Protein is an essential part of our diet, and is particularly important for cyclists and other athletes, because it helps to rebuild muscle after vigorous activity. Protein also supports the immune system and helps the body to burn off excess fat and calories, keeping everything ticking over smoothly.
For cyclists there is always a lot of talk about carbs, because they give the energy boost needed to make it through a gruelling session on the bike. However protein is just as important for recovery after the ride, and it’s not just for bodybuilders as some may think. All athletes need to recover after training.
You get protein from your diet, but if you need a boost, or if you don’t feel like eating a heavy meal after exercise, then a protein shake is a convenient alternative.
There are countless options to choose from, which can render decision-making almost impossible for some. Therefore it’s important to know exactly what to look for when choosing the best protein powder for you.
How to choose the best protein powder
First things first, it’s important to check how much protein is included in each serving. Opt for at least 20-30 grams of protein per serving so you get the full benefits of the supplement.
You should also check the level of carbohydrates, sugar and overall calories. If you’re trying to shed fat, it’s good to avoid high-calorie protein powder, and avoid a sugar overload.
If you want a bigger boost in performance, look for powders that also contain creatine, L-carnitine and caffeine.
Another factor to consider is the protein base itself: the most common is whey, which is derived from milk protein, however there’s now a huge rise in plant-based protein alternatives, including soy, brown rice, hemp, pea, and others. Textures can vary between different protein sources so it’s sometimes best to try a few to see what you prefer.