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Protein is an essential building component that helps in the growth, maintenance, and repair of muscle, also it impacts strength, performance, and body composition. Thus protein powder is popular among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. However, with so many protein powder stacks on the market, it’s hard to choose which one to buy. The following guidelines help you pick the right protein powder stack for your personal fitness goals!
1. How Are Proteins Classified?
Proteins make up roughly 80% of muscle mass and they’re responsible for muscles’ structure and action. But, not all proteins are created equal. So, before we get into the protein powder stack, let’s quickly check out how proteins are classified:
- Concentrates: Concentrates proteins have 70-80% of protein, with the remaining percentage from carbohydrates, minerals, water, and fats.
- Isolates: Isolates contain up to 90% of protein with a lesser degree of non-protein nutrients.
- Hydrolysates: Hydrolysates refer to the presence of partially digested proteins including polypeptides, peptides, and amino acid building blocks that might have additional actions in the body.
2. Different Types of Protein Powders
There are many different types of proteins to choose from, each of them have their own unique aspects and potential benefits. Let’s take a look at the protein types.
- Whey Protein: Whey is a milk-based high-quality protein that’s fast-digesting and rich in BCAAs. You can get whey protein in concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed formulas.
- Casein Protein: Casein is another milk-based slow-digesting protein that comes in two forms: micellar casein (isolate) and hydrolyzed casein.
- Milk Protein: Milk Protein usually contains both whey and casein that provide both fast- and slow-digesting protein. You can get them as milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate.
- Egg Protein: Egg protein is a good choice for those who prefer a non-vegetarian (milk-free) source of complete protein.
- Pea Protein: Pea protein is a highly digestible and hypoallergenic protein rich in amino acids lysine, arginine, and glutamine. But, it’s low in EAA methionine, so, it’s not a complete protein source.
- Hemp Protein: Hemp protein is made by grinding up hemp seeds. Hemp is high in fiber and a good source of omega-3 fats, but, it’s low in lysine, so it’s an incomplete protein source.
The Best Protein Powder Stack for Your Fitness Goals
1. Lean Muscle/ Weight Loss / Fat Loss
For lean muscle or weight loss, choose a protein powder stack that higher in protein and lower in carbs and fat. Also, make sure there are no added sugars or dextrin/maltodextrins in your protein powder. And, avoid protein powder stack with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they promote muscle growth and weight gain.
2. Muscle Gain
To put on muscles, look for a protein powder stack with a high protein-to-calorie ratio. In case, if you’re struggling to consume adequate overall calories, a protein powder stack rich in carbohydrates ( Commonly named as Mass gainer ) can be helpful. Whey protein and whey isolates are the best choices for muscle gain.
3. Weight Gain
For individuals who are looking to gain weight (most often weight loss happens due to illness that reduces appetite) consider a protein powder stack that is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Especially, if you aren’t getting much other nutrition, it’s important to get all these three macronutrients.
4. Recovery/Athletic Performance
There is a range of recommended ratios of carbohydrate and protein for post-workout intake to maximize recovery, but there is no optimal ratio for that. A protein powder stack with a 2:1 or 3:1 Meal Plan carbohydrate-to-protein ratio might be beneficial for quick recovery. However, your total macronutrient and calorie consumption of the day is the most important determining factor in athletic performance and recovery.
5. Meal Replacement
If you plan to use your protein powder stack as a meal replacement, it’s important to get essential nutrients in it. There is a protein powder stack that comes with additional nutrients like good carbs and fats with essential vitamins and minerals. This meal replacement protein powder stack usually made of soy or whey protein and they help you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet,
Protein powder stacks are a quick way to help you ensure that your body gets the essential nutrients. People use them for various reasons – to gain muscles, to lose weight, to improve athletic performance, and for overall wellness. Likewise, you may have your personal fitness goals, and hope this article helps you choose the right protein powder stack for your fitness goals.
Do you find out what is the best protein powder stack for your personal fitness goals? Let me know in the comments!