Should I Take a Protein Supplement?

This is a question I get asked a lot as a fitness professional.

Firstly, let me tell you that Protein supplementation is exactly that, just a supplement. The majority of your protein intake should come from poultry, seafood, meat, eggs and the right mix of high protein legumes and vegetables. If you are taking in enough protein from these sources, supplementation would be pointless. My example below would emphasize this point:

Tom is a 175lb male looking to build muscle mass. Tom trains 4 days per week and calculates that he needs 175g (1g per lb of body weight) of protein per day. Currently, he’s eating only 150g’s from eggs, chicken and fish etc..  (Within his normal daily meals). Therefore, He needs to consume another 25g’s to hit his target, but finds it hard to eat anymore solid protein sources. In this circumstance, Tom would benefit from using a protein supplement that agrees with any of his intolerances and/or food preferences he might have.

Below are some of the other important facts and information about Protein Supplementation:

  • Not all protein supplements are created equal and it’s important to note the Food and Drug Administration of the United States and many other countries do not test the safety or purity of nutritional supplements.

 

  • To make it more confusing protein supplements come in many forms, including whey (isolate, concentrate and hydrolysate), soy, beef, casein, egg, hemp, pea, rice and weight gainers that contain a blend of protein and carbs. Intolerances or reactions to certain food groups will dictate which one you would choose.

 

  • If you have already decided on a protein supplement, then the next question is “ what do I take it with?” You have to take into account the caloric profile of the liquid you mix it with and make sure it’s within your macro ratios for the day. Post workout is a good time to take the supplement or around the time of day you are struggling to meet your requirement e.g. If you typically struggle with protein in the morning have your shake for breakfast.

 

In summary, if the requirement is there, you could benefit from taking a protein supplement. Do your research, don’t buy a brand because the clueless guy at the gym said it works or because you like the packaging!

 

Coach Cyrus