07 Jun Supplements, Shakes, and Bars, Oh My!
Regardless of it being in powder form, a bar, or the old-fashioned meat, eggs, and cheese, we need to be consuming sufficient protein each and every day. Pairing protein with regular exercise is one of the parts of our nutrition coaching program. This helps with both the repair and growth of muscles. It also plays a role in revving fat-burning metabolism and reducing those hunger attacks in-between meals – especially that deadly 3:00 pm hour at the office.
But it’s important to remember that not all powders, supplements and bars are created equal. And choosing which product is best can be as hard as doing Burpees in the gym for three minutes straight.
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!
Protein shakes aren’t just the thing that bodybuilders chug anymore. Now, more than ever, they have been embraced by the mainstream fitness crowd for the positive benefits they offer besides boosting the size of your biceps.
The most beneficial protein shakes are made with Whey Protein. This type of protein shake is an easy way to get you to your daily protein goal. One scoop usually gives you about 24 grams of protein. That seems like a lot, but most people probably need more like 2 scoops to reach the proper amount your body really needs. Whey Protein is extremely anabolic, or good for building muscle, because it’s a particularly rich source of branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs. Whey Protein is one of the cleanest, fastest-digesting proteins on the market. It’s the perfect addition to any fat-loss or muscle-building diet. Whey protein is low-calorie, fast-digesting, and perfect to take immediately after a workout or first thing in the morning.
If you grab the kind often labeled as “Isolate” then you are going to be drinking an even better option. What this means is that it has been filtered to remove fat and carbs. You also have very little lactose in “Isolate” for those that like to avoid dairy.
The brand I tend to recommend to those in our personal training and group personal training programs is the Quest protein powder. These powders are low sugar, low carb, soy free and gluten free. They also come in a variety of great flavors including Cookies & Cream, a Cinnamon Toast Crunch inspired flavor, and Vanilla Milkshake, just to name a few. Orgain Protein is a plant-based protein that I also recommend to those looking for an organic option. Unlike most plant-based protein, this mixes well and doesn’t have a gritty texture.
RAISE THE BAR IN YOUR DIET
Pushing your body through weight training (like what we do at Faster Fitness) creates micro-tears in your muscles. To recover properly you need to fill those tears with protein. If you don’t have time to mix and drink a shake after a workout, an easy way to get your fix while you are on your way to work or to your next engagement is to eat a protein bar in the car. This is will provide your muscles with the building blocks it needs to get you ready for your next fitness class or session at the gym!
Unlike shakes, some protein bars will contain unnecessary sugars, which isn’t always helpful if your goal is to lose weight. However, there are plenty of bars out there that have less than 5 grams of sugars. These days the aisle is packed with a variety of flavored bars that range from Apple Pie flavored or Salted Caramel flavored. Some aren’t quite as tasty as others – no one wants to eat something that tastes like drywall – so you may have to try out which flavor you are most drawn to.
In terms of a recommended bar brand, I’m sticking with Quest again. These bars are packed with quality Whey Protein for building muscle, are gluten free, and aren’t packed with unnecessary sugar and carbs. There are other bars that also include these same benefits, but Quest offers a lot of different options and can be found at most grocery stores.
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR WORKOUT
Vitamins and minerals are essential to any diet, and these days many people are looking to a simple pill to get a quick fix. If your meals consist of fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains and meats, you’re probably getting what you need. But supplements do offer an easy backup plan for those days or weeks where you’re relying more on frozen pizza and fast food. Dietary supplements are wildly popular. In fact, they may be turned to by women to supplement workouts more so than the shakes and bars.
Multivitamins have been around forever, but people are focusing more on specific things now as well. Zinc, Vitamin D, and Fish Oil are some of the most popular ones these days. It seems you can’t find a blog post these days without someone mentioning Fish Oil – I don’t think you need me to go on even more about it. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps boost your immunity, increase strength, and improve cardiovascular health. Supplements can be good too if you are trying to avoid certain foods but still want the good stuff found in them. Take for instance Calcium. You can find supplements that can deliver this to you while not partaking in dairy.
Wellness Greens by Poliquin Group is another one my go-to choices. It is slightly different than protein powder since it’s packed with nutrients and vitamins rather than Whey Protein or other proteins. Wellness Greens are an easy-to-mix, great tasting, nutrient-rich superfood formula with whole food concentrates. It provides a “super blend” of 100% natural fruit and vegetable extracts, vitamins, flax lignans, ionic trace minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and symbiotic intestinal flora. That’s a lot of stuff to take in, but trust me… it’s all good for you.
If you’d rather stock up on the goods at the grocery store, there’s plenty of foods out there that can give you the protein fix you need. Everyone knows milk, eggs, and cheese can give you the goods, but there are plenty of other options out there too, like leaner cuts of steak or skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Not to mention, most of what you find underwater is your friend as well. Yellowfin tuna, octopus, tilapia, halibut, and more, all are high in protein. If meat isn’t for you, Greek yogurt, quinoa, navy beans, peanut butter, and pistachios, all are great for you too!
There is no magic number for the amount of protein you should take in a day. In the end, everyone’s body is different and metabolizes differently. It also depends upon your diet and exercise level. Even though it’s going to be different for everyone, The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
To determine your RDA for protein, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36. It’s ok to pull that calculator out… this isn’t a pop quiz. Now that you figured that out, remember that that number isn’t precise. You still need to take into account if you exercise every day or not at all. Daily activities will affect this number and could increase it or decrease it. Just remember to not forget the exercise part.
You can eat healthy all day, every day, but you also need to keep active. Thankfully we know a thing or two about that. Faster Fitness has a lot to offer, and we pride ourselves in these competitive advantages. From Group Training to Personal Group Training to Nutrition Coaching, we have the experience and the expertise to guide you on your health journey. In a way, you can think of our staff as the ultimate fitness supplement you need in your life.