Protein Powders--Get Started with the Right One for You

  2017-08-15 07:40AM
You dont even have to make it through the doors of your CrossFit box--or any gym-- to hear someone discussing protein. Somewhere along the way, everyone and their brother started adding a protein shake into their day, as everyday people became more focused on fitness and well-being, recreational athletes became more aware of their diet and performance, and supplementation was no longer just for elite athletes. Along the way, the choices went from a few tubs of powder at your local GNC, to a dizzying array of powders, drinks, bars and liquids lining every retailers shelves, from Walmart to the health food store, and every online retailer in between. Your own Box may sell or have a preferred brand. This isnt a bad thing, but it can be a confusing one. Whats a CrossFitter to do? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, power athletes need 1.2-1.7 grams/kilogram of protein per day to support muscle repair and growth, with increased needs when an athlete is building muscle, amping up a workout or recovering from an injury. While whole foods are the best source of any nutrient we need in our bodies, the reality is that sometimes we need something extra-as well as quick and portable. Protein powders are easy to mix up anywhere, and readily available. Theres something for everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences or restrictions. Heres a round-up of the basics sources of protein you will likely have to choose from. Whey Protein Whey protein is the most common and most used protein powder available. Whey is a complete protein derived from milk, and is considered to be digested easily and rapidly. It contains a high portion of branched-chain amino acids which are the most abundant amino acids in muscle tissue and critical for muscle building. Whey is ideal for consumption within 60 minutes post workout. It is also one of the less expensive protein powders available. If you tolerate dairy and have no issues using animal byproducts, whey may be the right choice for you, or at least a good place to start. Casein Protein Casein protein isnt as common a phrase as whey protein, however it is often recommended that whey and casein be used in tandem because they compliment each other. While whey is faster absorbing, casein digests slowly in the stomach which allows for a more sustained level of amino acids in the blood. This is why casein protein may be easier to digest, as well as more ideal as a meal replacement. Casein is a good choice for you if you are looking for a slow-acting protein and again, dont mind using animal byproducts. Look for calcium caseinate to ensure you are getting the purest form. Egg White Protein This often overlooked source has about 25 g of protein per 30 g serving, making it very similar to whey and casein. It digests at a moderate speed, putting it in the middle of the above mentioned two. Soy Protein Derived from soybeans, soy protein is plant- rather than animal-based, making it an option for vegetarians or those who are lactose-intolerant. There is some debate over the excessive processing that soy protein undergoes, and when over-consumed may cause concern for potential breast cancer in women with a history of estrogen receptor positive cancers. If you choose to use soy protein, do so in moderation and look for soy protein isolate. It contains more protein, isoflavones and has less cholesterol and fat when compared to soy protein concentrate. Brown Rice, Pea and Hemp are also all great options for plant-based proteins. They have all been known to fight inflammation and reduce muscle soreness which makes them a great choice for CrossFit athletes who again, may have intolerance to lactose or follow a vegetarian diet. Hemp boasts a high content of Omega 3 and fiber though can be expensive. Pea is high in BCAAs. Brown rice is best in a blend with other plant sources. Try not to get too overwhelmed when shopping for your protein supplement. Look for brands that offer single serve packets so you can sample it before investing in a months worth. Read the labels to ensure you are getting the right amounts of the good stuff from responsible sources, and not a lot of fillers such as added sugars. It is worth mentioning to do your research on the companies you buy from--not all hold themselves to the same standards (that is another topic in and of itself) and if youre putting it in your body, you want to really know where it is coming from. Once you find a legit product that tastes good, mixes well and reacts well with your body, just sit back and enjoy.


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