Should you use protein powders?

As a PT and group fitness instructor, one of the questions I am asked most frequently is whether or not someone should use a protein supplement.

First, let’s quickly cover off why protein is a good thing:

  1. Protein helps you repair and build muscle, which is a good thing to have after you’ve done a big workout.
  2. Protein makes you feel ‘fuller’ for longer, so you’re less likely to snack (and reach for the sugary snacks, at that!).

Here’s the thing about protein though – your body can only absorb 30g of it at a time. So you might have a 300g steak, but of that only 30g of protein will ever be absorbed.

So should you have a protein supplement after a workout?

The short answer is yes, you should have some form of protein after a workout. For most people, a glass of skim milk after your workout will be enough protein to help repair muscle. However if you do a lot of training and you’re aiming to build muscle, a protein powder is recommended. One scoop of protein powder is usually up to 30g of protein, so you don’t need to consume much to get what you need. You will also get the most benefit from a protein supplement if you have it within half an hour of your workout. After an hour, the effect is pretty minimal.

A word of warning though – not all protein powders are created equal! A lot of them have a shit-tonne of sugar in them to make them palatable – not only the powders, but other protein products like protein bars. So check the labels! Also if you have an aversion to dairy, avoid any of the whey proteins and try a pea protein instead.

Oh, and protein supps like shakes and protein bars can result in nasty farts. Just be prepared.

Where else can you get protein?

Like fats and carbs, there are good sources and bad sources of protein. Here’s a few examples:

Good sources of protein

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Turkey breast
  • Eye fillet steak
  • Protein shake
  • Plain Chobani yoghurt

Bad sources of protein

  • Animal products that are high in saturated fats (eg, fatty cuts of red meat)
  • Crumbed, battered, or fried meats

Have a question about protein, or is there another topic you’d like to see a blog post about? Let me know!

This blog post is an excerpt from my new ebook, which will be coming out this year! Stay tuned for more details…

Leave a Reply