One of the most common questions I get asked is “which protein powder is best for me”? This is an almost impossible question to answer without considering a few deciding factors.
• What are your goals? Do you want to gain size or lose fat?
• When will you be using the shake? Post workout? Before bed?
• What nutrients are you lacking from your diet? Do you need more carbs?
• Is price a factor?
Once these factors have been considered we can start looking at which protein will best suit your needs. Lets look at the deciding factors a bit more closely to help you narrow down your search.
What are your goals?
This is the first thing you need to consider. When looking for a protein you need to look at your diet. If you are mass building you will most likely be on a high carb/calorie diet so will need a shake containing high carbs and calories to best supplement this diet. If you are trying to lose fat then you will need to look at a low carb alternative. A low carb shake can be used for mass gaining if you are getting plenty of carbs from your food.
When will you be using the shake?
This is another important factor as there are different types of protein that are utilised at different rates in your body. Some proteins are very fast acting (whey isolate), and some are very slow acting (casein). If for example you only use your shake post training you should go with a fast acting protein like whey isolate, as you need protein as fast as possible in your system post-training. If on the other hand you need a shake for bedtime you should opt for a slow release like a casein product. There are products that mix the 2 called “blends”. These contain both fast and slow acting proteins and are more versatile.
What nutrients are you lacking from your diet?
Supplements at the end of the day are there to help you to fulfil your dietary requirements to achieve your goal. In order to grow you need a certain amount of proteins, carbs, fats etc. if you are not getting enough of any of these from your diet then you will not achieve your goals. This is where supplements come in. if you are lacking protein but getting enough carbs and fats then a low carb whey protein shake will supplement your diet perfectly. For muscle growth you need 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight. The question “how many shakes should I have per day?” can be answered by looking at how much protein you should be having, and then making up the difference with shakes from the amount you get from food. If you are trying to gain size but you are not getting enough protein, carbs or fats then a weight gainer shake containing all 3 would be the option for you. Supplementing these into your diet will give you the added nutrients you need to grow.
Is price a factor?
The last thing you need to worry about is cost. If this is a limiting factor then don’t worry. Low price does not always mean poor quality. Brands such as PhD, Reflex, and Nutrisport offer great value products without ever compromising on quality.
So use this guide to help you make the correct choice in protein supplement and find the one that will help YOU to achieve the goals you have set.
Here are my top picks for protein powders in each category:
Low carb proteins:
• PhD – pharma whey
• Reflex – instant whey
• Optimum Nutrition – Gold standard whey
• CNP – Pro mass
• PhD – pharma gain
• Applied nutrition – Critical mass
Fast acting proteins:
• Dymatize – iso 100
• Peak body – whey isolate
• Optimum nutrition – platinum hydrowhey
Slow acting proteins and blends:
• Reflex – micellar casein
• PhD – pharma blend
• USN – pure protein IGF