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The Men's Fitness Guide To Supplements: Part I – Protein

Protein is the most abundant supplement in the fitness industry, so you better know your brands, your ingredients and how they affect your body.
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The last thing you need in your quest to improve your health and fitness is to wander aimlessly through the aisles of your local supplement store. With that in mind, Men's Fitness has polled our experts and advisers to come up with this supplement buyer's guide.

The following article will help you decide which protein supplements you need to enhance your workout and achieve the results you've always dreamed of - fast!

Protein Guide

Protein in a mass-building or get-lean diet is a lot like a mutual fund or a 401(k) plan: You know you need it, but you're not always sure which one to pick. There are simply so many of them. But just as diversifying your investment portfolio is crucial to long-term wealth, so too is including a variety of different proteins in your daily meal plan.

The proteins found in whole foods like beef, poultry, fish, and dairy are vital, but so are those found in protein powders, bars and ready-made shakes. The problem is, with the growth of the supplement industry in the past couple of decades, there seem to be just as many different proteins in stores as there are mutual funds on Wall Street.

Therefore, we've put together this guide to navigating your way through the different tubs, bars and shakes present in the protein marketplace today.

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Protein Bars

Assuming you don't have ample time (or desire) to prep every meal and snack, convenience is a big deal. And that's where meal replacement bars come in handy. If you're hurrying out the door for work, throw a bar in your bag. If you're afraid of getting stuck in the office with nothing healthy to eat, keep a box of bars at your desk.

Many bars on the market these days include protein, fats, and carbs, making these a bars a small meal to tide you over until the next one. Plus, there are a number of low-carb bars available that include sugar alcohols, which aren't readily absorbed in the body like regular sugars.

Because the protein doesn't absorb as fast as in liquid form, bars aren't ideal pre- and post-workout, but otherwise, they're fine to include in your diet in moderation.

OhYeah! Bars

OhYeah! Bars

Manufacturer: ISS Research
Serving Size: 1 Bar
Sample Flavor: Creamy Vanilla & Caramel
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 28/33/14

Whey Protein

When it comes to building muscle, nothing beats whey. It's the best protein for stimulating muscle gains before and after workouts. The best whey powders on the market contain whey protein isolate (WPI) and/or whey protein hydrolysates (WPH)-these are the purest forms of whey, they digest the quickest, and they get to your muscles fast.

Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is good, too, but it contains higher amounts of carbs and fats, which slows its breakdown. So when it comes to making that initial muscle-building supplement purchase, start with a protein powder that's either 100% whey or a blend with whey as its first ingredient.

100% Whey Power

100% Whey Power

Manufacturer: Bodybuilding.com Supplements
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Sample Flavor: Chocolate
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 25/6/3

Casein Protein

Whey is great because of its fast-absorbing nature, but there's certainly a time for a slower-digesting protein as well, namely casein. Casein is ideal before bedtime for providing a steady trickle of aminos during your overnight fast, and it's even been found to enhance muscle building when added to whey in a post-workout shake. Look for a powder that includes micellar casein, the slowest digesting casein of them all (forms listed as "caseinates" are good as well). Bottom line: any smart supplement plan includes casein.

Eating 4-to-6 small meals per day may help to spike calorie burn by up to 10%

Gold Standard 100% Casein

Gold Standard 100% Casein

Manufacturer: Optimum Nutrition
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Sample Flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 24/3/1

Milk Protein

Take out most of the carbs and fat in milk, and you end up with a product known as milk protein. Milk protein is 80% casein and 20% whey, so it's relatively slow digesting. A mixed protein powder that includes milk protein can still be fine pre- and post-workout, as long as whey is listed before it on the ingredients list. When shopping, look for the words milk protein isolate, which designates its purest form, or milk protein concentrate.

Power Pak Pudding

Power Pak Pudding

Manufacturer: MHP
Serving Size: 1 can
Sample Flavor: Vanilla Creme
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 30/9 (Choc)/4.5

Egg White Protein

Before whey was discovered, this was the protein of choice. Egg white protein is very high quality, and in terms of speed of digestion, it's slower than whey but faster than casein. So while on its own it's not the best around workout time, a mixed powder containing egg white, whey, and casein protein can be effective at virtually any time of the day. In other words, you'll be supplying your body with a combination of fast-, slow-, and medium-digesting proteins to keep muscles growing at all times.

100% Pure Liquid Egg Whites

100% Pure Liquid Egg Whites

Manufacturer: Egg Whites International
Serving Size: 1/2 Cup
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 13/1/0

Beef Protein

Rest assured, we're not talking about beef bouillon cubes here or anything that tastes remotely like red meat. (Ironically, it comes in fruit flavors.) Beef protein powder, as the name implies, comes from actual beef that's had nearly all of its fat stripped away. As a result, it digests very quickly, making it a worthy substitution for whey for those who have a milk-protein allergy.

MuscleMeds

Carnivor

Manufacturer: MuscleMeds
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Sample Flavor: Cherry Vanilla
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 23/6/0

Soy Protein

While soy protein isolate is fairly fast digesting, its real benefit is its ability to boost nitric oxide levels, increase growth hormone release, and aid muscle recovery following workouts. And if there is still any doubt about its effects on testosterone and estrogen levels, let us confirm that the latest research concludes suggests that soy does not decrease testosterone or raise estrogen levels in men.

Probolic-SR

Probolic-SR

Manufacturer: MHP
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Sample Flavor: Banana Cream
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 20/2/4

Ready-to-Drink Shakes (RTDs)

Once again, we're talking about convenience, and RTDs are very low maintenance. Just crack the top and drink.

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Like bars, RTDs travel well and store easily at your workplace, also, they're always better when chilled. Though not a horrible choice around workouts, RTDs still aren't your best bet before or after training; they typically contain just milk protein, which is 80% casein (the slow-digesting stuff). When possible, save them for snacks.

TIP - Always include some simple carbohydrates in your post-workout shake to ensure maximum growth.

Muscle Milk RTD

Muscle Milk RTD

Manufacturer: CytoSport
Serving Size: 17 Fl Oz
Sample Flavor: Chocolate Milk
Protein/Carbs/Fat (g): 34/17/17

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 Comments

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AJacks92

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AJacks92

Great article. Clarifies which protein to consume during the day.

Jul 6, 2012 10:11pm | report
 
justin24jmkn

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justin24jmkn

Agreed.

Jul 7, 2012 12:28am | report
 
skshani

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skshani

i like it

Jul 7, 2012 6:54am | report
 
kcyril

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kcyril

Great job

Jul 7, 2012 7:07am | report
 
oneshot2ky

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oneshot2ky

no mention of ice cream? I have been eatin ice cream after my workouts for 3 monthes now and see good gains. creamy richness supplied with milk protein has gotten me good gains . carbs r in there too when i add on choocoloat or caramal as a topping.

Jul 7, 2012 9:25am | report
 
chuck2334

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chuck2334

Ice cream has eggs and milk, so you have eggs and milk protein most likely.

Jul 8, 2012 11:51pm | report
jflow47

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jflow47

finally no more confusion. Very specific and helpful

Jul 7, 2012 12:05pm | report
 
BTown249

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BTown249

awesome article! whey has always been my main protein powder of choice..but nothing beats a good, wholesome, filling post-workout meal.

Jul 7, 2012 12:13pm | report
 
Storm88

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Storm88

Great write up.

Jul 7, 2012 12:31pm | report
 
eloblivion

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eloblivion

lol @ 1.5grams of protein required, so false

Jul 7, 2012 2:12pm | report
 
TheJackyl85

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TheJackyl85

agreed

Jul 7, 2012 4:43pm | report
gangledupjoe

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gangledupjoe

Agreed....MAYBE 1.5 grams per pound of LEAN body mass. But, honestly, I take in about 1-1.2 grams per pound of LBM. (about 170-200 grams/day)

Jul 8, 2012 4:20pm | report
Jhemre

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Jhemre

Agreed...

Jul 9, 2012 12:44pm | report
GavriloPrincip

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GavriloPrincip

Can't expect Bodybuilding.com to want to tell the truth that not even close to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight are required. After all, they do make money off of people purchasing crazy amounts of whey protein.

Jul 7, 2012 5:55pm | report
 
eloblivion

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eloblivion

fair point

Jul 8, 2012 2:16pm | report
accuchek

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accuchek

Pretty good article for the new trainer. Protein intake seems a bit high though!

Jul 7, 2012 11:01pm | report
 
renzoresu

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renzoresu

Sibak awesome post sibak

Jul 8, 2012 5:38am | report
 
daltrain

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daltrain

Very Informative!! A breakdown of what you need and when you need it.

Jul 8, 2012 8:58am | report
 
Pirolai

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Pirolai

Great article about protein and what each one does awesome!

Article Rated:
Jul 8, 2012 10:47am | report
 
TropicalLo

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TropicalLo

Lol does anyone else here cycle protien powder?Like buy one brand and when its gone buy another ;)

Jul 8, 2012 4:36pm | report
 
BamaBorn

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BamaBorn

All the time. Cant tell the difference in one from the other to tell you the truth

Jul 9, 2012 11:05am | report
Steve1124

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Steve1124

My question is, What do the Monsters in prison do? Do they get the chance to select from an ample amount of diferent types o all this Protein? I don't think so.

Article Rated:
Jul 8, 2012 9:28pm | report
 
tommyb87

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tommyb87

they get lots of rest after workouts.

Jul 9, 2012 10:26am | report
Horus

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Horus

You know, I've wondered the same. Sure, they can sleep a lot, but that isn't nearly as important as the protein intake. How on Earth can they eat what we're told we should eat for building muscle mass? And why let them?! But that's another issue... :)

Jul 10, 2012 1:50pm | report
BPHENOMB

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BPHENOMB

i worked with a guy who was in prison for a while, he said they worked jobs like in the kitchen and doing laundry and things like that, and they earned money that could be spent on anything in a catalog which included supplements like protein and other things.

Jul 18, 2012 8:32pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 47 Comments

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