Do You Need Protein Powder?

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No. No. No. No. No protein powders. At least, that's what I used to think. Only for the past two months, I've been on a lifestyle changing journey. Ultimately, I've been trying to shape myself and my life to reflect my passions and ideal life more. A part of that is to lose all the weight I've gained in college. And so far, it's been a success. Before spring break (we don't speak of what's occurred during spring break), I was nearing the 10-pound mark.

However, upon coming home for spring break—whether this is coincidence or not—I suddenly experienced incredible fatigue. Mostly leg fatigue, since I've become a runner. Not even five minutes in and I'd be tired. My legs felt like someone came during the night and surgically replaced my bones with LEAD. If that's the case, I'm blaming the protein powder junkies. They knew I was going to write an article about this and influence millions of readers (canyouhearthesarcasminmyvoicerightnow). I'm calling it right now.

But seriously, WTF, body? I was losing weight, eating healthy. Was my body trying to sabotage me? (Just so you're up to date, my workout regime was: all-body weights 3X a week for 30 minutes, 25-30 minutes of cardio, usually running.)

Thankfully, I was talking about this phenomenon with my uncle, otherwise I would have chalked that up the "Michelle is not an athlete" column and called it quits! He, and a bunch of savvy internet articles, informed me I was not getting enough protein. Now, I had been vegetarian for three years and had just started eating meat again this past summer. I had never even encountered this level of fatigue before. Not that I'm advocating against vegetarianism. Groove on, yo. I'm just saying that for those of us that are building lean (or bulky) muscle, more protein is definitely necessary.

Charlotte at Wild Things RUN Free says that some of the signs of not getting enough protein include: headaches, fatigue, and loss of energy. Oh man... I've been wondering why I was getting more headaches lately—nothing to do with hangovers, of course....

So, now what? Don't only bodybuilders drink protein shakes? Am I going to be one of those people shaking those bottle shakers like bodybuilding maracas? Am I buying into the industry that sells me completely useless stuff?

Well, I like to conduct a ton of research before I part with any money, my dear little friends. First of all, if you're a woman and you don't want to build up bulk, protein powder will do nothing. Like people have said time and time again, women do not build up bulk. We all invalidate this by pointing to any women bodybuilder, so the key word is "easily." We do not bulk up easily. We build lean muscle first, which is definitely what you want so that you can spike your metabolism.

Now, I had to tackle what kind of protein powder to get. I'll give a quick rundown.

Two categories: animal-based, vegetable-based

Within animal based: milk protein derivatives, whey (most popular), goat's milk, egg white.

Within vegetable based: soy, rice, pea and hemp proteins.

If you're also thinking of protein powders, choose your poison above and then google best brand of that category.

Remember, not everyone needs protein powders. According to WebMD:

  • When you're growing
  • Starting a program
  • Amping up workouts
  • Recovering from injury
  • Going vegan

Since I was only some of one of the above, we have to remember that these cases are individual. Apparently, my body just needs more protein than others.

What's your stance on protein powders? If you do take protein supplements, how have they changed your workouts?

For more on health/fitness, recipes, and laughs, check out my blog at Mishfish13!

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