For any athlete, whether you play a couple of games of volley ball a week or are embarking on a serious workout regime, good nutritional supplements are an essential part of your exercise program. If you’re trying to build muscle mass or simply need extra energy to fuel your body, an ideal way to achieve this is by through the use of protein powder. Extra protein sources are equally important for vegan body-builders and athletes, who may no longer consume the typical sources of protein in an athlete’s diet — chicken, fish and even dairy products.
So how does protein powder help an athlete? Typically, it builds muscle, with an average of 10-15 additional grams of protein required to build a pound of muscle. The required protein intake again varies depending on the type of activity you’re performing — recreational athletes, for instance, will need slightly less than competitive athletes, but generally the body requires 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. 162 grams of protein would be necessary for a typical 180 pound athlete to build more muscle mass.
The powders generally come in three standard forms: whey, casein or soy protein. By far the most common and widely used is whey protein, which is also known as a “complete” protein. These are so because they contain the nine amino acids part of dietary requirements. Whey is water soluble and easy to consume, whereas soy is a little less pleasant to the taste, though it’s generally the form suitable for vegans.
Even within each type of powder, the formula and ingredients can vary widely. Some whey powders are manufactured using sunflower, not soy, lecithin, for a soy-free formulation; others come with no added thickeners or fillers, while others add enzymes specifically to improve the uptake of amino acids in the body and enhance the product’s potency. Different flavored products are also available. Note that protein powder can be used to aid dieting and some are formulated specifically to minimise carbohydrate and fat content.
In some cases, athletes require a steady, more controlled release of energy, and again some powders are specifically engineered to achieve this. Other protein powders are formulated to provide an immediate energy hit when required.
Soy protein is (partly) designed to replace protein eliminated from the diet by vegans or dieters, and contains all-natural ingredients. They’re generally also gluten and lactose free, so they’re a viable option for anyone suffering from a specific food or dietary allergy. Alternatives to whey protein also include brown rice protein, which is high in fiber, and hemp protein, which contains high levels of elements such as zinc and magnesium. It’s also hypoallergenic, meaning it’s again ideal for those with specific food or lactose allergies.
A good nutritional can help you to keep in shape. It all goes towards achieving the ultimate look.
Image by Phil Roeder, used under Creative Commons license, PopSugar
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