A Beginner's Guide To Protein Powder
If you've ever stepped foot in a gym, you've seen guys in the weights section chugging their protein shakes in hopes of boosting their muscle growth. Protein is often coupled with working out for a variety of reasons. Protein helps promote healthy weight, and helps your muscles recover after an intense workout. But with so many protein powders on the market, finding the best fit for your body can seem impossible.
If you're new to working out or have recently started incorporating strength training into your workout routine, you've come to the right place. Here are the basics of protein powder that every beginner should know:
Protein Words to Learn
- Complete protein
This type of protein powder contains all nine essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the human body. These amino acids are critical for building and repairing muscle.
Isolate protein is protein powder that contains 90 to 95 percent pure protein.
As opposed to isolate, these powders contain around 70 percent protein — with the other 30 percent consisting of fats and carbs.
Common Types of Protein Powder
Whey is the most common type of protein powder on the market and is typically one of the more wallet-friendly options available. This milk-based protein is fast-acting, meaning your body reaps the benefits quickly — making it a great post-workout supplement. Whey protein comes in a variety of flavors — from chocolate and vanilla to birthday cake and mint chocolate. But with added flavor comes added sugar. Before purchasing a delicious whey protein powder, check the nutrition label to avoid options with artificial sweeteners and added chemicals.
As another milk-based protein option, casein protein is very similar to whey — the main difference is the speed of digestion. Your body digests casein protein slowly — making it ideal to consume before bed. By doing this, your body will actively recover from your workout while you sleep. Like whey, casein is packed with lactose and should be avoided if your body has issues breaking down dairy.
A favorite of vegetarians, soy is a plant-based protein made of the ever-popular soybean. This lactose-intolerant friendly supplement can boost your immune system, help prevent heart disease and regulate cholesterol levels. If you've never consumed soy before, proceed with caution as soy is a common allergen.
If you're not a fan of soy, pea protein is a great plant-based protein alternative that's also dairy-free. It's made from yellow split peas and can help with weight loss and muscle growth, as well as improve your heart health. It's important to note that pea protein is rich in several amino acids, but is not a complete protein.
Regardless of your fitness goals, protein powders provide a great way to get amino acids on-the-go. By drinking a little extra protein after your sweat sessions, you can lead a healthier, fitter life.
If you're not a fan of protein shakes, don't be discouraged! Protein powder can be incorporated into everyday recipes — like these protein-packed pancakes.