3. Protein Powders
Protein powders are just powders that consist mainly of protein (typically whey protein is what is sold these days but you can also find blends). Typically, they contain no more than 5 grams of carbohydrates per scoop and 20-25 grams of protein (per scoop). Calorie wise they consist of anywhere from 100-125 calories.
In my opinion, the best protein powder to get is one that contains a protein blend of fast and slow released proteins. In this manner you have the advantage of immediately having some proteins released into the system as quickly as you ingest them while the others get released over the next 3 hours; just right in time for your next meal!
Whey concentrate powders and isolates are best for after the workout as they are released extremely quickly into the blood stream.
I love protein supplements because of the many uses that they have. For instance, in the morning I like to have oatmeal with strawberry or banana flavored Pro V60 protein powder. One can also use them to add more protein to either a meal replacement powder or a weight gainer. Alternatively, one can also use them for creating a home-made weight gain formula.
4. Protein Bars
These are bars made out of any of the protein sources listed above. The carbohydrate mix is usually a combination of glycerin (which is not really a carbohydrate but a sugar alcohol) and some sugars. They are low in calories compared to a weight gain shake and you have to be careful with the brand chosen as some contain less than desirable fats and too much sugars. If trying to lose fat, then limit their use to once per day at the most.
If doing a competition then I would refrain from using them. The ones I like most in the market today due to their lack of transfats and low sugar are:
5. Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Protein Shakes
Ready-to-Drink protein shakes are the latest protein supplements in the market. They are characterized by a high protein content (most are blended proteins) with some essential fats and low carbs. Many have an array of vitamins and minerals as well. RTD protein shakes are highly convenient for people who are on the go and don't even have time to mix a shake. My all time favorite RTD is the Lean Body RTD for its high quality protein content (40 grams), high fiber content (5 grams), and most importantly the fact that they are zero sugar/zero lactose. On top of that, they simply taste amazing! I would have never imagined back in 1990 that a protein shake would ever taste like this.
6. Beef Liver Tablets
These tablets are a great source of beef liver and bodybuilders have been using them for decades in order to obtain the values offered by beef proteins. The key thing for liver tablets to be useful is that they need to be manufactured with the highest grade of beef liver and they also need to be purified from the fat, cholesterol and other impurities that are contained in the liver.
When it comes to beef liver tablets the best ones in the market, in my opinion, are Beverly International's Ultra 40 because they contain the highest grade of beef liver and have been purified and processed to contain forty-five times the nutritional amount of whole beef liver providing heme iron (good for blood building), B vitamins, and the lipotropics choline and inositol. It's also a good source of vitamins A, C, and D and other micro-nutrients and minerals such as the anti oxidant selenium, phosphorous, copper, zinc, and GTF chromium (which helps to regulate insulin levels).
The way to use them is to add 3-4 tablets per meal. Each tablet adds an additional 2 grams of protein from beef liver to your meals.
Which Protein Supplement to Use - Weight Gainer, MRP, Protein Powder, Protein Bar or RTD?
So now, which protein product should you choose? If trying to gain weight then a weight gainer for sure or protein bars (especially the higher ones in calories). If you are looking to have a full meal consisting of carbs, proteins and some fats and staying lean is one of your fitness goals, then an MRP is your best bet. If on a budget then the best way to go is to buy a 5-lb tub of blended protein powder which based on how you mix it can be used for weight gain or muscle building while losing fat. If your schedule is really hectic then an RTD protein shake is your best bet.
Of course, you can also mix and match these different protein supplements based on what your schedule looks like on a specific day and what your goals are. For example, some days if I am doing higher carbs I may use a Mass 60 to make it easier for me to get all of my nutrition. If I am on a lower carb day then I would use a ProV60 instead, or an RTD, depending on how hectic my day is.
I hope that this article has educated you on the different protein supplements that are available to help you with your bodybuilding and fitness endeavors. Keep in mind that protein supplements are just that; supplements to an already healthy and good diet based on the intake of whole foods. Do not make the mistake of thinking that protein supplements are better than food because they are not. Real food should always be the base of any good bodybuilding and fitness diet plan.