What is Protein Powder and when do I use it?

For those new to bodybuilding, choosing proteins and other supplements can seem daunting as there are just so many products to choose from. Here Scitec Nutrition talk us through the use of protein powder supplements and when to use them.

What is Protein?

Protein is a macronutrient which is one of the building blocks of body tissue and is especially adept at building muscle mass. For this reason, it is widely used in fitness and bodybuilding circles to promote the growth of muscles, aid recovery, and provide fuel and energy for workouts.

Protein supplements are predominantly made from whey, a by-product of the dairy industry, however there are a range of plant based protein supplements on the market for those who eat plant based diets or are intolerant to dairy.

These supplements provide the user with a boost of protein without the added consumption of carbohydrates and fats in food. They are easy to prepare and are usually in the form of a drink, so it is easily digestible. Taking protein powders after your workout can improve muscle growth and aid recovery as well as providing the body with essential amino acids.

Do you really need protein powder?

For those who are new to fitness or bodybuilding, it is important to review your diet to begin with before introducing supplements. You should also consider what your goals are because the types of supplements you use may differ depending on your goal.

If you are looking to build muscle, fuel yourself through your workouts and recover faster, then protein powers are a good supplement to use. Also if you do not get a lot of protein in your diet then protein powders may be a good option to take to supplement this.

For those who are wanting to lose weight, adding more protein to your diet may not be the way to go, however taking protein powder in between meals has been shown to curb hunger. The key is to evaluate and modify your existing diet to fit in with what you want to achieve and to add supplements for the things that you are lacking in your base diet or need more of.

Optimal time to take protein supplements

The time you take your protein supplements depends on your fitness goals. For those who want to lose weight, consuming protein powder in between meals as a snack can curb hunger and can lead to eating fewer calories during meals.

Those who are building muscle should aim to consume protein within 2 hours after their workout to get the most nutrients from the protein and to aid recovery. Studies have also shown that taking protein powder before bed is effective in promoting muscle growth as the body is in a rested state, meaning that all of the nutrients are being used for growth and recovery instead of being used for energy.

Whenever you choose to take your protein, it is important that it works for you and fits into your lifestyle.

For those who want to know more about sport nutrition and the optimal time to take protein, Scitec Nutrition has created a handy guide on when to take protein powders and what other supplements can help you reach your goals.