Is Protein Powder Necessary To Build Muscle?
Everyone who’s tried lifting weights was probably told or persuaded into buying a tub of protein powder in order to help them make some gains.
But is protein really necessary in order to pack on all that muscle?
The answer: Not really. Only if you really need it…
The reality is protein is a supplement, and they’re marketed in today’s fitness industry as a one way ticket to muscle.
These companies make a killing off their supplements, whether it be pre-workout, protein powder, nitric oxide, test-boosters, vitamins, or mass gainers.
And most of them don’t even work!
Protein powder is also expensive, especially depending on the brand and size tub you buy.
Some protein powders will set you back $70 and only last you 20 days if you consume the recommended 1 serving a day.
At that rate, you’d spend over $1,200 a year if you take one scoop of protein powder a day!
Protein powder isn’t your go to muscle builder. Save your money and avoid buying protein powder tubs every single month.
So if protein powder isn’t necessary, what is?
Organic whole plant based foods.
Nothing beats building muscle like eating some quality food straight from the earth. Not only will you look great, but you’ll feel great as well.
Get a large variety of dark leafy greens like kale and spinach as well as other muscle recovery foods like goji berries, blueberries, and fruits.
For protein, try eating
- pumpkin seeds
- chickpea pasta
- steel cut oats
- hemp seeds
- chia seeds
Avoid processed foods and fake meats. They’re filled with oil, sodium, and other crap just to make it taste good.
Organic whole based foods have been a staple of my diet for quite some time now and I’ve never felt better.
Our bodies were designed to eat exactly what the earth has granted to us. Not to mention they really aid in workout recovery.
How do I know if I need to take protein powder?
I do recommend taking an organic plant based protein powder in some cases.
That’s if you aren’t reaching your protein goals for the day.
For building muscle you need to be consuming between .6 and .75 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to be eating between 90 and 112 grams of protein a day.
If you can’t reach this goal just from foods alone, then it’s time to try a protein supplement.
If I do take protein powder, how often should I take it?
That’s really up to you.
If you’re reaching your protein goals almost every single day, I would say you don’t even need to buy or consume any protein powder.
If you’re really missing out on your daily protein goals you should re-evaluate your diet and daily nutrition, and maybe throw in a protein shake here and there.
This is why it’s so important to track your nutrition every single day.
If you’re a really busy person and you know for a fact you’re going to miss a meal, whip up a quick protein shake so you can drink it quickly or take it to work.
I sometimes make one before I head to school since I have a 9 hour long day. In between my 15 minute class break, I like to drink the shake that has 2 scoops of Orgain protein powder, peanut butter, a banana, and vanilla soy milk.
In total it gives me around 550 calories, 35 grams of protein, 61 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of fat.
It’s a great meal replacement and gives me some much needed calories, carbs, and protein to help aid in muscle recovery.
While protein shakes do work for muscle gain it’s important to remember, nothing beats real food.
When should I take protein powder? Right after a workout?
Once again this all depends on your goals and your current diet and nutrition.
It’s usually better to divide your protein up evenly throughout the day rather than getting it all at once.
That being said, if you know you’re not getting enough protein for breakfast, it might be a good idea do incorporate a scoop of protein powder with whatever you’re eating (if that works well).
For example, you can add protein powder to your pancake batter, your oatmeal, or with your cereal. You don’t have to make a protein shake all the time, although I personally prefer to do this.
A lot of research has been done on whether consuming protein or taking a protein shake right after your workout has any effect on muscle growth and recovery.
Some studies have shown that taking a protein powder between 15 minutes to 30 minutes after a workout has resulted in better muscle growth and recovery.
On the other hand, other studies claim that this ‘anabolic window’ is more likely extended to 3-4 hours. Some even say the anabolic window is 24-48 hours long!
The science is mixed that’s for sure.
But most come to a consensus that consuming protein right after a workout has very little effect if any.
What really matters is if you’re consuming enough protein and calories throughout the whole day, which is based on you protein goals and body weight/composition.
So don’t worry too much about needing to down a protein shake right after you’ve pumped some iron.
Do protein shakes build muscle faster?
Simple answer… no.
But if you’re not consuming enough protein, then yes… protein powder is better than not consuming any protein at all.
But in general, protein shakes help you build muscle like any other food. Food is necessary from your diet but protein powders are not.
They will not magically make your muscles grow much faster like an anabolic steroid.
Remember, this isn’t pixie dust. It’s merely a supplement.
The point of supplements is to help you get a small edge in the gym or give you that tiny little boost to reach your goals. It isn’t a one way shortcut to making you huge.
Are protein powders healthy?
Depends on the brand you get.
Whey protein is certainly not the best. It’s been linked to increasing your risk of testicular cancer.
It also has a ton of additives and crap to make it taste good. Stay away.
Many protein powders are filled with artificial flavoring and unhealthy shit, so it’s really important you read the label before purchasing one.
When you read the label make sure you pick a powder that has a lot of organic whole based foods such as flax seed sprout, buckwheat sprout, garbanzo bean sprout, brown rice, etc.
The more ingredients on there with names that are hard to pronounce, you should probably stay away from.
What are the best protein powders?
The best protein powder you can get is a blend of pea, rice, and hemp protein.
All of which are fantastic sources of protein and the combination will give you an amazing amino acid profile.
My top 3 powders I can recommend to you are:
Orgain and Garden of Life are cheap and the best bang for your buck.
They’ll get the job done no problem. Throw it in a blender with a banana, peanut butter, soy milk, or your favorite ingredients, and you’ll have a solid shake.
They aren’t the most fantastic tasting but still not horrible either.
VivoLife is the champagne of plant based protein powders. They have some of the most unbelievable flavors that everyone keeps raving about!
They are on the expensive side but you won’t be disappointed.
Cheers! Now get out there and go build some muscle!