Guys, I did a thing… I bought protein powder. If you know me, you know that’s a new, big deal. For years I’ve felt like I can recover just fine with real food. And I still think that is mostly true, but I’m ready to experiment. Specifically, I want to know if protein powder has a positive/significant impact on my recovery. People choose to use protein powders for a variety of reasons, some legit and others maybe not so much. In my opinion, protein powders have their place but they are not necessary for optimal health, performance or muscle growth. You can get plenty of protein from a balanced diet with real food. Here are a handful of reasons why you may consider using protein powder:
- You don’t have an appetite immediately following exercise and can’t stomach the idea of eating but you’re down to chug down a protein shake.
- You’re busy or on the go and don’t have access to real food post-exercise.
- Someone on the internet said you should.
- You’ve been doing it so long you can’t remember why you considered it in the first place.
- Or, like me, you just want to experiment and see how it impacts your body, performance and recovery.
- They can be very processed. Don’t choose a protein powder by the front label. The front is going to use as many buzzwords (natural, organic, protein, etc) as possible to catch your attention. Don’t stop there - check the ingredient list and choose a product with very few and mostly recognizable ingredients.
- They often tout false claims. Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA so there’s not always a big brother making them back up their claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- When consumed alone, they don’t provide all you need post-workout. Specifically, they most often lack carbohydrates, an essential nutrient after a workout. When using protein powder post-WOD, mix with a carb-containing drink (milk, juice, coconut water) or have some fruit or dried fruit with it.
- Your day to day nutrition still matters. You can’t out-exercise or out-supplement a poor diet. Sorry I’m not sorry.