Saturday, 28 April 2012

How To Select The Right Protein Powder For You

Protein powder has become very popular in North America over the years and you can find over 100 different products that are slightly different. How do you find the one that's right for you? Think about these 4 things when you are in store and you'll be able to make the right selection.

#1 Type of Protein
Protein powders are made from a wide range of protein sources and often can be a combination or blend of multiple types of protein. It's important to know that each form of protein has a different rate of absorption and will be digested within different time frames. The most common forms of protein are: Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein, Rice Protein, Casein Protein, Hemp Protein, Egg Protein, and Beef Derived Protein. By far the king of all protein is the Whey Protein Isolate for it's fast absorption nature which is said to be completely absorbed within your system in 20-25 minutes after consuming. This is optimal for post work because it allows your body to have a supply of protein in your system to start protein synthesis as it repairs your muscles. Also note that each form of protein comes at a different cost, you honestly get what you pay for when it comes to protein. It's similar to gasoline, the different qualities and grades that come out of the protein will determine the price. I always purchase a protein that the first protein source is Whey Isolate.

#2 The Nutrition Profile (Yes Read The Label)
When you look at the label of protein containers it's important to look at the nutritional values of the product. This is the area that products will vary widely across brands. The first thing to take note of is the serving size, not all companies list the same serving size, so being aware of how many grams will help you compare apples to apples with other brands. Once you are comparing on an even scale, look for the number of grams of protein per serving as well as the fats and carbohydrates. Those are the 3 main things to look for, don't worry about overall calories because the majority of calories will be made up from protein (= 4 cals per gram), fats (= 9 cals per gram), and carbs (= 4 cals per gram). If you do the math of the those 3, you'll equal out very close to the total amount of calories in the product. Ideally you want to have high protein, low fat, and some carbs in your protein to allow your body to properly absorb the powder.  

#3 The Extras   
This is the 2nd most important part of the protein and is what separates them apart from each other. The first thing that I look for is the number of BCAA's that are included in the protein (In grams). These are important in the absorption of the protein and by having a healthy dosage of them in your protein will allow you to maximize the benefits of the protein. Remember it's not how many grams of protein you put into your body, it's how many grams are absorbed and used by the body. Another thing to look for in a protein is the added dimension of recovery aids such as glutamine.

#4 Stay Away From The Hype
You always want to evaluate the product for what it has in it and not what it has on the pack. Today big companies have huge marketing dollars and very creative packing with headline that will shock you. Gain 25 pounds of muscle, increase recovery by 300%, these are all things that you'll see on the package and to be honest, i don't know where these claims come from. I'm not saying all of them are lies, but most of them are and they've never been proven in humans. A lot of companies test on rats and will see increases in strength or recovery and than expand that to be replicated in humans. I just don't believe that to be a fair evaluation of what a product will do for you. So if you take a realistic and knowledgeable approach you'll be alright. Gain 1 pound of muscle a week is great and hard to do, so if you can strive to achieve that, you are well on your way. 

My protein of choice is ISO XP by NX Labs. I believe this to be the best protein on the market because of it's  50 grams of protein (pure whey protein isolate), over 10 grams of BCAA's, 3 grams of carbs, and  <1 gram of fat. This product has been around for a long time and has withstood the test of time and continues to be a product that serious athletes trust to give them results. I've been using this stuff exclusively now for my entire off season and i've seen great results. If you have any questions about it please feel free to ask me, if you want to know more about the product, you can click here

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