As many of my followers know I am sponsored by Carla and Eddie Weber of Nutrition Addiction and Herbalife. Herbalife makes protein powders so that people can make shakes. There are those out there that will say that you don’t need to have a powder and you can get plenty of protein from food and I don’t disagree one bit. The problem for me is that during heavy training days I don’t have the opportunity to cook all day and go to work while trying to recover properly.
The line of product I use is Herbalife24 and is manufactured for the athlete so there are more carbohydrates in this line than their typical product line and it works very well for me. My recovery has been short and effective since I’ve used these products. I also know that because I want to get some nutrition in my body before I begin my workout at 5am I need to consume calories around 3am so that the nutrients have an opportunity to actually help me out during my training.
Yesterday while going through my inbox I noticed an email from Competitor.com that focused on active recovery, zone diet and cool pools. At the very bottom was a tiny link to an article titled Powder Power: The Importance Of Dietary Protein. I was intrigued because I believe, as per this post, that protein is the most over-sold macronutrient on the planet. Whenever you read about recovery, fuel, losing weight, gaining weight, vegetarianism the subject inevitably comes back to protein.
Yes, protein is important but for me it is the ‘least’ important of the macronutrients. A perfect day of eating right for me is 55%-60% carbohydrates, 25%-30% fats and 10%-15% Protein. I know when I am at or near these numbers my body feels amazing. I have energy to burn so to speak. I see bars claiming that they have 22g of protein in them or even sports drinks with labels touting 30g of protein. I found a calculator that would calculate the amount of protein a person my height 5’6″ tall with a medium frame and very active needs 99g of protein per day. If I had 4 bars and nothing else I would be fine, or maybe 3 or those drinks and ate nothing I would be golden but unfortunately I enjoy eating so this doesn’t work for me.
As I said I use the shakes to help me get those early morning calories in, and then I use it for recovery after a workout that is 2 hours or longer. Anything under that and I don’t consume protein powders. This article from Competitor.com showcased 5 protein powders along with some description of them and how much protein was in a particular serving.
Protein per 30g serving: 17–25g
The epitome of protein powders is widely available, digests quickly and contains an abundance of amino acids, including leucine—needed to encourage post-exercise muscle recovery, particularly when paired with carbohydrates. Find unflavored versions to avoid added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Protein per 30g serving: 11–21g
Most plant proteins are labeled “incomplete” because they lack essential amino acids. “Hemp protein, however, contains a full complement of essential amino acids, making it a great raw vegetarian option,” says Forsythe. It contains good amounts of fiber and heart-healthy omega fats. It tastes, well, earthy, so you’ll want to blend it with plenty of sweet-tasting fruit.
Protein per 30g serving: 23–26g
Similar to hemp, soy protein is considered a high-quality, complete vegetarian protein. A recent study reported that soy is just as good as milk protein in stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Look for “isolated” soy protein, which contains very little gas-producing oligosaccharides.
Protein per 30g serving: 16–20g
Egg protein powder is derived from egg whites and is fat-free. “It’s the standard by which all other protein powders are measured because it’s the highest quality protein,” says Forsythe. It’s packed with amino acids that are very effective at repairing and building muscle, but unfortunately, it tends to be pricey and not everyone is crazy about the taste.
Protein per 30g serving: 20–25g
Like whey, casein protein is derived from dairy. However, it’s much slower to digest and therefore should be consumed before bedtime or anytime there might be a prolonged gap between eating to keep a steady flow of amino acids going to the muscles.
What I found most interesting is the vast difference in the amount of protein by each type in a 30g serving. I would have guessed that they would be closer to each other. To see that the egg protein is the standard by which others are measured and yet Soy and Casein have more surprised me.
I enjoy my morning smoothies, although some mornings I’m not sure if I actually tasted it as I’m ready to go back to bed but I do keep a watchful eye on the number of shakes I make. My rule is to have one before I workout. A second shake immediately after a rigorous workout of two hours or more and then a complete meal within two hours of completing that workout. After that I do not consume a shake as it is no longer necessary for me to sneak in proteins as I have all day to cook.