A Beginners Guide To Protein Powder

As an online Personal Trainer, clients and followers of The Petite PT regularly ask questions about protein powder:

“When should I take my protein powder?”

“Should I take my protein powder before or after my workout?”

“Which is the best type of protein powder for my body?”

So I thought, why not make the definitive, beginners guide on the wonders of this powdery protein substance.

Protein powder consumption is a relatively clear-cut topic, but sadly it has become clouded in ‘bro-science’.

Browsing over many of the internet’s most popular fitness websites, I became surprised and angered by some of the advice they were willing to print.

Predominantly written by bodybuilders (who are often sponsored by multinational supplement companies), many online articles are not backed by scientific studies or literature. Therefore, how do you know if what you’re reading is fact, or just them trying to persuade you to buy their products?

At The Petite PT, I will always link to the scientific literature referenced. I believe this gives a basic level of trust between readers and my website.

Maybe I’m a little sidetracked on the topic of false content, but I feel as a blogger, it is important to be open, honest and transparent with readers.

Okay, back to the topic in hand…

Disclaimer: It is important to note that protein powders are intended to be supplemental to your regular meals, not a replacement for them. At the PPT I recommend whole-food, lean sources of protein such as organic free-range chicken & turkey, sustainably caught fish, nuts, beans, legumes and tofu. That said, for those trying to tone up or build muscle, supplementary protein is beneficial for maximal protein synthesis. #gains

Should I take my protein powder before or after my workout?

The best time to take your protein powder is immediately after your workout.

Why?

Muscle fibres undergo a cycle of breakdown during resistance exercise, followed by remodelling and growth.

Numerous scientific studies determine that the body’s protein synthesis rate is at its peak immediately after resistance exercise; therefore, it is optimal to consume protein during this time.

Below are a few quotes from the studies that I am referring to:

(Please skip this section if you do not wish to get held up on scientific jargon!)

“Dietary protein should be ingested during and/or immediately after cessation of exercise to allow muscle protein synthesis rates to reach maximal levels.” (1)

“Dietary protein ingestion after exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis, inhibits protein breakdown and, as such, stimulates net muscle protein accretion following resistance as well as endurance type exercise. Protein ingestion during and/or immediately after exercise has been suggested to facilitate the skeletal muscle adaptive response to each exercise session, resulting in more effective muscle reconditioning.” (1)

“During the post-exercise period, a net gain in muscle mass (MPS − MPB) after exercise is achieved only when amino acid availability is increased. (2)

Do I recommend whey protein powder?

No.

From the research that I have undertaken across my professional career, I believe that the human body is not designed to process cow’s milk (for more on this topic visit my post Lactose Intolerance – 10 Major Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore.

Moreover, have you ever smelt your protein shake bottle after not immediately washing it out?

There is enough purification in there to burn your face off!

Many whey protein powders also contain Acesulfame Potassium, Acesulfame K and/or Aspartame. Sweeteners so toxic the human body cannot process them.

These sweeteners have more than 100 side effects listed next to them and can get stored in the brain, liver, kidneys and fat cells.

Plus, did you know that these carcinogenic sweeteners are used to induce cancer in rats for anti-cancer drug trials? Even at intakes much lower than the current acceptable daily limit. (3)

If you are looking for a healthy protein powder, I recommend Sun Warrior Protein, Vega Protein, Tropeaka Protein or any type of organic hemp, rice or pea protein.

(I do not have an affiliation with any of these products. But, I do believe that are currently, the healthiest, cleanest protein powders on the market.)

I recommend mixing your protein powder with coconut, oat, almond, or rice milk instead of cows milk to enjoy a gorgeous protein top-up.

Why not start today with this gorgeous tropical protein smoothie recipe:

Coconut, Pineapple & Lime Protein Smoothie

Serves: 1

Instructions: Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until creamy.

    • 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple
    • 1 cup of coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup of ice
    • Zest and juice of 1/4 lime
    • 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
    • 1/2 tsp of vanilla paste
    • 1/2 an avocado

Benefits: This recipe is incredibly nourishing because of its healthy unsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamins C, B1 and B6.

Do you have any unanswered questions on protein powder? Get in touch by leaving a comment below.

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