Two factors make up fitness: exercise and nutrition. If you’re spending hours training in the gym and are following your workout routines but still see no changes — aside from muscle cramping and soreness — then it’s possible your nutrition is to blame. Active people, however healthy they may eat, often miss out on one macronutrient: protein. The solution? Protein powder.
- Compared to people who live a sedentary lifestyle, individuals who live an active lifestyle need to consume more protein to maintain optimum health.
- Protein powder is convenient, easy to prepare and you can add it to countless recipes.
- Protein powders offer faster absorption after training and even come in vegetarian and vegan form.
Why You Should Be Using Protein Powder
Protein plays an important role in all our body’s functions. It’s vital for the healthy functioning of every cell and is an essential requirement for muscle growth and repair (1). You can’t avoid strained muscles during intense exercises. This is why we need to consume enough protein to help our bodies recover. It’s why you see people gulping down protein shakes made with their powder of choice, after training.
Remember that after exercising, your muscles need a little extra TLC. Nutrition is perhaps most important right after a workout. It helps your muscle tissues heal, grow and become stronger.
You can get protein from sources like meat, fish and poultry. Thus, some people doubt the importance of using protein powder. Others say this is merely a trend. Consuming protein powder will not have any direct effect on your overall wellness.
While people living sedentary lifestyles can do fine with the recommended daily minimum, people who work out regularly and those who have a physically demanding job need more. For individuals who live an active lifestyle, it can be hard to get sufficient protein through food alone. It can sometimes require eating significant amounts of meat. For some people, this might not feel appealing or even possible.
Protein powders are a huge help — here’s why.
They’re Convenient and Pack a Big Punch
A sedentary individual needs to consume an average of 46 to 56 grams of protein in a day (2), so a physically active person will require more. The rule of thumb is approximately one gram of protein per pound of lean body weight — more if you’re trying to add muscle to your frame.
Now, you can, of course, eat this protein instead of using protein powder, but planning and preparing meals can be time-consuming — and we know how hectic schedules can sometimes be. Plus, depending on your body weight and what your goals are, consuming enough protein can be challenging. Imagine you’re a 160-pound woman. This means you need to eat roughly 160 grams of protein every day!
Protein shakes are easy to make and even easier to consume. If you’re in a hurry, you can simply mix it with plain water, coconut water or your choice of milk in a shaker bottle and get your protein fix within minutes of your workout. It’s convenient enough that you can prepare it whenever and wherever you need.
The Protein is Readily Available (and Gets to Work Quickly) When Your Body Needs It Most
Compared to solid food like meat, protein powder offers a fast-digesting protein source. This means it can quickly provide your body with protein after strenuous activity. Protein powder may also come in handy pre-workout. Some research suggests it’s an energy source if you deplete your glycogen and exercise continues at a high intensity (1).
It’s also helpful for the elderly, pregnant women and other individuals who have a hard time meeting their protein requirements.
Protein Powders Provide Non-Meat Options
Peas contain five grams of protein per 100 grams, making it obvious why the vegetable is commonly used to make protein powder, along with brown rice, hemp and pumpkin. These are excellent protein options for vegans and vegetarians who often have a hard time getting their daily protein requirements due to the absence of meat (and dairy, for vegans).
To be clear, you should still aim to get some of your protein from food. However, for vegetarian and vegan athletes, or simply athletes who don’t like or can’t eat meat, this is a challenge. Protein powder can be a helpful supplement to a healthy diet.
There Are Many Ways to Use Protein Powder
Protein powders are available in a variety of flavours. Mixing them in water is only one of the ways they can be prepared. If you’re not pressed for time and want to try something different, you can blend the protein powder with your favourite fruit smoothie for a healthy, delicious and protein-rich concoction.
You can also incorporate it in your pancake recipe for a protein-packed breakfast, add it to your muffin batters or even your favourite desserts — like banana split protein popsicles and chocolate protein muffins. Baking with protein powder is an excellent way to add variety to your nutrition. The possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavours and ingredients.
Protein powders can help you immensely, especially in today’s fast-paced culture. They’re easy and convenient to prepare and consume and they can provide us with much-needed protein which is essential for our bodies to function properly. Don’t let your busy schedule get in the way of good health. Achieve your fitness goals and live a healthy lifestyle by making sure your body receives the right nutrition. Try a high-quality protein powder today.
- “Food Habits in Athletes”, van Erp-Baart, A, (2018).
- “Dietary protein requirements of physically active individuals”, Paul, GL, (1989).