Vital for growth and recovery, knowing the ins and outs can boost your training and performance.
It may seem like there are too many supplements to consider when looking to boost our overall health and performance. Everything from pre-workouts, to multivitamins, fat burners, testosterone boosters, omega-3s. and more, the options are endless and the search can be tiresome.
But out of all these supplements, one stands out as being the most essential, at least in our opinion, for it provides benefits not only to your health and wellness, but also your training and performance. A protein supplement has the ability to transform your gains, improve recovery, and make you feel accomplished after leaving the gym.
Now, there are ungodly amounts of protein powders and other forms on the market. Some come from reputable brands while others are of more poor quality, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune for a good quality protein supplement. We know most of you know what a protein supplement is, but for those who don’t, this complete guide can be very helpful. And if you do already know, maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t.
This complete guide will give you everything you need to know about protein supplements so you can get this handled right away. From what they are, to the mighty benefits, key ingredients, and its effectiveness, you won’t be disappointed when you invest in a great protein supplement for yourself.
What Is A Protein Supplement?
A protein supplement is typically a powder used post-workout to help with muscle protein synthesis and recovery. It is also used as a dietary supplement to add more protein into one’s diet if they are lacking. Since protein itself can help keep you full, this is used as a meal replacement at times for those on the go who need a healthy and filling snack. Made from all sorts of sources, the benefit of protein powders is that companies have now begun to include more plant-based products so everyone can benefit from a great supplement.
RELATED: Check out our list of the Best Protein Supplements for great protein products!
Benefits Of Protein Supplements
Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits that protein supplements can provide.
Increase Muscle Growth
Protein is the building block of all muscle and amino acids are what makes this important. There are nine essential amino acids (EAAs) that are important to focus on and of those nine, there are three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that are vital as well. What protein supplements do is they stimulate the process of muscle protein synthesis to really work to build that desired muscle. Along with strength training and a good diet, this is very much possible (1).
Aid In Recovery
We all know how it feels after a grueling day in the gym. Protein is essential when it comes to repairing damaged muscles and tissues and working on speeding up the recovery process so we bounce back faster for the next workout. When taking these supplements right after exercise, it can help reduce that muscle damage and soreness that you just don’t want and will also work with muscle protein synthesis to build that muscle faster for less inflammation (2).
Promote Fullness & Help With Weight Management
Protein is essential in working to keep you more full and for longer, making protein essential either as a meal or a supplement. When it comes to weight loss and weight management, protein is vital for this reason. It works to eliminate snacking and keep you full longer so you can work to stay on a good dietary schedule for yourself (3).
Convenient On-The-Go Meal Option
For those with busy schedules, finding the time to properly care for yourself with a good diet can be difficult. Protein supplements are good on-the-go options for they can be mixed with milk or water and can work to effectively offer a decent meal alternative if need be.
Different Sources Of Protein
With these supplements being produced from many different sources, the options for those on a plant-based diet are still great and can offer the same benefits as those looking more for whey protein.
- Whey Isolate: A more filtered form of whey protein, what you’ll find is a higher percentage of protein and little to no fats or carbs. This is a great protein source for those looking to cut or get lean since it is mostly protein (4).
- Whey Concentrate: Great for those looking to bulk, you get a healthy dose of carbs, fats, and plenty of protein to pack you with all three macros. It will provide similar benefits to whey isolate.
- Brown Rice Protein: With a high amount of BCAAs present, brown rice protein is a great plant-based source to provide for all the benefits of a whey protein minus the dairy. With no irritants, you know you are getting a high quality protein.
- Pea: Typically extracted from yellow pea, pea protein can be used as another great alternative for plant-based proteins. It also contains all nine EAAs that your body can’t create on it own (5).
Safety & Effectiveness
Protein supplements are incredibly effective supplements and should be considered by all when looking to boost their training and performance, as well as overall health and wellness. They are on the whole very safe, but it is always important to look into your supplements and to read the labels to see what added ingredients may be included that could harm a great product. For optimal effectiveness, look to take a protein supplement within an hour after you’re done working out.
Featured Protein Supplement For Gains
Finding the best protein supplement can be challenging but it is possible to find a great one. We wanted to share our top pick to make your decision just that much easier.
Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate boasts an impressive array of eco-friendly accomplishments. It’s organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free. There are no artificial sweeteners, which is a rarity in a world full of whey protein powder, which are almost always filled with chemical flavorings to disguise the chalkiness of protein. Packed with protein, and a clean source of it at that, this gives you 28g of protein with just 120 calories for the best gains.
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free, boasting a great formula for a top protein powder. With nothing artificial added, this is a clean protein that is easier on your stomach.
Check out our list of the Best Protein Supplements for great protein products!
Protein supplements are vital for helping improve our training and performance, increase muscle growth, aid in recovery, promote better weight management, and a host of other incredible benefits we cannot let go unrecognized. Finding the right supplement can be a challenge but it is out there. Whether you’re looking for something more plant-based or are comfortable with whey protein, the options are endless and you won’t be disappointed with the results. Look into a great protein supplement today and really see what these can do for all areas of a healthy lifestyle.
Generation Iron may receive commissions on purchases made through our links. See our disclosure page for more information.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Pasiakos, Stefan M.; McLellan, Tom M.; Lieberman, Harris R. (2015). “The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review”. (source)
- Pasiakos, Stefan M.; Lieberman, Harris R.; McLellan, Tom M. (2014), “Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review”. (source)
- Paddon-Jones, Douglas; Westman, Eric; Mattes, Richard D.; Wolfe, Robert R.; et al. (2008). “Protein, weight management, and satiety”. (source)
- Pal, Sebely; Ellis, Vanessa; Dhaliwal, Satvinder (2010). “Effects of whey protein isolate on body composition, lipids, insulin and glucose in overweight and obese individuals”. (source)
- Babault, Nicolas; Paizis, Christos; Deley, Gaelle; Guerin-Deremaux, Laetitia; et al. (2015). “Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein”. (source)