Do Bodybuilders Need Protein Powder & How Does it Help?
Published on May 26, 2020
By Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Chief In- House Doctor
BAMS, DHA, DHHCM, DHBTC | 30+ Years of Experience
Protein is vital for the growth and development of all body tissue, while amino acids in protein are essential for muscle growth. Not surprisingly, protein supplements are the most popular of all muscle-building supplements for bodybuilders. Protein powders can be used in a variety of forms, such as in protein shakes, protein bars, or in capsules. Although many of the benefits are overhyped and misrepresented by marketers, protein powders are invaluable to bodybuilders when the required amount of protein cannot be obtained through food consumption. To determine your need for protein and the appropriate dosage, it is advisable to consult your doctor or a dietician.
From the perspective of bodybuilding there are two main benefits of protein powder consumption. The first of these is enhanced muscle growth. Protein shakes are widely consumed by bodybuilders to help build bulk after strength training workouts. This is supported by research, which shows that regular protein supplementation can significantly increase strength training workout (resistance and weight training) gains in terms of muscle size and strength. Although equally effective in both genders, the results start to decline with age, as protein requirements increase with age. It’s worth noting that researchers also found no additional benefits when protein intake exceeded 1.6 grams per kilo of bodyweight.
The other significant benefit of protein powder supplementation for bodybuilders is the reduction in post exercise recovery times. Delayed recovery can impair one’s ability to workout and consequently limit further gains. Protein can have the opposite effect, speeding up recovery and reducing muscle soreness after exercise. This is because protein plays a vital role in the repair of damaged tissue, including muscles. Studies have confirmed this benefit, showing aided recovery, reduced muscle damage, and improved muscle performance.
A Word of Caution
There can be no doubt that dietary intake of nutrients is always healthier and more effective than supplementation. However, this is often impractical, especially when dealing with protein requirements for bodybuilders or athletes. Trying to get all of your protein requirements from food can actually lead to decreased intake of other healthy foods including fresh fruits and vegetables. When supplementing with protein powders just make sure that you are getting the right dosage. The biggest long term risk of protein supplementation is that of kidney or liver damage. Studies show that in addition to organ damage, excess protein intake can also adversely affect calcium levels and bone health.
Don’t forget that there are other nutrients beyond protein that can help promote muscle growth. Ayurvedic herbs are particularly helpful and some good choices include ashwagandha, shatavari, and safed musli. Our Herbobuild supplement for bodybuilders contains all three ingredients and is the perfect alternative to steroids and synthetic supplements.
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