Consuming protein after a workout is crucial in order to help your muscles grow and recover more efficiently. Although this is common knowledge, there is still a lot of confusion as to where athletes should be getting this protein from. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular post-workout protein sources and see how they stack up when it comes to getting bigger and stronger!
Whole food is probably the most commonly used post-workout fuel for individuals who are either beginners or who are just not that serious about their training. Chicken breast is a staple food in the diets of bodybuilders and athletes alike, and it’s easy to see why. Chicken breast has a high amount of protein, no carbs, and only a small amount of fat per serving. Plus, it is highly versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of tasty dishes.
Although it’s a fantastic source of lean protein, it does have some disadvantages when used as a post-workout recovery option. Prep time is a big issue. By the time you get home from the gym and actually cook the chicken, not only are you probably starving, but you may have impacted your ability to recover as efficiently as possible by denying your muscle tissue the fuel it needs immediately after a workout. Even if you have the chicken prepared ahead of time, it takes the body a significant amount of time to fully break down and digest protein from whole food sources, meaning more wait time for your muscles to get the building blocks they need to grow.
READY-TO-DRINK SHAKES (RTDs)
These premade shakes are convenient for those who are on the go and need a quick fix of protein. However, that convenience comes at a price. RTDs are typically composed of milk protein, which digests faster than whole food since it is already liquefied. However, it is still not as fast digesting, nor does it have the best bioavailability when compared to other protein sources. RTDs are typically not as pure as other sources, and usually contain more fats and carbs.
If you’re on a budget, RTDs usually have a higher cost per serving than other options because of a few factors, including the higher packaging costs of individual serving units.
POWDERED WHEY PROTEIN
When it comes to post-workout, whey protein delivers a highly bioavailable protein with a fast absorption speed and an unbeatable cost per serving compared to other protein sources. The versatility of protein powder allows you to easily take your protein on the go. All you have to do is add your liquid of choice!
Keep it lean with water, or mix it up with some skim milk if you’re looking to increase your daily caloric intake for muscle building.
Protein bars are an easy-to-pack snack, and can be a good substitute for a dessert to help satisfy cravings. The problem with protein bars is that the tasty ones are usually too good to be true. Many protein bars hide a significant amount of carbohydrates and often use sub-par sources of protein. Protein bars also usually need to include a significant amount of filler ingredients to help trick the consumer into thinking they are eating a regular chocolate bar!
If you’re having a craving crisis, a protein bar can be a good alternative to some unhealthy desserts, but with a relatively high cost per serving, protein bars are typically not your best option for an optimal post-workout protein.
|PROTEIN SOURCE||BIOAVAILABILITY||PROTEIN (g)||FAT (g)||COST PER SERVING|
|100% Whey Protein Plus||104||30||3||$1.05|
|Chicken breast||94||25||6||*Prices vary*|
|RTD (Competitor #1)||91||30||3||$1.82|
|RTD (Competitor #2)||91||20||4||$1.50|
We recommend whey protein because it clearly has the most benefits when it comes to post-workout nutrition. Six Star® 100% Whey Protein Plus is your best choice when it comes to a high-quality post-workout protein source if your goal is to build muscle and strength plus increase your recovery time!