Protein powders for beginners…

 

protein shakesI have been working out regularly (5-6 times a week) for over a year now, but I wouldn’t say I’m particularly well qualified to give out advice to experienced fitness fanatics. I do however, feel I could offer some words of encouragement to the people who are just dipping their toes into the vast pool that is ‘health and fitness’.

I wanted to talk about protein powders because I felt like there wasn’t a lot of advice out there for me when I began to take an interest in them. There are a few stores that specialise in sports supplements, but I personally feel very intimidated as they appear to be targeted mainly at men who want to seriously bulk up. The truth is I didn’t know why I wanted to buy protein powder, so I was a bit confused as to what to ask for anyway! So here are the basics for anyone who is curious:

Why we need more protein:

When we exercise we create tiny tears in my muscles. When they repair themselves they become stronger, allowing you to run faster, lift heavier weights and burn more calories. Muscle needs protein to carry out these repairs, and you need to consume this protein within 75 mins of exercise.

Pros:

  • Drinking a protein shake is quicker than making a meal and sometimes more palatable. Sometimes I work out so hard I feel sick, and the thought of forcing down a can of tuna is just too much.
  • Powders are more cost effective than meat as a protein source. A tub of powder will set you back between £20-50 but could last you a few months depending on how often you consume.
  • They feel like a treat. When you are eating chicken and veg three times a day like a lot of healthy eating plans advise, a milk shake starts to look pretty damn good!

Cons:

  • They can mess with your diet. If you’re on a sugar free diet its unlikely you will find a powder that complies with your plan. I personally choose to make an exception knowing that I don’t consume any other sugars.
  • Quality and flavour is variable. You will need to try a few brands and flavours before your find the one for you. At the moment I’m working through a bag of strawberry & cream which is pretty good. I make mine with water but I hear if you use milk the taste is much better.
  • Its not natural. If anyone knows of a 100% natural protein powder available in the UK please comment below and let me know, I would love to try it!

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