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What Types Of Protein To Use Post Workout

When it comes to post-workout nutrition, most nutritional experts would agree that the body needs four things post-workout, protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes, and anti-oxidants. These four things are necessary to maximize recovery time and increase muscle protein synthesis. Protein is essential when it comes to recovering after a workout. There are many different protein sources to choose from along with varying types of protein powder. This article will cover the different types of sports nutrition protein powders that are commercially available today.

Dairy Protein Powders


Dairy protein powders are the most popular protein powders which can exist in several varieties. Milk protein isolate and concentrate are not very popular, but they are one of the highest quality because it scores the highest on the DIAA. The DIAA stands for the digestible indispensable amino acid score. Micellar casein and calcium caseinate are two very popular dairy proteins that high quality but do not taste very good.

Finally, whey protein powder is a dairy protein. Whey protein powder comes in three forms, hydrolyzed whey protein, whey protein isolate, and whey protein concentrate. The whey protein powders are the most popular because they are very high quality, contain 30% BCAA’s, and taste good. If a person is looking for quick post-workout protein, then a good hydrolyzed protein powder is recommended. If a person is looking for a good overall protein powder to take any time during the day, they should look for a protein powder that contains a mixture of all three dairy proteins.

Plant-Based Protein Powders

plant based protein

Plant-based protein powders are great for anyone that is a vegan or just simply wants to avoid animal-derived protein sources. I will list my top-quality choices for plant-based proteins.

The most popular plant-based protein, but one that one should probably avoid is soy. In the past, soy protein isolate was very popular, but research was published that soy could increase estrogen levels in the human body. Therefore people try to avoid soy protein for this reason. In addition, there are not enough benefits that soy protein offers to consume over other vegan protein sources.

Pea protein is a great vegan protein source. It is a complete protein that contains a decent amount of BCAA’s. Most important the DIAA score is somewhat high, therefore it makes it an acceptable protein powder to use for muscle recovery.

Rice protein powder is another vegan protein source that is an acceptable vegan protein to use for muscle recovery. I rank it on the same level as pea protein because it also contains an adequate amount of BCAA’s.

Lentil protein powder is the highest quality vegan protein powder. Fairly new to the sports nutrition industry, lentil protein powders, otherwise know as duckweed protein or water lentils, boasts the highest amount of amino acids of all plant proteins. Not only that, but it scores higher on the PDCAA (another method to score protein quality) than pea or rice.

There are numerous other plant-based protein powders such as pumpkin, hemp, quinoa, cranberry, and many more. However, none of these protein sources provide higher quality than a lentil, rice, or pea.

Egg Protein Powder

egg protein

Egg protein powder is an excellent source of post-workout protein. This protein is loaded with BCAA’s, not as much as dairy protein, but higher than vegan proteins. Also, egg protein powder is highly usable by the human body and can quickly increase muscle protein synthesis after consumption. For even faster utilization, hydrolyzed or pre-digested egg white protein powder can be used for elite athletes. Finally, some people take advantage of egg white protein’s lack of lactose. Many people have trouble with lactose when consuming dairy protein powders such a whey protein concentrate, so egg white protein makes for a great alternative.

Niche or Exotic Protein Powders

exotic protein

There are several protein powders that I characterize as exotic. Protein powders such as insect, fish, silk cocoon, and goat. These protein powders are, for the most part, very high quality. A fish protein, usually made from hydrolyzed salmon protein has been tested to be faster digesting than whey protein. Goat protein seems to be more easily digestible than dairy protein from cows. Insect protein powder is still very new, but the research has been promising on this sustainable protein source.

Which Protein To Choose For Post Workout


When it comes to post-workout nutrition, it is essential to choose the most high-quality protein source one can that fits one’s lifestyle. If one has no restrictions then I would recommend a hydrolyzed protein powder. Hydrolyzed protein powders such as hydrolyzed whey, hydrolyzed casein hydrolyzed salmon, and hydrolyzed egg white are the best choices. These hydrolyzed proteins provide amino acids to the muscles faster than regular whole food protein powder. The faster amino acids get to the muscle, the faster the recovery, and the faster one can increase muscle mass. The only downside to hydrolyzed protein powders is the taste. High-quality protein powders are very bitter. Therefore these powders are not for the mass market and only for elite bodybuilders or more serious people.

For recreational athletes and the mass market, whey isolate, egg white, and lentil protein powders are very useful. Whey protein isolate has a slight advantage over egg white and lentil in that it raises the anabolic hormone insulin higher over the others. Insulin is one of the most anabolic hormones in the body, and for this reason, some people can see an increase in muscle mass.

This way, one can take advantage of each protein powders benefits. For example, combine milk protein isolate, egg white protein, and hydrolyzed casein post-workout. To do this, one would need to buy unflavored protein powders. One company called sells a wide variety of unflavored protein powder.

Keep in mind that one should always combine carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and grains to maximize recovery. Consuming protein only drinks post-workout will not maximize their recovery effect. In addition, my recommendation is to have a protein “drink”, not a protein “shake”. A protein drink contains healthy nutrients from vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein powders. A protein shake contains artificial sweeteners, artificial ingredients, harmful artificial colors that are potential cancer-causing, and lacks vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals.

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