So, you just started going to the gym and lifting weights… awesome.
That means you gotta go buy some protein powder, right?
Um… that’s debatable.
In this quick guide, let’s cover what’s whey protein and whether you actually need it to make gains.
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What’s Whey Protein?
Whey is a byproduct of cheese or casein and is produced when milk has been curdled or strained.
My wife actually comes from a very Italian family, and one of their favorite dishes, Ricotta Pie, uses ricotta cheese which uses whey.
Whey protein, just like any other protein, has a certain amino acid profile that says how “pure” the source is.
Honestly, whey protein is simply a protein source with a little bit of fat and carbs mixed in and it’s considered a “fast protein source” because it’s digested in about an hour.
There’s also casein protein which comes directly from the milk curds and there’s still a lot of research being done to determine which kind is more effective at repairing and building muscle.
However, in most cases, it’s best to just pick one with decent protein amounts and actually tastes good.
Do You Need Protein Powder to Build Muscle?
If you don’t know, you do need PROTEIN to build muscle and there’s a certain protein intake for bodybuilding, powerlifting, or whatever goal you have.
Now, this doesn’t speak specifically to protein in powder form because…
…for a noob in most cases, it doesn’t really matter what the source is.
You can choose to eat or drink your protein… it’s up to you.
However, if I have the choice, I like to EAT my protein sources so I don’t feel so hungry later.
And even if you approach this question from a “money” perspective, powders can be expensive and don’t always fit into a cheap high protein diet.
Since we’re on the subject of protein powder this raises another question…
Do You need ANY Supplements to Build Muscle?
The short answer is no, there aren’t any essential supplements for building muscle.
The most important factors that will determine if you’re going to build muscle or not are your macronutrients.
If you can hit your proteins, fats, and carbs then you’re good to go.
And if you’re willing to adjust your diet so that it all comes from your food, then there’s no reason to use supplements.
Yea, there’s also evidence that taking fish oil and things like that are good for your health and joints, but that’s outside this discussion.
However, if you do want an extra edge, there’s evidence that taking creatine will improve muscle performance and add more muscle over time.
That being said, you can still take the “no supplement” bodybuilding route and still make progress.
If You Know What’s Whey Protein… Should You Use It?
This may come as a shock to you, but you don’t have to automatically start drinking whey protein shakes just because you’re trying to build muscle.
Remember, whey protein is just another protein source.
Your first goal is to get all your protein requirements from food.
Eat your chicken breasts, steaks, and eggs.
If you’re still having a hard time doing this, then think about turning to the powders.
This is the protein powder I personally use if I’m traveling or on vacation and I know I’m not going to be able to get all my protein requirements in.
If you’re someone with a ravenous appetite like me, automatically putting protein powder into your routine could mean the difference between a satisfying meal and feeling completely starving all the time.
In the beginning, eating more wholesome choices like meat and vegetables might make you feel really full, but eventually, you’ll wish you could eat more.
Do You Need Whey Protein Powder?
You gotta figure this out for yourself.
Just to recap on what’s whey protein… it’s just another way (no pun intended) to get all the protein you need to build muscle.
I would say in most cases, you DON’T need protein powders, but when you’re on vacation and it’s hard to get your hands on some lean chicken, a quick shake or two really comes in handy.
So, what do you think?
Leave a comment and give me your opinion on whey protein or any other powder.
To your gains,