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No doubt one of the biggest concerns fitness-conscious folks have is how to get in adequate amounts of high-quality protein, the most convenient and cost-effective way. Naturally, all that hard work in the gym is going to require replenishing and feeding tired muscles. Recovery is a key concern and choosing a protein powder that meets your specific health or fitness goals is of the essence.

This is not to say that one protein powder is simply superior to the other. Different types of powders are manufactured to help you reach new heights with respect to your goals. Incorporate these simple steps to determine which one’s the best for you:

Why Do You Need it?

Knowing why you’re adding a protein powder to your diet will help you settle for a combination of powders that get you to the desired level in terms of overall health or physique development.[list type=”icon-arrow”]

  • A great way of adding new muscle is to add a good protein powder to your diet. Of course a supplement is never meant to act as a replacement for whole food protein sources, but it nicely compliments the effort you put into developing your physique.
  • If you’re goal is to lose weight, additional protein can help you preserve muscle, and provide a source of energy as well as a feeling of fullness, as you work towards your fat loss goals.
  • Protein can aid in providing your body with certain bioactive elements that lower cholesterol. It also helps you achieve an ideal body mass index whilst lowering blood pressure. [/list]

How Much is Enough for Me?[list type=”icon-arrow”]

  • Protein is stored in the body as amino acids and needs to be consumed on a daily basis, every few hours. If you’re not getting in the required amount according to your body type and weight, this stored protein is going to be excavated from existing muscle tissue to fuel certain regulatory processes in the body, including preserving muscle. Since protecting muscle and strength loss is among your chief goals, a protein powder ideally provides you with the daily required amount. Generally, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight suffices.
  • Physically active individuals need to have at least 30% to 40% calories coming in from protein, in order to keep the metabolism peaking throughout the day, as well as staying in a state of “positive nitrogen balance”; an anabolic state so to speak where the body has ample protein to continue building muscle, while preserving it, and, keeping fat stores at bay.
  • The remaining calories can come from fats and carbs in a 30:30 ratio. [/list]

Animal-based Protein Powders[list type=”icon-arrow”]

  • Animal-based proteins are gluten free, widely available and considered “complete” strands of protein. In addition, they’re cheaper than their plant-based counterparts.
  • Egg and milk protein powders generally yield the richest amino acid profiles and have a high bioavailability. This tends to be the powder of choice for many bodybuilders, power athletes or aspiring gym rats.
  • Milk protein generally comes in two varieties – casein and whey. Whey is known to digest in the gut within 45 minutes. While casein takes a few hours at least. The former is an ideal choice pre and post workout, while the latter makes for a good protein source before bed to prevent muscle breakdown as you sleep. [/list]

Get Packing

Whether you’re looking to improve post-workout recovery times, boost general health or pack on slabs of new muscle, choosing the right kind of protein powder ensures none of the blood, sweat or tears you shed in the gym go in vain.