5 Best Protein Powders for Runners and Hybrid Athletes
Protein intake and the thoughts behind it have been widely discussed and debated over the past century. Whether protein intake needs to be higher or lower depending on our sport or activity level, all the way to does it matter what the source of protein is or just if we get it. Getting an adequate amount of protein is crucial in your nutritional health along with it allowing your muscles to recovery after exercise. So with all the ways you can get protein in your diet why protein powders? One reason is the level of convenience that protein powders offer. You can put them into a shaker cup and just add water to consume, or use them in a recipe to add additional protein into your diet via food you love to eat. With an item as versatile as this is tough not use it to get extra protein in your diet. But, choosing the right one is not the easiest in the world. In the article I hope to best provide you with the most information on the top 5 best protein powders I have used over the years to help you make a more informed choice.
How much Protein should I consume?
Depending on what your athletic goals are truly depending on what your daily protein intake should be. One training as a hybrid athlete will have an increased protein requirement than say someone training for an ironman. While both do require you to consume adequate amounts of protein someone lifting weights will need an increased amount of protein as shown in the study "Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training". You can see that the amount differ from athlete to athlete but protein plays a crucial role in recover of the muscular system. So, what constitutes as an adequate amount of protein intake. Well from this study titled "Protein Requirements Are Elevated in Endurance Athletes after Exercise as Determined by the Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation Method." an athlete should consume anywhere from 1.2-1.65 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example a person weighing 160 pounds consuming 1.4g/kg would be aiming for a daily protein intake of 101g. But for the same individual who is an hybrid athlete they should be consuming 1.65 g/kg they would need to consume 120g of protein. While these amounts do very it is important to know what your goals are and push to hit your protein requirements as it will aid in muscle recovery and growth.
What are different ways to use protein powders?
Protein powders can be used in a variety of ways to help hit your protein goals. The most common way is to add 1-2 scoops to a protein shaker and add either milk or water and just shake it up and chug it. For some this may work and be the best option but, for others they might need to incorporate it in other ways. I would recommend adding into baking recipes. Cookies are a good one to add protein into, as you can substitute so many of the ingredients if you are trying to lose or gain weight in order to hit the macros you are looking for in a recipe. Another way to incorporate the protein powder into your meals is to use it in a protein smoothie, oatmeal or sludge recipe. Smoothies are easier to get down in you are in a calorie surplus so, adding a scoop of protein to increase you daily protein intake is easier than eating 6oz of chicken breast. Same goes for oatmeal, if you prefer to eat oat meal in the morning due to it being a complex carbohydrate then adding a scoop of protein in will not only help you hit your protein goals but also turning the meal into a macro powerhouse of a breakfast to keep you satiated for longer.
What are the different types of protein powders?
So, we spend all this time talking about protein and how much to consume yet, we have yet to talk about the different types and kinds of protein powders. In general they're two types of protein types with a bunch of different ways the protein is presented. For example the two protein types are typically whey and casein protein. Whey protein is digested in your body much fast than a casein protein is. So, typically these are consumed post workout in order to get into your digestive system faster and aid in muscle recovery. On the other hand casein protein is a slower digesting protein and should usually be consumed at night or in the morning as it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Now that we have discussed the two types of protein there is a multitude of blends out there ranging from: whey(animal, pea, began, soy, to brown rice there is a type of protein powder out there for all of us to try. So look around these options and see what works best for you. But, here are my best 5 protein powders to use.
My top 5 Recommendation for Protein Powders:
1. Syntha 6:
Why this brand? You want a solid tasting protein powder this brand is for you. These are typically the higher end of the calories per scoop of protein weighing in at 200 Kcal for 1 scoop with 22g of protein in them. This company did it right though in terms of flavor. These taste close to what a milkshake would taste like with a ton of extra protein in it. I would recommend this brand for beginners in the protein world as it is the most forgivable in terms of flavor generally hitting it spot on. But, be careful with this brand as it does have a higher calorie content than most protein powders.
Why this brand? If you are looking for a protein powder that taste good and also has some of your favorite desserts in it, then this brand it for you. Ghost has flavors from chip ahoy to Oreo to Nutter Butter. Ghost protein powder is definitely lower in calories looking at 160 Kcal per scoop with 25g of protein. This is a great protein powder to drink in you need to up your protein in take at night with a dessert like taste with much lower calories. I would also highly recommend using this in your recipes if you are trying to make healthier cookies, cakes or brownies.
Why this brand? This is a great low cost protein if you are looking to try drinking protein powder without having to break the bank. Gold Standard is going to be the lowest calorie option in terms of protein powders being only 120 Kcal for one scoop with 24g of protein. These do not have as good of the taste as Ghost or Syntha 6 but you are going to be able to put this into your meal plan a lot easier being in the lower calorie end of protein powder.
Why this brand? This brand falls majorly on their quality ingredient with a great taste, but also this brand has an amazing team behind it. The Founder Nick Bare is truly inspiring and one of the reasons I started my adventure into endurance sports. But, that did not sway my decision to put this on the list. This brand has amazing taste and can go in any recipe or can be shaken with just water and still hold that flavor. Coming in at 140 Kcal for 25g of protein this is another good low calorie option that is high in the protein. I would recommend this time of protein for those people looking for a protein to use in ingredients or those that want to drink it with water.
Why this brand? If you are competing in any weight lifting competition you know you have to be mindful of what you are taking because some protein blends have trace amounts of creatine in them and that is banned in competition. This is a clean protein powder with great taste, their signature flavors for non-protein drinks are coco and fruity pebbles. This protein blend is 120 Kcal for 25g of protein. Would make a great post workout protein Rice Krispy treat recipe.
In conclusion all of these protein blends are great options. It is just what flavor do you prefer and what fits your budget. I suggest just do your informed research and then choose one brand and go for it. Do not hesitate as it will help with your recovery and muscle growth. Protein is beneficial in so many ways and you do not want to miss out on the benefits you can get from it. Links to all of the brands are in the URL in their names so check them out and let me know what you think of them.