There are SO many different types of protein out there, it can be a little overwhelming when trying to choose one. I starting taking protein when I realised I wasn’t getting enough from my diet alone. I was looking to gain more muscle, so I found taking protein powder a good way to get the extra calories in. Please note before reading the below, this blog post is based on my own research on the topic – I’m not a qualified nutritionist!
Of course you can get protein from only food. Foods rich in protein include chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and fish. However, if you want to gain more muscle, your protein intake needs to be at quite a high level to achieve this. For this reason, a lot of people turn to protein powders. I tend to workout in the morning, so the thought of making a high protein meal was not convenient for me. Taking a protein shake takes away the hassle of cooking, plus it also absorbs more quickly than food does, getting to your muscles quickly. I can literally make up a shake in 1 minute, in comparison to cooking a meal which would be time consuming when I have little time in the morning.
When choosing your protein, like anything, there are a number of benefits and downsides, so it’s usually a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. As I’ve been trying some of Protein World’s products over the past few months, I thought I could give you an overview and my recommendations on what might work for you.
Whey protein is probably the one you’ve heard of when it comes to protein powders. It’s usually cheaper than your plant based proteins, and it’s great for muscle growth. It’s also the protein that most people think will ‘bulk’ you up like a body builder – which is absolutely NOT true! I think if you’re a beginner however, it’s a good place to start.
There are two types of whey – Concentrate and Isolate. Without going into too much detail, they are both derived from milk, however concentrate is about 80% protein and isolate is around 90%. Isolate is best taken straight after exercise, as it is more rapidly absorbed by the muscles.
We then have casein protein, which is known as a slow protein – slower for your body to digest. You might ask why you would take a slow protein if your goal is to gain muscle. Well, for muscle growth to take place, you also need muscle breakdown to take place – this is where casein comes into play. This is best taken at night as it takes at least 4 hours to get into your system. The Bedtime Blend is perfect for this, as you get a slow release of protein throughout the night.
My favourite protein at the moment is the Slender Blend range (pictured above), which a high protein, low calorie combination. It’s made up of whey protein, but has 24g protein per shake! I don’t have a dairy intolerance, so for me this is perfect. I have this straight after I workout 1-2 times per day.
The downsides of whey, is that it can be difficult to digest for some people. Personally, I’ve not had any problems like this, but if you are dairy intolerant, a plant based protein would be best for you. There are many different types including; soy, hemp, pea (and many more). These have a bit of a reputation of being a little less tasty than your whey protein, however they are gluten and dairy free so a great alternative if you find whey difficult to drink. The Vegan Blend Slender Blend is a pea protein with 30g protein per shake, and like the other Slender Blend products, it is low calorie and low fat. There is no bad or gritty aftertaste like you may find with some other plant proteins, and it comes in the vanilla flavour which is by far my favourite!
Key things to look out for:
Low fat (1-5 grams)
Low carb (1-5 grams)
High protein (20-30 grams per serving)
I found these sites really useful when doing my research:
Other Supplements to try:
Now that I’ve been taking protein for some time, I’m currently looking into other supplements that can aid my training, so I’ll also do a review once I’ve tried and tested some products. The main ones I’ll be looking at are BCAA’s, creatine and glutamine, so watch this space!
I hope you’ve found this useful, but please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them!