A question I often get asked is “Should I be drinking a protein shake or taking some kind of protein/amino acids supplement?” You already know my answer. “It depends.” How many meals and snacks are you eating each day? Do you have a balanced diet? Are you a vegetarian? What are your health and fitness goals? How often, how intense and how long are your workouts? You’ve heard this routine of mine before.
Over the years I have seen all sorts of formulas to help people calculate how much protein they need. Anywhere from 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight to over 1 gram per pound of weight. That’s a huge difference. Often these calculations are purely arbitrary. Having done extensive reading and research over my 22 years of personal training, I’ve learned that the average person doesn’t require nearly as much protein as the elite athlete. Someone who is constantly breaking down muscle tissue and needs to repair, recover, grow, prevent/reduce injury and improve his/her performance. That’s an entirely different thing all together. Just remember, though, that protein is just one part of your dietary equation. That’s why it is key for you to keep a journal of your food intake and workouts. The tendency is to focus on the workouts, specific routines, amounts of weights, etc. When in fact, that should be secondary to a diet that complements your exercise program and will lead you to your health and fitness goal(s).
So why do I have a couple pics of a tub of protein powder? To promote it? Partially. To educate you? Yes, that too. It started when I ran into a former client a couple weeks ago. Rob is a 40-ish year old bodybuilder, who is in incredible shape and trains like an absolute beast. I always appreciate his open mindedness and his eagerness to learn. When we chatted I asked about his supplement routine. Among other things, he said he was enjoying Elevation Protein Powder that he bought from Aldi grocery store. Just $15.99 for a 2-pound container, he felt that it’s an excellent value. Compared to other whey protein powders that have a laundry list of extra ingredients, this is made of a protein blend (whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate), cocoa powder, maltodextrin, flavoring, soy lecithin, cellulose gum, acesulfame potassium and sucralose. It also is a good source of potassium and calcium. Best of all, he said that he had no gastrointestinal issues with it. And let me tell you, that is a total plus. Over the years, I have tried many supplements: protein powders, shakes, pills, meal replacement shakes, pre and post workout powders, etc. Many of them would rip my insides apart. So even if they were helpful, they would make me sleep on the couch if you get my drift.
Later that week I picked up a container of the chocolate protein powder. It mixes about the same as other powders. A little gritty and chunky even if you use a shaker cup. I suggest adding it to a smoothie or blending into a shake. After drinking the shake, did I feel a surge of power like when Popeye eats his spinach? Nope. This is not a pre-workout drink loaded with caffeine and other stimulants. I felt satisfied and knew that I was doing something good for myself. And that goes a long way. At 30 grams of protein per serving, it’s a good value. For me it’s an excellent accountability and motivation tool. . . and I get my chocolate fix. Like buying a new pair of athletic shoes or purchasing personal training sessions or picking up a healthy recipe book, they all encourage you to make healthy choices. Each time you look at your shoes, you’ll think of exercising and doing something good for yourself. When you see your PT appointments in the calendar you’ll be motivated to stay on track between workouts. That healthy cookbook sitting on your kitchen counter is begging you to open it and try a new delicious recipe. I’ll continue to supplement with this protein powder on the days I workout and let you know how everything goes.