Recently, I've gotten quite a few questions in regards to protein supplements. When exercising regularly, it is vital you get a proper amount of protein. In order to shed fat, and build lean muscle (and get a toned physique) you need protein.
I want to preface this blog post with a few things before I dive in...
First and foremost, my goal is to honor the Lord with my body & fuel it well. I desire to live healthily so I am best equipped to serve Him. My secondary goal is to simply be healthy. Yes, I do have body fat percentage goals and other physique goals, but my overall health is the most eminent. If eating nutrient-dense, clean food and exercising did nothing to my outer appearance, I still would do it. I strive to eat well and exercise regularly because I know it will help keep my heart healthy, my blood sugar and insulin levels in check, my cholesterol in the proper range, my energy levels high, and it will strengthen my bones and muscles, improve my mental health and mood, allow me to sleep well, keep my brain sharp, decrease my risk of chronic disease...and SO much more.
With that in mind, let's dive in. Generally, my goal is to consume roughly 130-175 grams of protein/day (depending on if I am going for low or moderate carbohydrate consumption). I care about getting adequate protein for three main reasons:
1) ENERGY + OVERALL HEALTH: I desire to feel strong + stable in my workouts. If I skimp on protein multiple days in a row I start to just feel sore, weak and sluggish in my workouts. Additionally, protein is a critical component of every single cell in the body. Protein helps repair muscle and tissues within your body. Protein is a key building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, & more. If you don't fuel your body with enough protein, you can imagine why you start to feel tired and sluggish...
2) TO BURN FAT, YOU NEED MUSCLE. Personally, I am not someone who wants to bulk. I am not going for a body-builder physique...rather I am looking to be first and foremost healthy, and secondarily lean & toned. In order to burn fat, you need muscle.
3) PHYSIQUE. You can be thin and a healthy weight, but not toned. This is why it is necessary to NOT focus solely on the scale for measuring progress. I understand it can be scary to ditch the scale, but there are so many better ways to measure your overall health and your progress. I focus on my body measurements and body fat percentages. Measuring your body fat is a sure-fire way to measure progress. I measure body fat using an Accu-Measure Body Fat Caliper (click here for what I use). Measuring your body fat is more accurate than the scale because the scale doesn't show how much fat is on your body. The leading cause of death is a chronic disease, and too much fat is a key factor in getting diagnosed with a chronic disease. Additionally, I care (and I think most people would agree) more about my physique than the number on the scale. Thus, it is better to be measuring your body fat percentage as opposed to simply your weight. However, learning how to measure your body fat can be a little tricky, so I recommend watching YouTube videos and downloading the book "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" by Tom Venuto on Audible. Seriously, this book has helped me understand my body to a greater degree, and it also significantly discusses the topic of achieving your goals (which y'all know is right up my alley :)).
Our protein consumption should first come from food, but it can be hard to get an adequate amount of protein through solely food, especially if you exercise regularly. The following are clean protein supplements I recommend.
My tried and true recommendations:
Vital Proteins: Vital Proteins derives its protein from grass-fed, pasture-raised "bovine hides to ensure a natural, high quality, and sustainable source of collagen peptides." It also has flavored, and unflavored options. My personal favorite is the unflavored one because you can add it to any smoothie/beverage/recipe without changing the taste or texture.
Paleo Pro: High in protein (26 grams/serving) without using dairy, whey, or soy. I also really enjoy how this one tastes.
Beachbody Performance Recover: A good amount of protein (20 grams/serving), with clean ingredients. It has a lot of superfoods and antioxidants to aid in inflammation and muscle soreness. It has more sugar than others, but the sugar is derived naturally from fruit, so I feel fine about putting it into my body. I love the consistency and taste. It isn't chalky in texture and tastes kind of like brownie batter. There is also a vegan option and an orange-flavored option.
The following brands, I do not use regularly (yet), but I researched them and they are backed by people I trust. They are clean products you can feel good about putting into your body.
NutraOrganics: This product is plant-based and high in vitamin b3, low carb, and has no added sugar.
Bulletproof: This product contains collagen protein from pasture-raised cows. It also contains XCT Oil which aids in sustained energy but adds carbohydrates.
Primal Kitchen: This is also a collagen-based product. It is a good product for someone who is not looking to add a significant amount of protein as it only has 10 grams per serving.
Most of these supplements come in various flavors, so make sure you peruse the website! I hope this was helpful! Let me know any questions you have in the comments. :)