Protein is something that we as Coaches get questions on ALL the time. It is probably the most talked about supplement in most gyms, at least by my experience. So with that, let’s talk protein!
What protein should I take?
Should I be taking a protein powder?
Recovery blend or regular blend?
Why is this one $30 and this one is $50 for the same size container?
Who should be taking protein?
First off… why the heck should I care about protein in general? (all protein intake not just supplemental)
Protein is the primary macronutrient that aids in lean body mass gain *Note: This is NOT to be confused with WEIGHT gain, we want enough lean body mass to be healthy and as strong as we desire.
Thermic effect of protein: As far as macronutrients go (protein, fat, carbs) it’s protein that helps us burn the most throughout the day!
Cellular repair from stress: This can be workout stress (yes, working out is stress), work stress, or anything else that puts a strain on your body.
Satiety after meals comes from getting in adequate protein and helps us to not overeat like carbs and fats sometimes can.
This is just a short list of some of the main benefits that most everyone can appreciate when it comes to caring about protein intake.
NOW FOR THOSE SUPPLEMENT QUESTIONS!
Who should be taking a protein supplement?
My short answer is that No One NEEDS To Take A Protein Supplement. SHOCKING! I know since I’m sure you’ve seen me at the gym with a shaker bottle or two with protein in them. If you aren’t currently tracking your food in some way and you throw a scoop or 2 of protein powder in after your workouts you WILL gain WEIGHT. That’s right an extra 100-250 cals a day on top of your normal diet adds up!
So What The Heck Why Do So Many People Take These Things?
Protein powder is a quick and easy way to get calories in for a couple groups of people or when you find yourself in certain situations.
The first type of person is someone who has a very high protein requirement (think 1.2x body weight a day for an elite athlete training 3-6 hours a day or someone trying to put on a lot of muscle mass) who would honestly burn out their jaw trying to chew that much chicken in a day.
The second category is someone who finds themselves on the run all day, doesn’t get many breaks at work, or you just find yourself in a jam and won’t be able to get in a normal meal before heading out the door. This person can toss a scoop or 2 into a shaker bottle and be on their way with a mobile meal.
The third time a shake can be helpful is right after a workout. It is, of course, KEY that you pull protein out of your other meals to account for this added amount. Again, adding a scoop of protein ON TOP of the regular amount of protein you’re eating in meals can cause unnecessary weight GAIN.
Now, onto what type of protein you should be taking and how much to spend!
It seems like there are a million supplement companies out there now-a-days, so how the heck can you decide on one brand to take?
In general most people will be looking for a whey protein. Pay attention to how your body responds to this because some may find that this does not agree with their digestion and an egg, veggie, or one of the other types of proteins out there digests without a problem.
This protein should be fairly clean of additives and fillers. This can be hard to identify and the words on the label probably look like they are straight out of high school chemistry class. To combat this we have decided to stock some protein that we like at the gym. If this brand doesn’t appeal to you we can offer others as well!
How about cost?
Should I get the one at the food store that is $20 for 2 pounds or the fancy one on the top shelf at the supplement store that’s $70 for 2 pounds? For most people the answer to that one is going to NEITHER! The $20 tub is definitely loaded with artificial sweeteners, fillers, and who knows what else is tossed in that tub. The $70 one is kind of like high octane gas for a race car, If you put that in your Toyota Prius it’s not going to let you hang in the Daytona 500. If you don’t have your food 100% dialed in to the point of all organic everything, grass fed grass finished and free range everything, and your blood tests say your micro nutrients are absolutely perfect, then let’s go ahead and assume you just want some good old premium gas for your engine.
Most of these proteins will cost around $40-50 for 30 serving canisters or in the $70 range for a 70 serving canister. If you have any questions or concerns on a brand just ask one of your coaches!
What About That Recovery Blend? I Workout Hard At CrossFit!
Recovery blends just imply that there are carbohydrates (sugars) mixed in with the protein. You are looking for 2x as many grams of carbs to grams of protein in a recovery blend.
This is generally reserved for athletes who are training 2+ hours a day or for days when you do a workout like Murph. BUT, the same rules apply about pulling these macros out of your regular meals and placing them after the workout if this is something you are considering.