If you’ve spent any time at the gym at all, you’ve probably overheard one or two conversations about protein powder and protein shakes. Protein powder has become a popular, if not necessary nutritional supplement. Knocking back a protein shake has proven to help with recovery after a productive workout, which can make the difference between jumping out and crawling out of bed the next morning!

There’s more to protein powder than just ordering a “protein shake”, different protein powders cater to different lifestyles and workout intensities. Protein powder comes in many different forms such as whey, soy, and casein. These different forms are said to have different recovery rates and nutritional values. A professional weightlifter is definitely going to be taking a different sort and amount of protein than a casual jogger. So where should one start when diving in the world of protein? Here’s a quick and basic rundown of what types of protein powders are out there and what they’re good for.

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Whey Protein

Whey protein is the most common member of the protein powder family and is extracted from whey, the watery portion of milk. For those who are lactose intolerant, Trutein is the way to go. For those who prefer lighter fruit smoothies as opposed to the heavy milk-based shake, Isopure offers a great selection. Whey protein contains all essential amino acids,  so it’s an all around great protein powder to use. When you’re shopping around, you will definitely encounter the words “isolate” and “concentrate”. Whey Isolate is virtually fat-free, while concentrate has a relatively trivial amounts of fat and carbs.

Casein Protein

Casein protein is also known as the milk protein. 80% of the protein in milk is casein! The major difference between whey and casein is that whey is digested quicker while casein is slow and steady. Give Optimum Nutrition or MusclePharm a try.

Vegetable Protein

Protein intake is very important for vegans, and there’s no easier way to get your daily dose of protein than vegetable protein shakes. Soy, rice, hemp and pea protein are the most popular types out there in the market. If you’re looking for a veggie protein that will give you all 8 essential amino acids, I recommend soy and hemp, the former of which even has antioxidant and heart benefits. Mix your veggie powder with fruit or fresh vegetables to make your shake a refreshing and filling meal. Contrary to the stereotypical image of the skinny vegan, you’ll easily build mass with vegetable protein. Check out Living Harvest and Hammer Nutrition for great vegan-friendly protein powder.

Egg White Protein

Egg white protein is naturally low in fat and carbs, and is cholestrol-free. For those who want to avoid dairy products, egg white protein is a great, albeit more expensive alternative. Despite the price, many people swear by egg protein as an incredibly effective way to bulk up and recover. Dymatize offers a diverse array of different protein, including egg white protein which is a little harder to come by.

For us at Fitness Luxe, we use Dymatize. They’re a reliable brand that offers delicious flavors like chocolate mint and cafe mocha. Because it’s not a pure isolate, we recommend using Dymatize as a throughout-the-day drink rather than a purely POST-workout drink. If you don’t know where to start looking, we recommend you try Dymatize first and start from there. It’s a pretty affordable brand so more bang for the buck.

image       Catching Lani with her morning dose of whey protein after a workout!

 

About The Author

Content Manager

A Hong Kong-native with a penchant for good food and drinks, Kelly Lo has always had a love-hate relationship with fitness. In the past, Kelly has backpacked across a good portion of the Nakasendō trail, gone mountain-biking in New Zealand, and white-water rafting in Australia. Now she dabbles in yoga and kickboxing in her new home, New York City. Kelly enjoys writing about her experiences, as well as promoting the Fitness Luxe mission of health and happiness.