Protein is responsible for the action and structure of lean muscles in your body. This is why most athletes consume protein supplements to aid in their performance, strength, and muscle growth, besides eating high-protein foods. This is because protein powder digests much quicker compared to whole foods, which is useful after a workout.
Take Your Goal Into Consideration
There are many reasons to take a protein supplement. Depending on your goal, consider these things when adding protein into your diet:
For weight gain
If you want to gain more weight for a certain reason, for example, a lack of appetite due to an illness, look for a powder with high fat, carbohydrates, and protein content. These three are essential for your weight gain goal, particularly if you are not getting other nutrients.
For weight loss
If losing extra weight and fat is your fitness objective, be mindful of your protein and calorie intake. There are protein powders that are low in fat and carbs and high in protein. You can get macronutrients from whole foods.
For meal replacement
If you are ingesting a protein shake to replace your meal, make sure your body is getting other essential nutrients as well. While many protein powders have additional nutrients, you can try making protein shakes with fruits and vegetables. Also, incorporate healthy fats so you can still obtain the benefits of whole food from those ingredients.
For muscle gain
To achieve this goal, choose the protein powder that has a high ratio of protein-to-calorie content to get plenty of overall protein. A powder that is rich in carbs is also beneficial in your workout, especially if you are low on calories.
For athletic performance and recovery
You can maximize recovery post-exercise by consuming a specific carb-to-protein ratio, typically 3:1 or 2:1. Basically, your total calorie and macronutrient consumption during the day can help determine your athletic recovery. For example, if you are doing multiple athletic events in a day, drinking a protein shake with protein, carbs, and electrolytes can aid in your performance and recovery.
When Is the Ideal Time to Drink Protein Powder?
The MPB (muscle protein breakdown) is higher during the night, and losses can occur depending on the food intake during the day and body size. Consuming protein in the morning can counteract the impact of breakdown on the muscle, stimulating MPS (muscle protein synthesis).
- Before and after a workout
A vigorous training workout can boost both muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis. Your fitness goal should be to reduce the MPS and maximize the muscle protein breakdown with the use of protein and carbs right before or after a session.
- During the night
When the body is unfed during the night, the balance of muscle and protein gears toward muscle protein breakdown to create free amino acids and fuel the body. You will also want to make the muscle protein synthesis higher when you sleep; hence, the need to consume a protein supplement.
Whether due to appetite, convenience, or another reason, protein powder may be the ideal solution if you have difficulty reaching your protein goals. Make sure you choose the supplement that you like to consume regularly, which means enjoying its taste. There are many good-tasting protein powders out there. You only need to use the ones that satisfy your taste bud and meet your needs.