There is no single correct way to use protein powder. You must learn how to use protein powder according to your health and fitness goals.
Are you a skinny guy who wants to pump up the muscle? Are you an overweight woman who wants to be sleek and slim for summer bikini season? Are you interested in soothing and healing your muscles after intense weightlifting workouts?
Whatever your goals are right now, there is a protein powder for you.
Protein Shakes for Muscle Gains and Recovery
Increased protein intake is essential if you are trying to build muscle. You put immense stress on your muscles during intense weightlifting workouts, so protein shakes are used to help your muscles recover from that stress and grow larger. Learning how to use protein powder in this case comes down to the post-workout shake.
Make sure your whey protein powder delivers at least 30 grams of protein when used as a post-workout shake to aid muscle recovery. Keep the amount of protein you want to consume during the day in mind because you may need a protein powder that delivers even more protein than that. You may also want to look for a whey protein that includes a high level of BCAAs.
What if you put your muscles through intense workouts but you are not trying to gain a lot of muscle? You may work hard if you are trying to lose weight or just enjoy challenging your body. Your muscles can suffer damage and fatigue even if you use light weights or do intense cardiovascular workouts.
You can still use a whey protein shake after your workouts to help your muscles recovery, but you may need to choose a protein powder with fewer calories.
It is important to drink your post-workout shake right after your workout. You can shake it up in a blender bottle if you workout away from home and do not have access to a blender.
Weight Loss and Meal Replacement Protein Shakes
There are a few ways to use protein shakes for weight loss:
- Create a meal replacement shake that is rich in protein as well as other nutrients. The overall calorie count must be high enough to sustain your body until your next meal.
- Enjoy a high quality protein shake between meals as a snack. Select a flavor you enjoy so you view the shake as a reward rather than a part of your diet.
- Use one of the best tasting protein powders to kill cravings for unhealthy sweets.
Replacing breakfast with a nutritious protein shake is quite common among those losing weight, as well as those simply trying to remain as healthy as possible. If you are in a rush in the mornings and it is inconvenient to cook a healthy breakfast, you can quickly whip up a protein shake and head out the door.
Many vegetarian protein powder blends contain fiber in addition to protein, so they are good picks for a meal replacement shake.
A meal replacement protein shake should contain more calories than a protein shake used between meals as a snack or as a dessert to reduce sweet cravings. Keep your overall calorie limit for the day in mind when determining which protein powder to use and how many servings of that protein powder to use.
You can double the serving on a low calorie protein powder to increase your protein intake without taking in too many calories. Protein and fiber increases satiety between meals, so these shakes can become powerful tools on your weight loss journey. Now that you know how to use protein powder for weight loss, look at our page on the best protein powder for weight loss.
Weight Gain Protein Shakes
If your goal is to gain weight due to a medical condition or simply because you are tired of being so skinny, it is important to recognize the difference between fat gain and muscle gain. You want to gain weight while gaining muscle so your body is lean and attractive. Your goal should not be to gain a lot of fat because that is unattractive and unhealthy.
There is a classification of protein powder known as “hard gainers.” These protein powders pack a lot of protein into every serving, but they can also have 300 calories or more per serving. They are used by those interested in gaining weight as well as professional bodybuilders who need to consume thousands of calories a day in order to reach their fitness goals.
These protein powders are perfect for those interested in gaining weight, but make sure to look at the ingredients list and research unknown ingredients. Some of these protein powders add creatine and other ingredients commonly used by bodybuilders.
Recommended read: 16 tips on how to use protein powder.