Choosing the perfect protein can be overwhelming, with so many choices, where do you start? Not all protein supplements are made equal. Depending on your overall goal, one protein may be better suited to you over another. What to do when there is so much variety on offer?
When looking to purchase your first protein, use this guide to get the know-how so that you can make the most of your fitness journey!
Most Popular: Whey Protein Blends
Many proteins you see on the market will be a mixture of different types of milk-based proteins designed to be multi-purpose and digest at a medium rate. This means that you can have them any time of the day, whether it's for breakfast, post-workout, or even an evening snack. These whey protein blends are perfect for you if you like a medium texture and looking for something that can keep you going for longer (compared to the whey protein isolates below). They also make a great addition to your healthy recipes!
Unless you're intolerant or sensitive to dairy (or a vegan), whey protein blends are considered to be some of the best, because they have all the required amino acids for your body's muscle recovery and repair. These whey protein blends contain at least two different protein types - with whey protein concentrate as the main feature.
Great for Post-Workout: Whey Protein Isolate (WPI)
If you're looking for an easy to digest, fast-acting protein, a WPI is your best bet! Because it digests so quickly, it makes a perfect post-workout shake, so you get the necessary amino acids straight into the muscles. Why is it faster acting than other proteins? This is due to the way it's processed. A WPI goes through double microfiltration, which leaves it with very little fat and carbohydrates, and almost all protein. It is a lot thinner consistency than the other proteins, which makes it super easy to drink.
When whey protein blends give your tummy trouble, but you still want the benefits of a milk-based protein, look to a WPI. The double microfiltration process means it'll be kinder to your belly, and won't sit in your gut as long as other proteins. It's also an excellent choice when dieting, given it's the 'leanest' and most macro-friendly protein!
If You're Trying to Gain Weight: Weight Gainer Protein
When looking to add size to your frame, you need to make sure you have enough calories and protein in your diet. If you have a fast metabolism, this can be incredibly challenging. If you feel like you can eat whatever you like and never seem to gain weight, then a mass gainer is perfect for you. A weight gainer protein mainly consists of quality protein and fast-acting carbohydrates, to give your body the fuel, calories and macronutrients needed to grow lean muscle. Using a weight gainer can also save you some money as you don't need to buy your protein and carbohydrates separately. It is also a super convenient solution for when you have a busy lifestyle and can't afford to prep, sit down and eat meals every couple of hours.
For Healthy Weight Management: 'Weight Loss' Protein
Wanting to improve your body composition? Protein is a crucial factor that will enable you to spare muscle while you're dieting. Having a decent amount of muscle means that you will achieve a 'toned' rather than merely 'skinny' look as you lose weight. This is why having a protein suited to your goals is a helpful tool, especially when you can't get enough protein from other dietary sources in your day. 'Weight loss' proteins are made up of a protein blend with added ingredients that support your healthy metabolism.
When you're chasing your body goals, it's also important to manage your cravings throughout the day. Having a delicious and satisfying protein powder is a great way to stave off naughty cravings, with protein powders containing very low sugar and often sweetened with low-calorie alternatives.
If You're Vegan or Avoiding Dairy: Plant-Based Protein
Plant-based proteins are now one of the most popular on the market! With the addition of many brands and new forms of plant-based protein, you'll find they have come a long way in terms of taste and texture. If you're worried about lacking an optimal amino acid profile, don't be, as most plant-based proteins contain more than just one source. The majority of vegan-friendly proteins you'll see on the market have pea and rice protein as the main base. However, you'll now see the addition of nourishing proteins such as hemp, sacha inchi, fava bean and ancient grains.
If you're adopting a plant-based lifestyle, or don't want dairy in your diet, then a plant-based protein is your go-to. Vegan-friendly proteins often also contain added plant extracts that are health-promoting, such as super greens! Furthermore, they have higher fibre content than other proteins to keep you fuller for longer and assist you in maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
Don't let the idea of choosing a new protein overwhelm you. By using this simple guide to the most popular proteins, you're already well on your way to achieving your desired body composition. Most importantly, choose a protein that tastes great and you'll find you look forward to it every day. When used in conjunction with your healthy eating regime and training program, your favourite protein will be your best friend in reaching your body goals!