Protein powder – particularly the fast-absorbing whey – has quickly become a standard feature in the athlete’s arsenal. In fact, due to the dietary importance of protein, many people do not even consider protein powder a supplement anymore; it’s now generally seen as a “food item.” And, frankly, this is for very good reason. A quality, clean protein can give you a powerful boost toward your fitness goals – whether you want to lose fat or build muscle.
Despite it’s popularity and wide availability, many people are a little unsure of how to get started using their whey protein powder. To help you, here are five tips for using protein powder.
- Know what you need. There are plenty of different theories out there about protein and proper intake of said macronutrient. This can lead to some confusion about how much of the powder you should be throwing back every day and even contribute to some fears about using too much. First, be assured that there is no evidence that increased protein will damage previously healthy kidneys or liver. With that out of the way, how much protein should you be getting each day? That’s actually a pretty difficult question. Your daily protein intake will depend on your goals and activity levels, as well as overall health and lifestyle choices. As a general guideline, an active person attempting to lose fat and preserve muscle should be getting about 1.5-2.2g/kg bodyweight daily. A sedentary person, though, can go as low as 0.8g/kg bodyweight.
- Decide why you’re taking it. Apart from your overall fitness goals, why are you taking protein at this very moment? Is it a meal replacement or simply a snack to help you recover from your workout? Answering these questions will help you know exactly how you should build your protein drink. A single scoop of lone whey protein powder may be enough as a post-workout recovery. For meal replacement, though, you may want to add a few things so that you’re getting a balanced nutritional profile. Some fruit, veggies and a healthy fat can turn that protein into a filling shake that will give you a fast meal on the go.
- Read the label. This might seem obvious but many people simply trust that protein is good for them and don’t do the research. Make sure that you pick a clean protein that doesn’t have any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Be especially careful when it comes to sweeteners, since a ton of added sugar can defeat the purpose of your protein powder.
- Get creative. There’s so much more you can do with protein powder than just drink it. Recipes have popped up all over the internet, detailing how you can use whey protein powder in everything from muffins to cookies and pudding. Do some searching and you may be able to find ways to satisfy your craving for sweets in a healthier way.
- Think about mixability. There are all sorts of things we consider when it comes to food – like smell, taste and texture. We don’t often have to think about how well it dissolves. Suddenly, with protein powder, this becomes a concern. While some powders may blend in easily with a spoon, you may need to go all out with a blender on others.
These are just a few things to think about when you start out with your protein powder. Primarily, you should focus on quality of ingredients. Take a look at Gnarly Whey, made from only clean, grass-fed whey to give you a tasty, easily absorbed protein powder with no artificial ingredients.