weight training

How to Pick a Protein Powder

Most at some point wonder if they need a protein powder to help their training efforts, and that depends on your goals and current diet. Endurance based athletes have different needs from power/strength based athletes. Due to this I decided to write a post detailing what protein powder is, if you need it, and how to pick a safe protein powder.

Sponsored post by Naked Nutrition, all opinions are 100% my own

What Are Protein Powders?

Protein powders come in various forms. If you stop by your local health store and you’ll see rows of protein powders. The main ones are whey, soy, and casein protein. Of course, there are many others, but these tend to be the most common, specifical whey due to it being a water-soluble protein.

Along with types of protein powders they also come with varying price points, and this is due to the varying quality of the protein powders. For the casual athlete who doesn’t have a specific need at a certain time, the less expensive and more commercial proteins will be enough.

For those understand certain training schedules protein powder can be useful. They’re an easy and convenient source of complete, high-quality protein.

When Use Them?

When you’re growing. A teenager is going to need more protein to help fuel his workouts because his body is still growing and using more protein in general

When you’re starting a workout regimen. If working out is new to you and you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would.

When you’re amping up your workouts. If you normally work out for thirty minutes a couple times a week, but you’ve switched to training for a half-marathon, your body will naturally require more protein.

When you’re recovering from an injury. Athletes with sports injuries will need more protein to help aide the body in the healing process.

If you’re going vegan. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle end up eliminating a majority of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.  

Protein Math

Even though the above are valid reasons for trying to incorporate more protein into your diet, it may not be necessary. It doesn’t take that much protein to achieve the average goals. Most Americans already get about 15% of their daily calories in protein. To build a pound of muscle, the body needs between 10 and 14 additional grams of protein per day. Which really isn’t a lot, especially since some powders have 80 grams of protein per serving. You don’t need that, your body can’t even process that much in a serving.

So how can you tell if you’re getting enough? Do the math.

The following recommendation come from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
  • Those taking part in recreational athletics need 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
  • Competitive athletes need 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and those involved in ultra-endurance sports may need up to 2.0g per kilogram per day.

Say you’re an adult athlete who wants to build muscle mass, and you weigh about 75 kilograms (165 pounds). The most protein you would need per day is 150 grams. That sounds like a lot. But one 4-ounce hamburger contains 30 grams of protein, 6 ounces of tuna has 40 grams, and a single ounce of cheddar cheese has 7 grams.

How to Use Protein Powders

If you calculate your intake and determine that you’re not getting enough for your athletic needs (some signs of too-low protein intake: you’re unusually fatigued, feel weak when lifting weight or doing other strenuous activity, or are recovering from injuries slowly) how can you best use protein powders to help you improve your performance?

First, ignore those who say to take protein right after a workout. Before, during, and after a workout your body needs carbs. They fuel your body and it’s what your muscles run on. This isn’t to say protein isn’t important, but research is showing that at that point the body needs fuel with a 4-1 to 5-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Given that most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per scoop, you’d need about 80 grams of carbs to go with that scoop to get the proportion of nutrients right.

It’s due to this ratio that many recommend chocolate milk after a workout since it hits this ratio. 

How to Pick a Safe On

When choosing your protein powder the type (whey, casein, soy, etc.) depends on when you plan to consume it. Beyond that, there are other criteria that are a bit more important. 

For example, some protein powder’s have fillers, lack essential amino acids, and don’t use quality ingredients in general. Because of this, I trust Naked Nutrition to deliver the purest ingredients with all of the essential amino acids without any artificial sweeteners or colors. 

My personal favorite is the Naked Chocolate Peanut Butter protein powder. It tastes great and mixes perfectly into my post-workout smoothie. Since adding the Naked Chocolate PB to my recovery routine I’ve noticed a difference in my recovery time between training sessions, and when coming back from an injury this is even more crucial than normal. So if you’re looking for a quality protein poweder that you can rely on, I highly recommend one form Naked Nutrition.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Workout Woes: Three Common Mistakes Women Make At The Gym

Staying in shape is pretty high on many women’s lists of priorities. There are plenty of different reasons why you might want to work out regularly. It could be a desire to look a certain way, or you might just be trying to live a slightly healthier lifestyle. Whatever your reasons are, you likely want to use your time at the gym as productively as possible. There’s nothing more discouraging than putting a lot of effort into your workouts, only to find that they’re not really having any impact. Luckily, if that’s something that you’re dealing with, there are often some pretty simple reasons behind it. This means that you often have to fix one of a selection of pretty simple mistakes in order to start getting the most out of your workout!

Ignoring Weight Training

This is one of the most common mistakes that women make when they’re at the gym, and sadly it comes from some pretty unpleasant gender stereotypes. For one thing, it comes from the idea that women simply don’t have the capacity for strength that men do. The other reason is that there are a lot of stereotypes about what results women “should” get out of their workouts. Many women are taught to avoid getting too muscular because that’s not feminine enough.

These things are both ridiculous, but they do tend to get into many women’s heads a lot of the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should run straight for the heaviest possible weights and potentially hurt yourself. Check out these adjustable dumbbell reviews if you’re looking to get started doing some strength training so that you can find something that fits your personal comfort level. The muscle building that comes with strength training is going to help you get a lot more out of your workout than if you were just focussing on cardio.

Not Refueling After a Workout

Sadly, this comes from more unpleasant stereotypes that surround women trying to get in better shape. You’ll almost always see men at the gym having a protein shake after a workout, and most men’s workout routines involve a pretty hefty amount of calories. Sadly there’s an assumption that a woman at the gym should also be watching their caloric intake really carefully. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s impossible to have the right amount of energy during any workout if you’re not taking in enough energy in the first place. Make sure that you’re balancing the number of calories you’re eating so that you’re not left exhausted within moments of arriving at the gym.

Not Having Clear Goals

If you don’t have a clear goal to work towards, then you’re going to find it very difficult to find the motivation that you need to stick at anything. A goal to aim for is the thing that gives you the energy you need when you’re faced with the desire to quit. And make no mistake, that desire will appear at some point. When you’re tired and feeling like you just want to give up, having a clear goal in mind is one of the very best ways to give yourself that extra boost you need to motivate yourself. By the same token try to keep your goals realistic, putting in a lot of work but not reaching your goals because they were simply too ambitious, is a seriously effective way to end up frustrated and discouraged.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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