Why Is Protein Supplementation So Important?Sep 08, 2022
When we first meet our clients, the usual conversation we have surrounds pain and injury. As PT’s, we are honored to be able to work with people to help them heal their injuries. Once healed, we are also honored to be able to work with these same athletes to take them to the next level in their training. From Clinical Strength Training classes to form-checks to strength training sessions, we offer so much more than a standard PT clinic!
When we are working with these clients on performance and high-level training, questions routinely come up.
The most common questions I get regularly are about protein and they are:
“Should I take protein?”
“How much protein should I take?”
“What kind is best?”
Let's go through these questions one by one.
“Should I take protein?” Great question! What is your intent?
Typically we see two different motivations for this question:
- Clients want to gain muscle and have heard it helps but are unsure if its just ‘bro-science’
- Clients are looking to start nutrient supplementation
If you are an active human (most of our clients and most likely the person reading this), the answer is an absolute and definitive YES!
Here’s an exhaustive list of all the well studied benefits of whey protein supplementation:
- Decreased body fat
- Increased lean mass
- Increased strength
- Decreased hunger levels
- Increased metabolism
- Increased muscle protein synthesis
- Decreased triglycerides
- Decreased LDL levels
The only risks are if you have current or previous kidney or liver damage. If so, consult your physician prior to doing any supplementation.
“How much protein should I take?” Great! Now you want to supplement protein. How much?
A general rule that has been well verified in research is that between 0.5-1g per pound of bodyweight per day is appropriate for active individuals.
The more active and intense you are, the more likely you’ll want a higher amount of protein per day (more towards 1g/day).
My advice? Ignore the specific grams of protein when starting.
Unless you’re a bodybuilder or really enjoy the details, don’t count your grams of protein.
Start simple by having one or two scoops of protein twice every day.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT SPECIFICS WHEN STARTING. Just find small successes, then build off of those.
If you can start with a simple habit, and are finding success by doing that habit for at least a month, you can start getting curious about specific grams of protein you are intaking per day.
“What kind is best?" The most well-researched and most value-conscious (in general) as compared to meats, tofu, and beans, is whey protein.
There’s a TON of different types.
Don’t worry about that.
Simply pick one that says “whey protein” and start taking it as I described above (1-2 scoops two times per day).
If you are able to finish the first container... success! You’ve begun this journey of a thousand miles! You can build off this first step and now start looking for more specifics!
I would then look for whey proteins with low cholesterol, relatively low-calorie, and between 23-30g of protein per scoop.
My favorite is Optimum Protein (it's a big black and red bag in Costco) but there’s DOZENS of other great proteins that are cost-conscious and value-conscious.
Hopefully this has been enough to get you started with protein supplementation.
Marcus Rein, PT, DPT
Let us help you figure out to live your best active life today!
Remember, Movement is Medicine!