For goodness shakes! If you think protein shakes only benefit bodybuilders and weight lifters, think again. Many athletes who participate in endurance sports, including swimmers, tend to focus on carbohydrates and pay little attention to protein. Getting not only the right amount of protein but also protein of a high quality is instrumental to building muscle. Failure to do will ultimately limit your performance during training and ultimately during races.
Of course, most of your dietary protein should come from meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However, getting all your protein from whole food is not always practical or convenient, especially if you are an elite level athlete who is training everyday. We have compiled a list of a few great protein supplements below.
What type of protein powder should I take?
Whey protein powder
This is a milk-based protein that is easily digestible and has a high ratio of the right essential amino-acids. It is also a popular protein supplement for improving muscle strength, immune function, and is used to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and bone loss.4 According to "Fueling Swimmers," by the American Dietetic Association, when swimmers are strengthening the muscles through resistance exercise before the season, more protein is necessary to support muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth.
A good daily protein amount if you are training is around 0.65 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This is all protein you should be consuming per day, not just whey. In the case of consuming whey protein powder, more is not always better. In a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," they found that 20 grams of whey protein powder was sufficient to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Also a milk based protein, casein assists in muscle growth, and reduces muscle breakdown. It is considered the “time release protein” since it is absorbed slowly by the body. This makes it the ideal protein to take before your 6-9 hour sleep so it has a high chance to reduce the negative effects of your body going into a catabolic state (where the body breaks down muscle into needed energy). In fact, a study has shown that “Casein consumption has resulted in a prolonged increase in blood amino acids that resulted in a 34% reduction in protein breakdown.”
Pea powder provides a delicious alternative source of protein for vegetarians, vegans or those following restricted diets. Yellow peas, the main ingredient in most powders, supply a unique array of amino acids, the building blocks of body tissue (including skin, hair and nails), muscles, DNA/RNA, hormones, enzymes that help your body function normally. Pea protein is a great substitute for individuals who simply cannot tolerate egg, milk and soy-derived protein due to allergies.
Soy is a plant-based protein originating from the soybean plant. Soy protein is a complete protein, like whey or whey, and is one of the only non-animal based proteins that is considered "complete", meaning it supplies all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce naturally. It is a great protein source for vegan or lactose intolerant individuals.
If you are looking at getting a protein supplement from a retail store take some caution. When you ask a sales person for a supplement that is going to make you stronger, their version of getting stronger could be very different to how a swimmer should get stronger. They might try focus on the supplements that create strength by bulking up, which is not what you want as a swimmer.
If you are looking for a supplement designed for swimmers take a look at P2Life's Nutriboost Shake. It has the perfect combination of proteins that help create strength without bulking up. It focuses on helping create lean and mean muscle.
Do protein shakes work? Read our customer reviews at the bottom of our Nutriboost Shake page to hear what others think.
Read more if you're debating whether to use milk or water in your protein shake.