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Maximize performance with protein powders

Protein powders can go a long way towards aiding your muscle’s recovery and growth

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There are many supplements that can benefit our health when taken correctly. When it comes to fitness and building muscle, protein is essential. Though the amount of protein our bodies need depends on many factors, such as weight, activity level and overall health, supplemental protein and protein powders can provide major benefits when used safely (always consult your physician before adding a supplement to your diet).

If you regularly exercise and perform some kind of resistance training (weightlifting, resistance band exercises, etc.) protein powders can go a long way towards aiding your muscle’s recovery and growth.

When we train our muscles, we typically create micro-tears within them that force the regeneration of new muscle fibers. Added protein to our diets can be very supportive to this process.

While protein powders can be pricey, they also make great meal replacement supplements for those trying to lose weight and build muscle at the same time – increasing their value.

Choosing the right protein powder

Protein powders are plentiful on Amazon, at health stores and at pretty much any supermarket you walk into. Protein powder options include everything from plant-based to whey isolate, casein and other types of powders.

There are also a ton of different brands to choose from, further complicating the selection process easy.

When it comes to purchasing protein powder, I personally consider quality of ingredients and price. Although you can buy protein powders that taste like your favorite cereal (Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles anyone?), I try to stick to brands with less ingredients and less processed products.

With so many protein powders to choose from, you have to choose one that works for you, keeping in mind, taste, price, quality, etc.).

Whey protein powers

When it comes to rapid digestion, whey protein is the gold standard, and this is why you’ll often see people reach for their protein shaker directly after a workout.

Levels Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Each scoop of Levels Whey Protein powder contains 24 grams of protein, 5.4 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), with no added sugars, and no hormones, GMOs, soy, gluten, bleach, fillers or artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Made in the U.S., Levels Whey protein powders come in a variety of serving sizes and flavors.

Shop now: Whey protein powder

Plant-based protein powders

I’ve found plant-based protein powders make great meal replacement shakes along with fruit and veggies.

Garden of Life Vegan Protein Powder

With 20g of plant protein, customers report Garden of Life Vegan Protein Powder meal replacement beverage keeps them full. This powder contains whole food vitamins and minerals, plus raw probiotics, prebiotics, superfoods and digestive enzymes in four flavors, including a lightly sweet flavor and vanilla chai.

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Shop now: Plant-based protein powder

Casein protein powders

Finally, casein protein, found in cottage cheese, is going to be the slowest digesting protein powder. These shakes also tend to be heavier and thicker, but many folks use casein to make healthy deserts or treats, like casein pudding – get the recipe.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein Protein Powder

Each serving of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Casein Protein Powder contains 24 grams of protein and 9 grams of naturally occurring essential amino acids, with 0-2 grams of sugar.

The protein powder mixes easily with a shaker cup, perfect for packing in your gym or duty bag as part of your training routine. It’s available in 25 or 53 serving quantities in four popular flavors.

Shop now: Casein protein powder

Regardless of which product you choose to purchase, supplemental protein in your diet is paramount for recovery and growth. First responders can benefit greatly from this and should consider incorporating it into their lifestyle.

Ahmad Taha is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and Certified Athletic Trainer. He started his career at Boston EMS in 2016, transitioning to the Sharon Fire Department in 2021. At both agencies, Ahmad has been heavily involved in creating and maintaining a Health and Wellness program that is second to none and inclusive to all. His experience in training bodybuilding and weight loss clients has translated smoothly to first responders, helping them implement proper body mechanics and strategies for injury prevention and longevity in their careers.