You have probably heard from your workout buddies that protein powders are a great addition to your health regimen. We are all aware that our bodies need protein to function at their highest levels. Protein is a necessary component that helps our hearts, brain, skin, and immune system function properly. The common question is, how much do you need and what are the benefits of protein powders? Let’s find out!
What is protein powder?
First, let us address what protein powder is. Protein powder can be manufactured from soy, whey, casein, or peas. These powders are added to water, milk, or plant-based milk to make a shake. They are a convenient way to consume proteins throughout the day. Whey has become one of the more popular choices. Whatever protein powder you choose, you want to make sure you get the best quality you can afford. The most commonly used criteria to measure protein powder quality is its Biological Value or BV for short. A powder’s BV is the amount of nitrogen replaceable by 100 grams of protein in an adult’s diet. The higher the BV, the better the protein powder.
One of the main advantages of protein powders is their ability to aid in muscle growth. This is why many athletes and gym enthusiasts insist upon regular use of protein powders. The common belief is that it will help them bulk up after strength training workouts. This belief is not a myth. A 2018 analysis of 49 studies backed this up. The results showed that protein supplements, like powders, significantly improved muscle size and strength in adults who perform exercise activities such as lifting weights.
In addition to aiding in muscle growth, protein was also found to help with easing muscle soreness after workouts. Many studies have shown that taking protein supplements after workouts aids in reducing muscle damage and improved muscle performance.
One benefit not necessarily linked to exercise but a benefit nonetheless is added nutrition. The recommended intake of protein for adults aged 19 and older is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Some people may find reaching these levels difficult, particularly if following a vegan or plant-based diet. Protein powders are an excellent way to help reach these needs.
How to use
If you are here, you are focusing on exercise and muscle. For muscle building, the minimum amount of protein you should take is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should take 200 grams of protein. If you take additional amounts, this will aid in muscle recovery and repair.
The next question to ask is when. One of the times your body will need protein the most is immediately after a workout. Your body starts to heal muscles after any workout, so to realize the most benefit from protein, post-workout is the best time to have that protein powder shake.
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