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Do I Need to Drink Protein Powder?

"Do I need to drink protein powder" is a common question that plagues many newcomers to the gym. The answer to this question depends very much upon your goals, experience, body and lifestyle.

If you read my blog regularly, you'll be well aware that I am a strong believer in getting the basics down pat first. This means establishing a sound exercise and nutritional regime based on whole foods. Once these area's have been established and are implemented consistently into your lifestyle, supplements can be considered to enhance your results.

Protein powders can be wonderful things. By drinking them, they allow your body to absorb high quality proteins much quicker than from whole food. They also provide a convenient and easy to consume source of protein.

So, let's discuss a few common types of protein powders and when they would be suitable for consumption.

Immediately Prior to a Workout

This is of particular use if you are performing a high intensity workout and require readily available amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) upon the conclusion of your workout. The fastest and best quality proteins from supplements are called whey protein isolates and generally take 60-90 minutes to absorb.

If your goal is to build muscle, enhance your fitness or lose weight, a protein shake prior to a workout could be highly beneficial for you. The greatest benefits will be obtained if your workout is of a high intensity nature. If you are performing a low intensity workout, your body will not require an abundant supply of amino acids and you will expel most of these unused molecules.

Immediately After a Workout

In order to "top-up" your supply, a fast acting and high quality protein powder is highly recommended immediately following a high intensity workout. Whey protein isolate is again the best option. This is an ideal compliment to drinking a pre-workout protein powder. The post-workout protein shake will be absorbed within 60-90 minutes and thus provide more amino acids to assist in recovery.

During the Remainder of the Day

If you're looking to increase your protein intake, then drinking a protein shake during the day could be a great way to accomplish this. Don't spend excess money on whey protein isolates; you could get away with whey protein concentrate or even a high quality protein blend.

You may want to drink a protein powder during the day for various reasons:

  • You want a low calorie meal as a snack for weight loss
  • You want to boost your protein intake in order to continue building muscle
  • You are training heavily and need proteins to facilitate recovery
  • Your daily dietary intake is deficient in protein and you require a quick and easy way to boost your intake

It is imperative that you do not rely on a protein powder during the day as a primary source of protein. A protein powder should only compliment a well-rounded food intake from whole foods.

Finally, if you feel that you are ready to try out a protein supplement, please be sure to check out our protein powders.

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