Protein is at the heart of some controversy. What is the best protein? Will body builders obtain enough protein from foods like whey or should they supplement with steak? Are calories more important than content? Can vegans, vegetarians, and dairy-intolerant individuals consume enough protein to lay down competition-worthy muscle? Those are good questions: here are some of the answers pros in the body building industry have put forth.
Top Protein: Whey
Unfortunately, for people who can’t eat any dairy products, whey is the number one protein out there. The only thing that comes close (besides casein) is egg protein, and neither one is suitable for vegans. If you have chosen not to eat anything which once came from an animal, including whey, then you are out of luck. Nothing is as effective.
The caveat here, though, is to choose a worthy supplement. The whey industry is like any other: some products are loaded with sugar and additives. Certain supplements and meal replacements contain GMO whey or the main ingredient isn’t pure, filtered whey isolate. Look for those very words on the label and stick with New Zealand whey, considered the best.
Many commercial products contain just whey powder: no flavoring. Consumers mix their powder with milk or water or add it to food. The ideal way to take whey is by mixing it in a drink so as to provide protein, nutrition, and hydration to muscles before a workout. Don’t drink a mixture filled with sugar or sugar replacements or chemicals you can’t pronounce. Colorant is completely unnecessary whether found in nature or a chemistry lab.
Casein: Runner Up
Here is another dense protein, one that complements whey by increasing the body’s ability to absorb whey. Numerous supplements contain both of these and this could be even better, but looking purely at protein levels this one is slightly less potent than whey.
If you can’t handle dairy, try egg powder. Until the market exploded with body building supplements containing the best protein this was the top dog and the purest form around. You can still buy supplements containing egg protein or purchase the powder and make your own drink mix with bananas and soy milk.
Here is where the debate gets hot: is plant protein worth anything to the weight-building body? Is it possible to hold true to your ideals and still be building muscle Dwayne Johnson would be proud of? You will have to decide for yourself through trial and error.
Most nutritionists and weight lifters would say no; you can’t compete with quinoa powder alone. This is not the purest form of protein for a body builder. If you were just trying to eat a healthy diet, quinoa is considered one of the best sources you can find: low in fat, high in fiber, easily available, and easy to cook.
Other common vegan protein supplements include soy, rice, and hemp. They do contain protein: there’s no doubt about it. If you can’t seem to consume enough calories as a vegan and still workout effectively, you should be drinking smoothies dense with these powders plus peanut butter. Together, the combination will be powerful enough to provide energy for long workouts and recovery, but not as much recovery and bulk building power as animal-based protein. You’ll still be toned and fit though.
More than Protein
A body builder’s diet has to contain carbohydrates as well. Where carbs are concerned, you can be vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore: finding carbs is no problem. Some of the best sources haven’t been within five miles of a cow such as beetroot, potatoes, and apples. These and other plant-based foods also supply ingredients for muscle cell recovery and a healthy digestive system.