Shiny labels, outrageous claims, and top physique athletes on the cover flexing. These are some of the common traits of advertisements featuring protein powder. Protein powder has been revolutionized over the last few decades to become a staple of any athlete’s diet. Not only the taste but the texture of protein powder has dramatically changed since it first began being released in the late 1950’s. The quality of protein powder has also greatly improved in order to release products that are up to 97% pure protein. This means that out of a 100 gram serving of protein powder, 97 grams would be actual protein.
The majority of us have tried protein powder at one point or another. It is even a daily staple in the lives of many, but is it crucial to use it for muscle gain and sports performance? The answer to this may surprise you.
Protein powder comes from the process undergone when cheese is made. There is a byproduct from this process that is very high in protein but also includes lots of lactose, fat and cholesterol. This product is then filtrated and the pure protein is able to be extracted and turned into a powder. After this, it is purchased by the many supplement companies we know today. The powder is then flavored, enriched with other nutrients, and packaged in a nice fancy tub.
Now that we see what protein powder is and where it comes from, let’s take one step back and see why it is so popularly used. Protein is what creates and repairs new tissue in your body. When we fatigue our muscles through exercise, your body seeks protein in order to repair the damaged tissue. Specifically for athletes who compete in physique sports, it is crucial to have a high protein diet in order to maximize the process of building muscle. But is protein powder needed for this or is just a high protein diet enough?
The answer is that you do not NEED protein powder; you just need to intake enough protein in a day. Think about all the top bodybuilder’s that have been around since the late 1800’s all the way until the latter half of the 1900’s. Many of these men like Eugene Sandow, Steve Reeves and even strength athlete’s like Louis Cyr have been able to build amazing physiques with enormous strength without protein powder. Even when protein powder first hit the market, it was not widely used as it is today. Many times individuals invest hundreds of dollars on supplements and cheap out on the most important things; things like real food.
So, how much protein do you need? It depends on every person’s goals. It is recommended that most individuals intake between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight. For example if you weigh 200 lbs. then you could intake about 250 grams of protein in a day in order to maximize your muscle growth. You can easily split 50 grams of protein into 5 meals throughout the day and reach this goal. Foods that are high in protein are things like beef, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products. Many have the luxury of having the time and financial funds to eat these high quality foods every meal. For those who may lack the time, funds or even the appetite to eat solid food so many times a day, a protein powder can be a good supplement.
Protein powder is actually very easily absorbed by the human body and is a complete protein source with a full amino acid spectrum. This means that it is a very high quality source of protein that will help build muscle to its full potential. Protein powder has been an invention that has really helped individuals reach their fitness goals easier. It is very convenient to carry protein powder and use it when you have no other protein sources. Many have lives that are so busy that it is difficult to sit and eat 6 or more meals a day, so protein powder has allowed them to get these meals on the go.
Make sure to constantly get your recommended dose of protein in order to maximize your muscle gains! Remember, you do not need protein powder, but it can be a good tool to have in order to facilitate your daily life. Although real food is always best, it can be implemented as a meal replacement when life gets in the way!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.