Grab yourself a cup of coffee (or tea if you are tea person), relax and get ready. Cause we will cover pretty much everything in this post that you are wondering about protein supplements. And on following posts, we will go even deeper some specific product that you can benefit.
First of all, I will say the most important thing about protein supplements: They are not drugs or juice that will make you Arnold or some crazy cross fit champ overnight. So if someone asks you this question: “Hey bro, are you natural or did you make those with protein supplements?” you are supposed to run away from that person as fast as you can. These supplements are made from natural nutrients we eat on daily basis.
And secondly, I never encourage people to use protein supplements, or any supplements at all. Always try to get your protein, fat, and carbs from whole, unprocessed foods. IF there is no chance to do it, then you may consider using a protein supplement. But you have to educate yourself first on how to use and what to expect. Luckily you are in the right place
What Is a Protein Supplement and What Does It Do?
Protein supplements are produced from some high protein sources like milk, meat or eggs. All proteins consist of amino acids which are essential for our body to function properly. Our body can’t produce most of these amino acids so we have to get them from our daily nutrients.
There are a lot of different amino acids that our body needs every day. A balanced diet is necessary for taking all types of these amino acids but most of the time we frequently eat food that we love or we don’t have the time for healthy and rich meals in our everyday life. One way or another we usually miss some important amino acids on the road.
That’s where protein supplements come in. They are rich in high-quality proteins and most products contain a wide range of amino acid profile with the required daily intake.
Do I Need to Use Them for Bodybuilding or Healthy Life?
In order to answer that question you need to answer this question first:
‘Do I take all the necessary amino acids for my body from a well balanced and healthy diet?’
If you can honestly say yes to that question then you definitely don’t need any supplements, that’s for sure. But for most of us, I seriously doubt it. If you are on the dark side you really benefit from these supplements. Because that’s what supplements do, they make up for an imbalanced diet. If you don’t get the necessary nutrition daily you can close the gap with supplements.
Every healthy adult should take approximately 1 grams of protein per 1 kg of body mass. This can be 2 grams of protein per 1 kg body mass if you are doing some heavy lifting or hardcore bodybuilding. For some people, this amount of protein can be hard to get by daily nutrition. So for this kind of situations using supplements can be a smart choice.
What Are the Types of Protein Supplements and Which One Should I Use?
There are three main types of protein supplements: whey protein, casein protein, and complex proteins. Let’s cover them:
Whey proteins are of course the most popular ones in the supplement industry and there is a reason for this. They contain most of the essential amino acids. They are perfect for feeding muscles after a workout which is the key point of muscle building. Some isolated protein supplements can mix with blood less than 10 minutes.
Using whey in the morning, one or two hours after you wake up can be a very smart move because it feeds the hungry muscles quickly and helps you burn some fat.
How Much: I recommend not to exceed two cups a day unless you are a hardcore bodybuilder. Because taking protein with these supplements is so easy that you can quickly overdose. And taking too much protein can seriously affect your health negatively. And it can damage your liver in the long term. But this can also happen if you eat too much chicken or eggs. So please don’t exaggerate.
When: You can use one scoop after you get up and one scoop after the workout. Or you can take one scoop after the workout only.
Casein proteins digested and mixed with the blood slowly and feed the muscles extended period of time. They are made from milk so they are also known as milk proteins. They are often used before going to bed because they can feed the muscles between 6-8 hours. And as you can guess using them after the workout is not such a good idea because after the workout muscles need amino acids as fast as possible.
I personally don’t think casein protein supplements are as crucial as whey. But if you want to use them, do the math well. Calculate the amount of daily protein you get from nutrition and whey protein supplements. And never exceed 2 grams of protein per 1 kg body mass.
How Much: One scoop per day.
When: Half an hour before you go to bed.
Complex Proteins contain both slow mixing casein proteins and fast mixing whey proteins. There are some studies suggests that taking complex proteins after the workout performs better than just taking whey. Honestly, I never experienced this performance increase even though I tried them for some period.
The thing is that I always believe when it comes to supplementation you should keep it simple and basic. But you can try for yourself because everyone’s body is different. There is no reason these supplements do no good to you.
Some complex protein supplements contain creatine which is very important I think. Because if you are doing fitness or bodybuilding creatine is the most important supplement, period. You can read our creatine article here.
How Much: One or two scoops per day. Don’t exceed that.
When: You can use them as a quick meal replacement if you skipped one or you can take before or after the workout.
And the Ultimate Question: What Are the Best Protein Supplements?
After deciding you need to use protein supplements there is only one important question comes to mind: ‘How can I choose the right one among all those brands and products?’
Indeed it is really hard to decide but fortunately, I have some really solid products to suggest to you. I have used a lot of protein supplements throughout the years but these 5 are really top of the line products. I am sure you will benefit from some of them greatly.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is the best-selling protein supplement for a long time and there is a good reason for that. It contains microfiltered whey proteins, ionized whey proteins, and concentrated whey proteins. One scoop contains 24 grams of super quality protein, 3 grams of carbohydrate and only 1 gram of fat.
Of these 24 grams of protein, 5.5 grams are BCAA (You can find out why Branched Chain Amino Acids are so important for us) and 4 grams is glutamine. BCAA profile is perfect: 2.5 grams of Leucine (Find out why leucine is the most important amino acid), 1.5 grams of Isoleucine and 1.5 grams of Valin. And 4 grams of glutamine is pretty good, that will help your body build up faster after hardcore workouts.
ON Gold Standard Whey is indeed one of the best quality and time-tested protein supplements in the market. And it has a reasonable price for the quality.
If you need a good quality whey protein after your workouts you can buy ON Gold Whey from here without a second thought. I honestly can’t recommend this product enough.
- BSN Syntha 6
BSN Syntha is inarguably one of the best quality protein powders on the market. With the fast absorption of whey and the long-term feed of milk proteins, it helps muscle development ideally.
BSN Syntha 6 has glutamine peptides and papain and aminogen enzymes which increase protein synthesis. It also has dietary fibers which provide a healthier digestion. BSN Syntha 6 feeds the muscles for 8 long hours!
One scoop contains 24 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of carbohydrate and 3.5 grams of fat. I know this is not a product for those who try to lose fat and get in shape. But if you are trying to bulk or make some serious muscle it is hard to find a better product.
I will say it again: If you don’t have a weight problem or don’t try to lose fat, this is one of the perfect protein supplements on the market. You can buy one here.
- Weider Premium Whey
If you know a little about supplements you possibly heard of Joe Weider who is basically the founder of the supplement industry. And his products are among the best.
Weider Premium Whey is perhaps the richest and top quality whey protein powder on the market. %20 of the protein is precious whey isolate and %25 is premium BCAA. It has 19 different amino acids which are more than impressive and effective. And I have to tell it tastes very good.
One scoop contains 23 grams of top quality protein, 3.1 grams of carbohydrate and 1.6 grams of fat. It also has 2 grams of glutamine per scoop and calcium, sodium and Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine).
But all that comes with an extreme price, I have to warn you. And I don’t know if it is worth so much extra cash. Personally, I don’t prefer this product because of the high price but If you want the best no matter what is the cost, this is the right one for you. You can order one from here.
- Scitec Super 7
Scitec is on the protein market since 1996 and one of the leading companies in creating protein formulas. This particular product is a complex protein and as you can guess it has 7 different protein types: whey isolate, whey concentrate, micellar casein, isolated milk protein, hydrolyzed casein, egg protein and sodium casein. Also, it has 9 amino acid types that our body can’t synthesize.
One scoop contains 20.5 grams of high-quality protein, 3.5 grams of carbohydrate, 1.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar. And the interesting and different feature of this product is it has two enzymes: papain and bromelain which helps digestion better than most of the products out there.
Thanks to the rich content and reliability, you can easily choose this product to feed your muscles longer. You can bet it will get the job done. You can buy one from here.
- Muscletech Phase 8
Another very high-quality complex protein which feeds your muscles for 8 hours. It contains:
- Hydrolyzed Whey Isolate: The fastest absorption you can ever achieve
- Whey Isolate: Very fast absorption
- Whey Concentrate: Fast absorption
- Concentrated Milk Protein: Slow absorption
- Calcium Caseinate: Very slow absorption
- Micellar Casein: The slowest absorption
One scoop contains 26 grams of high-quality protein, 6 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fat. It also has 2.2 grams of glutamine and 4.6 grams of BCAA per scoop. Because of high carbohydrate and fat profile, it can be used as a small meal replacement if you missed one.
If you don’t try to lose weight, again I highly recommend this product because of high quality and a wide range of protein profile. You can order from here.
I hope this article helps in to clear some thoughts in your mind. As I have mentioned before if you learn how, when and how much to use protein supplements will never harm you. Actually, you can really benefit from them on your way to a healthier life if you educate yourself and use them correctly.
If there are some questions on your mind feel free to ask us anytime. And keep following us through our website and our social accounts because we will continue to cover the topics you are most curious about supplements and fitness.
What do you think about protein powders? What are your favorite ones? And how do you use them? Ask, answer, share and spread the knowledge.