While an effective exercise regimen is a vital part of building muscle, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Without proper nutrition, the human body doesn’t have the materials it needs to repair and grow muscle, and no nutrient is more important for building muscle than protein. Are you searching for the best protein powder for building muscle? To find it, it’s helpful to understand the connection between muscles and protein. You’ll also need to know what you should be looking for in a quality protein powder.
Powering Muscles with Protein
When it comes to protein, even its name recognizes just how crucial this macronutrient is for human health. The term protein comes from the Greek word “protas,” which means “of primary importance” (source). Comprised of various combinations of amino acids, protein is part of every single cell in the human body. It helps with all of the following bodily functions:
- Build and repair muscle and tissue
- Preserve lean muscle mass
- Make essential hormones and enzymes
- Regulate various metabolism processes
- Maintain the balance of body fluid
- Support immune functions
When you are actively trying to build muscle, you need to consume more protein in order to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to add muscle. You can try to do this by consuming chicken, beef, eggs, fish, dairy, and other protein-rich whole foods, but if the thought of eating that much food is daunting, there is another way. Protein powder supplements are a time-tested tool that can help you increase your protein intake without gorging yourself on more than you can comfortably eat.
Best Protein Powder for Building Muscle
When you go shopping for protein powders, you are confronted with a lengthy list of possibilities. Many whole food sources can provide protein, and many of those sources are transformed into protein powders. Protein powders crafted from animal sources include whey- and casein-based powders, which are derived from milk, as well as chicken, beef, and egg protein powders. Products made from vegetable sources include soy, hemp, pea, rice, and sprouted grain protein powders. To decide which is the best protein powder for building muscle, consider the following factors:
Complete Proteins vs. Incomplete Proteins
Proteins are made up of different combinations of some 20 amino acids. While the body can produce many of these amino acids, nine of these organic compounds must be obtained from food each day. Referred to as essential amino acids, they are what make a protein either complete or incomplete. Complete proteins found in sources like meats, eggs, and dairy include all of the nine essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins like pea, hemp, and other plant-based proteins are lacking in one or more of these vital compounds, so they cannot fully meet your body’s needs on their own (source).
Protein is a priority because the body breaks it down and uses it to complete an array of crucial tasks, but not all proteins are equally useful. The biological value describes the percentage of the protein that the body will actually use. When you have a high BV of a complete protein with adequate essential amino acids, the body is getting and using what it naturally requires. Generally, these proteins will come from animal sources.
Additives and Other Stuff
While the source of the protein provides a useful starting point, it’s not the only important factor when shopping for a protein powder. You need to consider the entire ingredient list. Although quality protein powders focus on delivering a healthy, power-packed punch of protein, some products include artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and other additives that can add unnecessary chemicals and calories. In addition, you may want to consider how friendly the product is to your digestive tract. Lactose, soy, wheat, and other common allergens can trigger digestive discomforts or allergic reactions when present in a protein powder. Try to select a protein powder that delivers what you need without a lot of unwanted extras.
Using Protein Powder to Build Muscle
You’ve done your research and selected the best protein powder for building muscle. What’s your next step? When using a protein powder to put on muscle, you’ll want to do the following:
- Challenge yourself with short, intense workouts that incorporate multiple movements and varying speeds. Avoid overtraining and be sure to allow appropriate time for recovery.
- Eat a diet packed with whole foods that are complete proteins. Choose foods with high biological values like chicken, beef, and eggs.
- Aim for several small meals spread out over the course of the day. Ideally, each meal should feature a combination of protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and a sufficient amount of good fats.
- Drink two protein powder shakes each day. Try drinking one an hour before your workout to send your energy level soaring and the second one after your workout to speed recovery and provide your body with protein to fuel the repair and growth of muscle fibers.
- When cooking, use protein powder to power up your food. Breakfast favorites, pastas, pizzas, side dishes, and even desserts can be enriched with protein powder.
Which protein powders are the top picks for someone who wants to put on more muscle? Chicken, whey, casein, egg white, and beef protein powders are generally at the top of the list for people who want to increase their protein intake to maximize their muscles. Ultimately, the best choice will likely be a quality protein powder that offers a complete protein source and high biological value while avoiding unnecessary additives or irritants.
If you’re looking to add a boost of protein to your diet, try CHiKPRO™, a nutritious chicken protein isolate powder. Versatile and easy to use, this protein supplement contains 25 grams of protein in each 30-gram scoop! As we mentioned above, you can use it in pizza, waffles, smoothie, frittatas, and many more delicious recipes. Plus, it is non-allergenic, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Here’s where you can get products powered by CHiKPRO™.