The question “what protein should I get?” is one I hear quite often. It’s a totally understandable question when you realize just how many different types and brands of protein powder are actually out there! The staggering numbers involved in picking a protein powder is also the reason it’s so difficult to recommend any one particular protein powder, so this post will be your guide to figuring out what would be best for you.
There are some key questions you’ll want to ask yourself as you get ready to pick a protein such as:
- What are your dietary restrictions?
- What do you need the powder for?
- Are there any specific flavors you want to avoid or specifically target?
Let’s go through them one by one and talk about how the answers to those questions could affect your choice of protein powder.
What are your dietary restrictions?
This one is pretty simple, what can you and can’t you eat? If you’re vegetarian, you’ll need to look into a plan-based protein to meed your supplement needs. This includes (but isn’t limited to) hemp, yellow pea, brown rice and peanut protein. You might also be able to make use of whey protein or egg protein depending on the type of vegetarian you are. If you’re lactose intolerant, just about any protein that isn’t made from whey like plant based protein and egg based protein. There is also the option of beef protein if you’re worried about it being a complete protein source. Basically, take stock of the things you can and can’t eat and use any information you come up with to help whittle down the options since there’s no point in buying a protein powder made with things you can’t even eat!
What do you need the powder for?
Some people have a body type that keeps them from being able to put on size and weight. Most of us call them “lucky” despite the fact that they think we’re the “lucky” ones. Regardless, not everyone needs the lowest calorie count possible in their protein powder. Some people might also be looking for something that is more of a meal replacement than just a straight protein powder but not for mass gaining purposes. Each of these examples has a different product they’d want to investigate in order to find something that works best for them. There are mass gainers which are focused on hitting hard with large amounts of protein and high calorie counts, meal replacements that contain a complete spectrum of micro (vitamins and minerals) and macro (fats, carbs, and protein) nutrients and the more standard protein powders that are basically just protein with flavor to make it go down smooth.
What flavors do you like/hate?
I. Hate. Berry. Favored. Anything. I’m not talking the specific blueberry or strawberry-type flavors, (though they aren’t immune to flavor issues) I’m talking about the nondescript “berry” flavor. I abhor it and it is so much worse than you could imagine in the protein world. As a result, berry flavored anything gets an instant “PASS!” from me when I’m trying to decide what to buy. If that’s the only flavor the company will mess with in their products, that entire company gets passed over like a Jewish holiday. On the other hand, everything chocolate gets an instant +1 – +5 if it’s something like double chocolate fudge. You likely have similar loves and hates and this is something to consider when choosing a protein. Not every company has the same offering of flavors and even among the ones that do have the same offerings, their individual takes on chocolate, vanilla, chocolate peanut butter and the like won’t taste the same from one brand to the next. They all do it their own way so you’ll want to try a few out to see which ones taste the best to you. After all, getting your protein in after a workout shouldn’t be a chore…you just worked out, that’s enough struggle for you for the day, am I right?
Once you take all of these into consideration you’ll find it’s much easier to choose what you want and need to help you reach your fitness goals. Educating yourself about the product as well as yourself is an amazing first step towards changing your life and really getting a handle on your fitness, and nobody should have a better handle on your fitness than you. Sure, you can leave the details to a trainer, but you should know you best, and if you don’t, it’s never too late to learn!
So what factors do you consider when you go looking for a protein powder? Let us know in the comments below and as always, stay fit and have fun!