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How to Use Protein Powder So You Actually Benefit From It

You’ve probably had some random acquaintance like your neighbor’s brother’s wife tell you how great her new diet has been and why protein powder is most likely the magic component of her weight loss. That conversation may have convinced you to purchase a similar bulk-sized jar of protein.

But which type of protein powder should you choose and how the heck do you use it?

Whether it be soy, hemp, whey or something else, grocery stores, health markets and fitness centers across the country are stocking their shelves with every protein form possible. Trust me, it’s overwhelming to decipher them. From the neon green jar to the medical-looking label to the label endorsed by a celebrity and the “we are green” label made out of recycled paper, it seems like you still don’t get all the facts.

So, here’s what you should do to make sure your protein powder lives up to all its promises:

Know Your Reason For Using It.

Just because your friend or co-worker told you to go buy your own jar doesn’t give you a solid enough reason to make room for one more item on your kitchen counter. First and foremost, a protein powder is protein: plain and simple. Use it to help meet your protein intake requirements for the day. This certainly can be done through food alone. But when you are in a bind, running out the door with your hair still wet, or the catered lunch options were all veggie at the work meeting, having protein powder available can be a great supplement. A high-quality, pure protein powder is not composed of other macronutrients and therefore it is not a meal replacement nor is it a fat metabolizer, muscle grower or workout energizer

Understand The Difference Between Quality Protein and Other Brands.

Quality does not necessarily mean the most expensive or the all-plant-based product. It can be evaluated a few different ways, so ask yourself some questions: Do you know what all the ingredients on the label are? Are there any research studies supporting this brand and specific protein? Has this product been tested for safety and efficacy? Do you know how it was manufactured? The Food and Drug Administration does not require any verification with dietary supplements so finding a product that has been reviewed and certified with a third party verification such as Informed Choice or NSF is essential.

Don’t Overdo It.

When it comes to protein powder there are many athletes who think more is better. What is important to know is that the body cannot metabolize humongous amounts of protein all at once, so follow serving size recommendations.

Timing Is Important.

The body can only metabolize a certain number of grams of protein per meal, so timing your protein intake throughout the day requires planning and awareness of protein in other foods (or lack thereof). Muscle tissue is constantly repairing and rebuilding, even through the night. Make sure your body has enough amino acids by consuming protein throughout the day.

Maintain Balance.

Protein is not the only macronutrient out there: Carbohydrates and fat also bring value to your body and are necessary in achieving your goals. When refueling after a workout, protein helps rebuild and repair the muscle tissue and carbohydrates are just as important to replenish the glycogen stores that you used up in your workout.

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