As athletes and fitness enthusiasts, we’ve all tried to gain muscle mass at one time or another. Some of us have gain muscle easy at the time while at other times it may seem to be a bit harder to make the gains we want and yet others of us may seem to struggle a lot more often. Don’t worry, it’s probably not your fault.
Often time’s people are hitting the gym, eating a specific diet and still not getting the results they imagined. The most common steps we take are as follows:
1. Firstly, we’ll start to work out. Gaining muscle takes consistency and a diverse exercise regimen where resistance is applied to the body. This can be lifting weights, plyometric training or even something like running or surfing. A variety of activities will push the body in different ways and cause it to firm and strengthen itself.
2. Secondly, we’ll typically tighten up our meals and eat complete protein foods like chicken, salmon and beef. Although these are great, sources of protein at times it gets tough to consume enough protein from only whole food choices. It is necessary to eat 1 gram to 1.5 grams of protein per every pound of body weight on a daily basis to maintain and strengthen our muscles. We all want to keep the muscles we work hard for.
3. Thirdly, we start to take protein supplements. In today’s busy world, many of us find it hard to take in the amount of protein needed to maintain and gain the muscle we want, so we turn to protein supplements to help. This can be beneficial but also poses some problems if we’re not careful.
In this article, we will take a look at those potential problems and make sure we know how to avoid them.
What most people do not know is that supplements are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that you cannot be sure of what is in the supplement you are taking. With the absence of strict regulation, many companies find tricks and loopholes to boost profit margins and make cheap quality supplements look better than they really are. This is why knowing how to read nutrition and supplement facts panels is so important as well as finding a reputable company you can trust.
False Protein Claims
One of the most common problems with protein supplements on the market today is that many protein supplements include additives that spike nitrogen levels for testing, so it looks like you’re getting higher amounts of protein in your protein supplement when in fact the protein levels are exaggerated and much lower. One example of this is L-Taurine, which is an amino acid and will boost nitrogen levels, but is not actually a complete protein source and will not help you build muscle like complete proteins do. Often times supplement companies add L-Taurine to protein powder to boost nitrogen levels while keeping their costs down.
In recent times, soy has also become very popular because of the many benefits that nutritionists claim. This would include protection from prostate and breast cancer and the lowering of cholesterol. However, what you may not know is that it has adverse effects on men.
1. Lowered libido and erectile dysfunction.
2. Lowered sperm count.
3. Breast enlargement.
4. Increases of estrogen levels in men.
It is also known to suppress thyroid function, which more complications and serious conditions arise when the thyroid is not functioning properly. For example, anxiety and mood swings, insomnia, difficulty in losing weight, difficulty in having children, as well as having digestive problems.
With this, the question most of us will have is, “How do I pick a high-quality protein?” First, make sure you have a good workout program in place and a tight meal plan before you turn to protein supplements. Protein supplements should do just that, supplement protein you would normally get from whole food. Once you have that in place, there are four general rules you can use to help you choose a good protein supplement.
1. Know what you want from your protein. Do you want a protein supplement or do you want a meal replacement supplement? If you want a protein supplement, stick to the protein supplements that only have proteins in them. If you want a meal replacement, look for those supplements that have what you would get in a meal; protein, carbohydrates, some fats and vitamins.
2. Get used to looking at the nutrition facts panel or the supplements facts panel. If you see a lot of extra additives in you protein supplement, a general rule of thumb is to stay away from those supplements. After all, you’re buying a protein supplement for protein, not a lot of extra additives. Also, if you start to see a lot of extra amino acids that are not branch chain amino acids, they could be included in the formula to spike the nitrogen levels and make it look like you are getting more protein than you really are. This is typically a red flag for me.
3. As a general rule, men should stay away from protein, which includes soy in it. Many protein supplements include soy, but do not list soy on the front of the label, so make sure you take the time to look at the facts panel and individual ingredients listed in the protein supplement.
4. Don’t judge protein by its price. We’ve all heard, you get what you pay for. This couldn’t be any more true than with protein. A lot of the reason companies, can offer two for one price on protein or very cheap prices on protein is because of tricks like amino spiking and offering low-grade proteins. Take the time to look at the label and do a little research.
At the end of they day, whatever protein you buy will end up in your body, so do yourself a favor and take the time to know what you are buying. There are several honest companies that produce high-quality supplements for their customers. Make sure you seek them out and support those companies that are honest and produce high-quality supplements for you.