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Simplifying The Protein Puzzle

As a national level figure competitor, I spend many hours per week in the gym training and preparing for my competitions. I am always stopped and asked many questions with regards to my training and supplementation. One question I am asked frequently has to do with protein powder – I get questions like do you use protein powder, what type is the best, and when can I take my protein shakes. Here are some of the answers to those very questions.

Question:

Do you use protein powder as part of your daily nutritional regimen?

Answer:

Yes, I do use protein powder as part of my daily routine. During the off-season, I usually take a 1/2 scoop with my BCAAs before my morning cardio session. I also have a protein shake post-workout mixed with 8 oz of Gatorade. I want to have my post-workout shake within an hour of training so that I don’t lose out on that anabolic window.


Question:

What type of protein do you use: Soy, whey or casein? There are so many out there!

Answer:

Actually, my favorite protein that I use year-round, even during my contest prep, is MuscleMeds Carnivor Beef Protein Isolate. I use this product because it is the only protein with the technology that is capable of recycling amino acids back into the muscle tissue for increased nitrogen retention and improved muscle growth and performance. Carnivor is a fast digesting protein like whey, so I use it in the morning, before I work out and immediately post-workout with Gatorade so I get amino acids and simple carbs into my body quickly. I also love the taste – my favorite is the Fruit Punch. But the new Chocolate is delicious, too!


Question:

What are the best times to take my protein shakes?

Answer:

I feel the best time is post-workout, but you can have a shake anytime during the day especially if you are always on the go and eating a whole food meal is out of the question. Protein powder is easy to bring along with you and Carnivor mixes easily with water.


Question:

Do you feel whole food is a better way to get your source of protein versus drinking a shake?

Answer:

Whole foods are always ideal because you get other important nutrients that help with growth and recovery, but I find drinking my protein shake immediately following my workouts to not only be beneficial but more convenient. My Carnivor shake is easily digested and broken down, allowing my muscles the necessary proteins, BCAAs and glutamine that is necessary to stimulate muscle growth and improve my recovery.

I hope I have shed some light on some of the questions pertaining to the use of protein powder in your diet. Protein plays a critical role in helping you strive to become a better you both in and out of the gym.