If you want to increase your muscle mass or lose fat, you should consider taking the right amount of protein, accordingly to your body weight and preferably, a high quality one. A good rule to calculate your protein consumption is multiplying your body weight by 1,5. To find out how many grams of protein you should take in with each meal, divide the total by the number of meals you’ll have during the day.
It may seem terrifying thinking that to get the right amount of protein and the results you want you have to eat 6 chicken breasts a day or 8 egg whites with each meal, but the thing is there’s another option. The myths about protein are long gone, so now, your best option is drinking 2 – 3 powdered whey protein shakes a day.
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What are the main advantages of using a whey protein supplement?
Whey Protein is rapidly digested by the body due to its rich source of nitrogen and BCAAs that are essential for muscle growth, maintenance and recovery. It is a complete protein, because it adds every essential aminoacid to your body, including the 9 aminoacids that your body can’t synthesize and that need to be provided through your diet (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine).
Besides being a fast absorption protein, it promotes the recovery and construction of muscle mass, stimulates fat loss and reduces stress levels and the cortisol effect.
The hardest part is trying to understand the differences between the distinct types of powdered-proteins and choosing the one that best suits your needs.
Take note of the 3 essential factors that need to be taken into consideration when buying a whey protein:
1. Not every powdered protein is alike.
There are the so-called Gainers that have a much higher protein, carbs and fats concentration. Although these are three essential macronutrients in your diet, when it comes to choosing a protein you should not buy a Gainer, unless you want a supplement with a bigger concentration of pure protein. The most frequent mistake is that many people buy the wrong product, without even knowing if they’re taking in much more than just protein and the outcome is an inadequate protein ingestion and as a result, an unnecessary accumulation of fat.
Make sure the product’s nutrition label indicates:
– A low fat content (1-5g)
– A low carb content (1-5g)
– A high protein percentage (usually about 20-30g per serving)
– Check the aminogram; it indicates every aminoacid the product contains, focusing on the 9 essential aminoacids – specially the BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine), because those are the ones your muscles have in larger quantities. One of them (leucine) is responsible for the activation of protein synthesis, the process that will allow you to get muscle mass gains. A good protein contains, at least, 30% of the essential aminoacids, 15% of which BCAAs.
2. The relation between the amount of time the product has been in the market and the positive feedback. If a protein supplement has been in the market for at least three years and if its references are good, that can be a factor to take into consideration when you’re choosing a protein.
3. Choosing between a whey protein concentrate, isolate or a casein.
The best whey protein concentrate is absorbed at a moderate rhythm. It usually works better when taken between meals.
The whey protein isolate is rapidly absorbed and more adequate for the post-workout periods, because it will almost automatically feed your hungry muscle cells.
The casein’s target is a longer digestion period and it is considered a slow absorption protein. Many bodybuilders and weightlifters choose to include this type of protein in their last meal of the day, because it prevents catabolism, providing a constant aminoacid flow during the periods when they’re deprived from food.
We give you 3 high quality Whey Protein options:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Isolate
Joey Vaillancourt, The 5 Ways To Pick A Good Protein Powder, October 2010, translation and adaptation of the original version.