Thanks for tuning in to part III of my protein series. If you missed the first two, click here for Part I and here for Part II.

In part II, I answered if you should supplement or not and my answer was: it depends. For further understanding, however, let’s continue that discussion a little longer and really break down some of the main reasons it would make sense, or not, in the first place.

  • Peer pressure:
    • Some people may believe that if their friend is taking it then it must be good for them, regardless if it’s actually working. Also, the pressure to be fit and look good is at an all the time high and taking a supplement might be the answer one may be looking for, so supplementing answers that question. Peer pressure is inevitable and we’re all influenced by it. However, no supplement is going to be a one-all-solution to a problem you may have, such as putting on mass, getting leaner, or becoming healthier. Don’t be pressured to do anything that doesn’t agree with you.
  • Bio-availability:
    • Protein supplements are pitched as being more bio-available than meat protein. This means that our bodies are able to digest, assimilate, and absorb the nutrients found in protein supplements, such as whey, a lot easier than meat protein. This is true to a degree, but that doesn’t mean you should stop eating meat.
  • Convenience:
    • Many people take a protein supplement just because it’s fast, easy, and agrees with their busy lives. I know I do and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, remember supplements don’t replace food hence the word, “supplement,” meaning extra or additional to. So, only take it if you need to.
  • Cost:
    • Many protein supplements are fairly priced and are usually cheap or economical, especially whey. However, there is a special breed of protein supplements that are very expensive. I’ve seen some supplements even priced over $100 for a tub of 64 oz. ( I think it was for a cold processed organic whey protein that’s been through some special proprietary process that makes it different). I’m sure it’s great, but I’m not willing to spend that money. I’ll pass.
  • Calories:
    • If you’re buying just the protein then you’re not getting any extra fat or carbs to boost your calories. Simple enough right? Kind of true. Some protein supplements, especially whey, are actually classified as mass gainers or meal replacements and actually have a ton of extra calories, usually sugar, to make you put on mass. Be careful you’re not fooled and actually read the label so you buy only the protein.
  • A quick fix:
    • Some people believe that if they take a protein supplement then it might work like steroids and make them huge. False my friends. You can’t cut corners for hard work. Enjoy the journey!
  • Advertising:
    • The marketing done by the supplement industry has a wide reaching and influential effect on anyone trying to get fit and healthy, and as a result, people buy their supplement simply by taking their “good word” (labels) for it. If you want to get big, lean, and awesome, then you’ve got to take their protein right? I’m a being a little facetious, but you get my point. There are definitely good and clean supplements out there, but some aren’t so great. Usually, they’re the supplements claiming such things as quick fixes or that you will be jacked. Most likely, those supplements contain fillers, preservatives, and harmful chemicals that won’t do any good for you. Make sure you read the label.

I’m sure I might have missed something, but those are the most noticeable reasons that come to mind.

But, let’s say you’ve done your homework and you’ve decided supplementing is the way to go. Great!

Here’s a simple guide to buying the right protein:

  • Read the label: Make sure you buy only the raw form of the protein, meaning there should be no additives, such as colors, sugars, or unnecessary chemicals you can’t pronounce. Read the label!
  • Know Your Body: Make sure that you are keen to notice what agrees with you and what doesn’t. For example, if you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive then whey/casein protein is probably out of the question. Only buy a protein supplement that agrees with your body. From my experience, many protein supplements have had some sort of ill effect on me (gas, bloating, breakouts, etc.), so be aware it might happen to you.
  • Do your research: Before you fall in love with a supplement at your local health food or nutrition store, remember to do a little homework by researching the product and company online for reviews. Better yet, ask a friend if they’ve tried it and you’ll get a first hand testimonial if it’s worked for them or not that can guide you to making the best decision.
  • Be objective while using it: For me this is a big one. Just because you bought the supplement it doesn’t mean that it will work for you and it will cause magical results. Be objective about it and approach the situation from a third party perspective by taking all the facts into consideration on whether your seeing greater results on it than before.

Ok. So, what protein supplements are out there? Here’s a list:

  • Whey protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Egg protein
  • Pea protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Soy protein

(For more information on these types of protein check out the links at the bottom.)

What now?

From my experience with protein supplements, I’ve only had moderate success, but success nonetheless. Some have worked fairly well, but others didn’t agree with me, if you know what I mean? Whey usually doesn’t work for me because I’m lactose sensitive (unless it’s lactose free), but the vegetable proteins, such as pea/brown rice, have been fairly good for me. The best indicator if a protein supplement works for you is to follow the guide I gave you above and to always be objective of your results and how you measure them.

This includes performance in the gym, on the field, and your health in general. If you start taking a supplement and you notice headaches, excess gas, and breakouts, then odds are that supplement is not agreeing with you and it’s in your best interest to stop. How do I know? Because it’s happened to me.

Despite the cautionary tale, don’t be afraid! Many protein supplements do help, so give it a shot when you’re ready and see what happens. I’m sure you’ll see good results with some, but just don’t expect it to be the one-all-solution to everything.

But what do you think about protein supplements? Tell me by commenting down below. As always, thanks for reading and until next time, be strong and be you!

More Resources:

(Photo Credit Main)

(Photo Credit 2)


2 thoughts on “Protein Part III: Understanding Protein Supplementation

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