Which protein shake should I drink for my first time and when to drink it to gain muscle and triggers recovery?
If is the first time you are going to take a protein shake (powdered protein supplements) or also known as gym supplements or simply Proteins, there really is not much you need to know to start nourishing yourself and being able to cover your energy requirement faster and easier from a high intensity activities or training sessions.
Guide for beginners who want to start drinking protein shakes to gain more muscle
Here I will mention what are the proteins for beginners or newbies at the gym, both men and women and both younger (yes, underage persons can also take protein shakes) and adults, since these (protein powders) are composed of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and sometimes also fats) and some also contain certain amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
That is it, they do not contain compounds like anabolic steroids that directly affect the endocrine system, that is why I mentioned that they can also be consumed by underage persons.
I will also mention what should be taken into account in order to know when to start taking protein shakes when you usually train hard at the gym, home, park, etc., taking into account that the goal is to gain muscle mass through the optimization in post-workout recovery.
What brand of protein powder should I take if it is the first time I want to do it?
Well, really the main thing to keep in mind It is not always the brand or laboratory which manufactures X or Y protein powders.
However, the brands which are very recognized worldwide as ON, BSN, Dymatize, Muscletech, MET-Rx, Musclemeds, among others, are usually made with very good quality.
And I say this from my experience since they do not generate any gastrointestinal discomfort (as other brands may be able to generate it).
The first thing to keep in mind if you want to start taking protein shakes made from the brands mentioned or others, is that you know whether or not you are lactose intolerant and / or if your body generates some kind of allergy or inflammation when you consume milk or dairy products.
If consuming cow's milk and / or its derivatives give you headaches, nausea, diarrhea (mild or intense), abdominal swelling, or other annoying reactions that only manifest when you eat this type of food, then whey and casein proteins powders are not for you because they are made obviously from whey and / or from the other protein part of cow's milk (casein).
Beef protein for beginners or newbies
If this is your case and you are not a vegetarian, then you should go for a Beef protein.
I usually recommend Carnivor by Musclemeds since it is the only Beef protein I have consumed in both its Isolate (low in carbohydrates) and in its Mass presentation (high in carbohydrates).
And I can say that its quality is very good: You feel well and recovered minutes after taking it and does not generate any gastrointestinal discomfort.
Obviously if you want you can try another brand / laboratory that offers supplements made with protein based on beef.
Whatever Protein you choose (whey, casein, beef, soy, etc.) always remember to mix it only in water to promote better absorption of the macro and micro nutrients it provides.
Isolate protein supplements
Protein powders that carry the adjective "Isolate" simply indicate the obvious, which is, they are separate or "Isolate" parts from something more "saturated", in this case talking about cow's milk and / or the lean parts of The cows.
However, some brands that offer Whey protein and also add the adjective Isolate, ensure that they can be ingested by those lactose intolerant people.
Whey and Casein Protein powders
In a study which I analyzed and will leave the reference at the bottom of this article, a comparison was made between Whey protein and Beef protein.
The results showed that the Beef protein was slightly better to promote hypertrophy and strength of the upper muscles (pectorals, biceps, etc.), and Whey protein for the muscles of the lower part (quadriceps, gluteal, femoral, etc.).
However, the results are not very clear to say affirm that one or the other protein (whey or beef) always will act less or more on certain muscle groups.
In addition, cow's milk proteins have always had a higher biological value and for this reason for a person with a high energy requirement may prove to be a better option.
However, the bad thing about whey protein which comes alone and / or accompanied with the other protein part of cow's milk (casein) is that it can usually sooner or later start to generate some kind of problems or unwanted reactions In some people (Gastrointestinal problems, allergies).
So for this reason I mentioned the fact that if you feel any discomfort when you consume cow's milk and / or some of its derivatives, then I do not recommend that you buy a Whey protein, and will be worse if you buy a protein powder with casein since this protein part sometimes it is more difficult to digest.
But hey!, if you are not of these unfortunate people, you can try a Whey protein quietly to start, and later (in about 3 months or more) opt for a protein that also has casein, such as Syntha 6 by BSN.
As I already mentioned, you can opt for the mentioned brands, such as the Gold Standard by ON, the Iso 100 by Dymatize, among many others.
I personally would recommend these two that I have tried and did not caused me any gastrointestinal discomfort or allergies.
Nitrotech by Muscletech is usually too "sweet" and I got some discomfort the first time I consumed it. Same happened with the Arnold Iron Whey protein.
Maybe it was bad luck.
What I can say is that for example the Iso 100 by Dymatize and the Elite Gourmet by the same brand, I fell out of wonder.
However, nowadays I can not consume this type of Protein powders (those made with whey or casein) without causing me any kind of gastrointestinal discomfort, so I decided to opt for the Carnivor by Musclemeds that until now I have been consuming without any problem.
What to look for to choose my first protein powder?
Well, I already mentioned the most general, now you are going to put a lot of attention to the nutritional facts shown at the back of each jar or packaging of each Protein powder.
NOTE: this is something that should always appear. If somebody offers you a protein powder which does not have a nutritional facts printed then hesitate a lot to buy it, or well in fact I recommend that you do not buy it, do not consume it even if somebody gave you as a gift.
Usually for every scoop a Whey or Beef protein powders usually provides between 20 and 26 grams of protein. Sometimes these types of protein powders usually bring adjectives such as "low carb" or "zero carbs" and sometimes not.
When a protein says 0 grams of carbohydrates, it obviously is a zero carbs protein.
But NOTE: Not because of this it means that this zero carbs protein powder is better.
In a study analyzed which the reference I will leave at the bottom of this article, it was concluded that when a protein had zero carbs and per scoop provided around 22 grams of protein, to promote good muscle recovery it was necessary to ingest two scoops, and for this reason we may say it is better and cheaper to take a protein powder which by scoop has both proteins and carbohydrates.
Why? Because if you want to promote a good recovery to help you gain muscle (the main objective of every person, man or woman, who wants to start taking protein powders), you must first think about replacing the energy part that is what your body is primarily interested in, and then the aesthetic part (in this case: the proteins).
If you consume a protein powder that only contains proteins (zero carbs), your body will convert much of this proteins to glycogen (it will first convert its amino acids to glucose), for this reason consuming a protein powder which does not contain carbohydrates is a big waste if we consider that commercially Protein (the macronutrient) is usually given more value.
In contrast, if you consume a protein that, in addition to proteins, provides at least 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates per scoop, it increases the probability that the proteins will be used as such: as part of reconstruction and / or repair and possible growth (muscle hypertrophy).
The other thing is to look if this protein powder contains BCAA's which are amino acids that your body can not synthesize and which must therefore be consumed through food and / or supplements, also check if it also contains glutamine (an amino acid that Strengthens your immune system, stimulates muscle recovery, etc.).
About creatine you may not require it unless you have an incredible energy expenditure, or well maybe you need it in case you are a vegetarian and / or you can not eat enough protein animals sources.
Because in the vast majority of cases the creatine we consume through food (sources of creatine) is enough even for a person (man or woman) who trains hard.
If you want to know when and how to take your protein shake, then keep in mind these three points:
1. Take your protein shake mixing it always only with water.
2. Take it when your body really needs it, that is when it (your body) has low levels of macro and micro nutrients, such as when you come from your many hours of sleep and / or when you finish your high intensity training routine.
3. After taking your protein shake wait a time that can fluctuate between 40 and 60 minutes to consume your food (breakfast, post-training meal).
If I am a vegetarian, what protein powder should I take?
There are protein powders made from Quinoa, soy, and even legumes. It is up to you what option to choose. The recommendations for their consumption are the same ones mentioned through this article.
First study: Nacleiro, F, Seijo-Buija, M, Larumbe-Zabal, E, Earnest, C (2017). Carbohydrates Alone or Mixing With Beef or Whey Protein Promote Similar Training Outcomes in Resistance Training Males: A Double Blind, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.
Second study: Hulmi, J. J., Laakso, M., Mero, A. A., Häkkinen, K., Ahtiainen, J. P., & Peltonen, H. (2015). The effects of whey protein with or without carbohydrates on resistance training adaptations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12, 48. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0109-4