Nowadays a gym workout is not enough, you may need to supplement the gym with a protein supplement to look after your body, aid muscle repair, get stronger or what supplements are normally used for – to bulk up.
No matter what the reason is protein is an integral part of your workout and with a variety of proteins available in the market – you need to make an informed choice of what would be right for you.
So, we have put together a list of supplements which will aid you in the decision you make.
When to take it:
After a workout. If possible, drink a protein shake as soon as your final rep is completed. However, the golden period of time is thought to be the 15-minute window after exercising.
Whey is by far the most popular protein shake. It is a fast release protein ie it gets quickly digested and reaches your muscles faster. It is great for replenishing your muscles after training and leading to bigger and stronger muscles. It also has a higher concentration of essential amino acids than whole milk, which can help to minimise muscle protein breakdown immediately after exercise.
Top tip: What you consume after training is one of the most important meals you eat, so make sure you buy a high-quality product with all 20 essential amino acids, added vitamins, and barely any sweeteners.
When to take:
Before bed or first thing in the morning. Have it in a shake with water before turning in for the night. Alternatively, have one in the morning – not as a breakfast replacement though, you still need the nutrients provided by real food.
Made up of 80 per cent cow’s milk, Casein is found in dairy products. Unlike Whey it is a slow release protein, which means it has larger molecules that take longer to digest. Which is why it is unsuitable for after a workout but excellent if you want to finish with your protein dose first thing in the morning. Having casein before bed helps your body continue to repair and grow muscles while you sleep, which sounds so good it’s almost like cheating. Alternatively, knocking back a casein shake first thing in the morning means your body gets a steady supply of protein throughout the day.
Top tip: Drink a glass of casein-rich milk right before bed and it will work wonders.
When to take it:
Throughout the day. You could have one morning shake and one post-workout shake.
Are you vegan or vegetarian and not able to get enough protein in your daily diet? Not to worry. Plant-based protein powders are available in various shops in London. Unlike Whey or Casein they don’t have a smooth texture, which makes it a bit putting off but add it to pancake batter or a smoothie and you won’t even figure the difference.
Top tip: Try adding it into baked goods such as cookies or mixing it with your pudding after an evening meal.
The Ultimate Protein Shake Recipe
Breakfast peanut butter and blueberry protein shake
- 100g oats
- 1tbsp peanut butter
- 150g blueberries
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
- 2tbsp low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 100ml skimmed milk
- 1tbsp flaxseeds
- Blend the ingredients together in a blender.
- Pour it into a tall glass.
- Drink away for healthy muscles.
If you are one of those who like to go the natural way, here are some food sources that will enrich your meal with proteins.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a wholegrain that is a good source of protein (13%) and is rich in fibre, too.
Avocado: Avocado is 2% complete protein and it also contains fibre, which aids healthy digestion.
Peas: Containing 5% of proteins – fresh or frozen peas are rich in fibre, Vitamin K and minerals as well as Vitamin C.
Chick peas: Low in fat and yet high in protein, chick peas are a great addition to the diet. They are inexpensive, too, so make a nutritious low-cost alternative to poultry and meat and have 23% protein.
Miso soup: Made from fermented soya beans, miso soup is a traditional Japanese food which has 12% proteins.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is 28% protein, and contains monounsaturated fats which can offer some degree of protection against cardiovascular disease.
Coconut (milk and fresh): Coconut is a complete protein but is also rich in fibre.
Brown rice is a wholegrain that is rich in minerals as well as a high-fibre food which gives it a low score on the glycaemic index.
It contains around 2.5 per cent protein. Not complete, so combine brown rice with other incomplete proteins to offer all the essential amino acids.
Beetroot: It is a complete protein and so useful to add to other protein foods. Six small beets equals 3% of protein
Oats : These are just under 3% protein.