular protein supplement is whey protein. Probably somewhere around 80% of the protein powders you see are some form of whey protein. This is because it’s a quick absorbing protein, which makes it extremely valuable for post workout shakes when your body really needs it.
The second type of protein powder derived from milk is casein. Casein is a slow digesting protein, which makes it awesome for drinking right before you go to bed, or if you know you’re going to have to go a while without eating for whatever reason. However, it’s not the most practical for post workout shakes because your body needs it as soon as possible. Casein just might not be absorbed as quickly as you would want.
Another form of protein derived from animal products is egg protein which is derived from, you guessed it, eggs. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean drinking raw eggs like you’re Rocky Balboa, because some of us enjoy not having salmonella. Egg protein can be converted to powder form, or can be just in flavored liquid form (don’t worry it’s been pasteurized for safety). Egg protein is generally pretty expensive though, which is why I would assume it’s not one of the most popular forms.
The last two types of protein that I’ll talk about are both options for anybody who might not want animal products. There are both soy and pea protein powders, because getting adequate protein while avoiding animal products can sometimes be challenging.
Hopefully this helps clear up some of the questions that people have on protein. Also remember, most fitness goals are more easily achieved when your nutrition is where it needs to be. So don’t skip out on the protein!
By: Chandler Grimes