During the last 12 months of training we have been trying different combinations of protein sources. From the supplements to the naturally sourced. weather smashing the gym as a lone wolf or working alongside a personal trainer, protein is essential to maintain a healthy body and to build muscle. We have found that depending on time, money and taste there are different proteins to suit you.
1: The Protein Supplement
Essential for those on a high protein diet and busy lifestyle. Running from the gym, to work and home sometimes eating is hard. Have you ever tried to eat 25-30g of chicken as a snack to maintain levels. It can leave you dry mouthed, hating chicken and then there is the box or packet it came in to deal with!. Protein powders can be the difference between hitting that goal or missing those gains. Protein powders range from the cheap with full of additives to the average priced good flavours to the high end organic types.
We have found that a good protein like myprotein, bulkpowders, BCN, Whey and many others can be easy on the pocket, good taste without too many additives. There is so much choice out there but you need to read and compare depending on your dietary requirements, spare money and flavour. I highly suggest getting samples of different types either through free giveaways or buying the 99p – £2.99 packets. Think ahead especially with the market, you can get daily offers and sometimes bag £200 of protein, vitamins and snacks for £120.
– Easy to measure out
– Easy to track in your macros
– Easy to take with you to the gym, work or even the cinema
– Easy to make and consume
– Cost (varies on brand and amount purchased)
– The dreaded protein shaker left unwashed
– Tastes can vary
– Most have added sugars or carbs
2: The Natural Way
The best way to hit those protein macros is eating a variety of meats, nuts and other natural sources. The again has its pros and cons. The best thing is eating wholesome foods rich in protein, it makes you fuller than a shake, makes you stop to eat and allows you to make it taste good. We tend to eat a lot of chicken, beef and nuts. Again each has its own positives and negatives.
Chicken – can be bland, need to try different spices and takes time to prepare. (Preparation up to 3 days for decent fresh taste)
Beef – great and tasty but comes with the high quantity of fats and can be very tough if left in the fridge longer than 2 days.
Nuts – great and tasty but again the high fat content can throw off your other macros. We throw in cashew nuts when making a salad/stir fry or like the boyfriend eat peanut butter as a dip or as a quick spoon full snack.
So with this in mind it has to be said I enjoy cooking dinner and prepping the next days food alongside. Just be careful reheating or keeping cooked and uncooked chicken.
– Better quality of protein
– Better for the body to digest and absorb (no processed foods)
– More options than a shake
– Time to prepare
– Storage and reheating considerations
– Lugging around the quantity of chicken/beef you need for the day
At the end of the day we would recommend to combine both sources and balance your week between prepping food, work and enjoying food. I tend to have a shake in the bag for an emergency we need to eat moment but try to eat fully from cooked foods. When you have been working with your nutrition awhile you will understand portion sizes and macros without thinking then having a mixture can be easy to exchange at time.