Protein powder is at the top of the bodybuilding list of the best supplements for muscle growth.
As every bodybuilder should know, getting enough protein in your daily diet is an absolute must to build muscle. While it is certainly possible to get enough protein by eating whole foods, most bodybuilders use a combination of protein in chicken, red meat, fish and protein powder supplements.
How much protein does a bodybuilder need?
Protein powder workout supplements are extremely popular for several reasons. Let’s look at a typical 200 pound bodybuilder. Our bodybuilder must consume 1 to 1.5 g of high quality protein per pound of body weight each day. This means he should average 250 g of protein each day. This protein intake should be divided into 5 or 6 meals to be consumed throughout the day. At six meals per day, our bodybuilder needs to consume an average of about 40 g of protein at each meal.
Let’s look at the protein content of some common bodybuilding foods:
Protein Food Protein Fat
8 ounces of various steaks 45 g 10 g
1 Large Egg 6 g 3 g
6 ounces chicken breast 40 g 2 g
6 ounces Turkey breast 30 g 1 g
8 ounces pork chop 30 g 6 g
4 ounces hamburger (90%) 15 g 10 g
1 can chunk light tuna (6.25 oz) 40 g 1 g
½ cup cottage cheese 12 g 2 g
Using a combination of these excellent foods, you can easily meet your protein requirements for 3 or 4 of your 6 meals each day. However, you can imagine how much time it would take to prepare and eat six meals every day using these foods, not to mention extremely expensive!
This is where protein powder supplements enter the picture. They provide you with a quick, convenient, and relatively inexpensive way to add those extra 2 or 3 protein servings each day. As an added bonus, high quality protein powders taste excellent!
The Different Types of Protein Powders
Protein powder supplements come in many different types, formulations, and flavors. Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are 22 amino acids, some of which the body can make on it’s own, and some that must be provided in the diet, called Essential amino acids. The combination of the different amino acid is called the amino acid profile. Each type of protein has a different amino acid profile. This is why it is best to eat a variety of protein sources as well as use a variety of protein powder supplements.
The most popular types of protein powders are whey, casein, egg, and soy. Beef Protein Isolate, Hemp Protein and Pea Protein are also becoming more popular.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein is generally considered the best muscle building protein and is by far the most popular and most heavily used protein supplement. It is cheaper per gram than most other types of protein. It is absorbed very quickly by the digestive system and reaches the muscles fast. Whey protein is best used as the first meal of the day because your body has not had any protein for many hours during the night and you want to get it in your bloodstream quickly. Use whey protein immediately following a workout because this is the most important time to take can a large quantity of protein and you want to get to your muscles as soon as possible.
Casein Protein Powder
Casein protein is a bit more expensive than whey protein, but is absorbed at a much slower rate. This fact makes it the supplement of choice right before bedtime. A generous serving can provide your muscles with a steady supply of protein for 5 to 6 hours as opposed to 1 or 2 hours for whey protein. Casein protein is also an excellent choice if you think it may be a long time before your next protein serving.
Egg Protein Powder
Egg protein is not nearly as popular as whey or casein mostly because of its cost. It is, however an excellent protein supplement with a high BV (Biological Value is used to indicate how much of the protein is actually used by the body) and excellent amino acid profile. I would recommend using egg protein to mix with your whey protein or occasionally substitute for your whey protein.