The supplement industry rakes in billions and billions each year and spends a significant portion of their profits on advertisements encouraging you to buy more supplements.
So, should you believe all the hype the supplement companies advertise or is it just another unnecessary expense?
The answer isn’t as clear cut as you may want it to be…
In fact, if you’re asking 10 different people on whether or not you should be taking a protein supplement you may get 5 people who think you should and 5 people who think you shouldn’t.
So instead of asking that, I want to lay all of the facts out for you and to get you to answer the right questions.
By the time you’re done reading this, you should be able to determine if you should take a protein supplement.
Why Protein Supplements?
Protein is the natural building block of muscle. It is an important part of any diet that is looking to maintain or increase lean muscle mass. People typically need 0.5 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. The actual amount depends on your overall activity level. For a sedentary person you may be around 0.5 grams, but if you’re reading an article on fitness then chances are you aren’t going to fall in that category.
For someone on a moderate exercise routine I recommend at a minimum 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight which means a 200 lb person would want to consume 140 grams of protein of protein per day. If you’re doing a serious exercise routine on the scale of bodybuilding then I suggest an intake of at least 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight. Most people will typically fall into the moderate exercise routine that are reading this, so you most likely want to strive for 0.7 grams of protein per 1 pound of body weight.
When people realize the amount of protein they must have per day they start to see the benefits of protein supplements as it is an easy and quick way in reaching your protein intake needed each day.
Many people swear by protein supplements and some people just take it because they think its the right thing to do for building lean muscle mass. The most important thing to do is to analyze yourself and ask yourself some basic questions to determine if you will benefit from taking a protein supplement.
Here are two areas to ask yourself questions in to understand whether or not you should be taking a protein supplement:
Determine Your Fitness Goals
The first thing in deciding whether or not you should take a protein supplement is to determine what you want to achieve when it comes to your fitness goals.
Almost everyone who starts a fitness program will want to lose some kind of weight which is a given, but the answers start to split off when deciding what you want to do about muscle mass.
If you have any desire to either maintain your muscle mass or increase it then it is important you get a high enough protein ratio in your diet.
This is because while you work out, if your body does not have enough protein readily available it will start to break down your muscle.
Analyze Your Diet
A typical diet can usually reach the daily intake of protein needed. However, if you’re cutting calories it becomes tough to balance enough protein in your diet without going over your calorie intake. I am a firm believer in getting your nutrition requirements from whole foods whenever possible, but realistically it can be tough to get enough protein throughout the day, especially when you don’t have enough time to prepare proper meals. Let’s face it, it is easier to throw a scoop of protein powder and mix in water and chug it rather than to dice up a chicken breast, add seasonings and olive oil, and cook it.
If you find you cannot get enough protein in your diet from food alone then you can benefit from a protein supplement.
When I asked myself questions in these areas I found that in order to get to the required amount of protein I need, I could not do it with food alone. My goals consisted of building a significant amount of lean muscle mass and then cut my body fat down while preserving my muscle mass. The sheer amount of calories I needed to put on lean muscle mass required me to opt for protein supplements.
I opted to use a protein supplement on a regular basis mainly for a post-workout meal and for my occasional lunch when I was working. By taking regular protein supplements, I was finally able to achieve the amount of daily protein I needed and noticed better results.
So what have you decided to do? Are you planning on taking a protein supplement?