Should you/Do you need to take Protein Powder?
The #1 mistake (aside from overeating, obviously) that people are making with their nutrition is definitely a lack of PROTEIN. A lot of people, no matter how much I or the fitness industry emphasizes to them, just do not get enough protein. And when I say don’t get enough, I mean NOT EVEN CLOSE. When I have my clients keep food logs a lot of them are not even getting HALF of the recommended protein intake needed in a normal day. And that’s by my 1 gram per pound of bodyweight protein goal, whereas a lot of trainers and other people in the fitness industry say you should be getting even more. By my own self experimentation, more than 1 gram per pound isn’t going to yield any additional results in terms of muscle gain. But if it helps you keep away from the carbs and fats more than I say go for it.
But back to the main task at hand today. Which is, should you or do you need to take protein powder? My short answer to this is no. No you do not “need” protein powder. However, you do need protein. At minimum you should be getting .7 to .8 grams per pound of bodyweight on a daily basis with the ideal range being 1. If no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to get to that number, then I say grab a scoop of protein powder mixed with water and you’ll be all set.
Do I take protein powder? Very, very, very rarely. I think I’ve had the same 5 pound tub of protein for over a year now and it’s a little less than half full. I revolve almost every single meal I eat around protein and go from there. My strategy is I first decide if I’m in the mood for a specific fish, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or whichever protein based food I can think of, and then think about which specific method of cooking and recipe I’m in the mood for the most. Then I make that or go somewhere and buy it if I don’t feel like cooking. Far too many people revolve their meals around carbs, and those same people tend to always be surprised when no matter how hard they’re working in the gym they aren’t making any progress in their physique, body fat percentage, or weight.
But to be clear, I have done a LOT of experimenting with my body over the years. And when getting all of my protein through actual food, my results have been the same if not better than when I was consuming protein powder to make up for insufficient protein in my diet. Not to mention protein powders have calories and most are expensive, so even if I’m only taking 1 scoop of protein worth 120 calories I’d much prefer to save those calories for food than a powder I merely get to mix in a drink. That’s not enjoyable to me. I’d get much more enjoyment putting an extra piece of chicken in my recipe, or another few egg whites and pieces of meat in my omlette.
So decide what’s best for you and go from there. If you simply can’t eat enough protein, throw a scoop in your water. And if you want to get the most out of that protein, make sure you’re doing the right exercises with enough weight!