So I have been a pretty active person all my life. Never really into the nutritional aspect of working out until recently I honestly was never interested in any workout supplements. I knew protein powder existed, but to ask me what whey or casein protein was I had no idea. In fact I didn’t even realize the variety of different types of protein were. To me protein was protein, a macro you needed for your body to function properly.

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Today I want to introduce you to the A, B, C’s of protein powders.

Whey: This is the popular one I’m sure you have all heard of. You might see some people carrying a protein shake while leaving the gym. And you know what this is the perfect time for a whey protein shake! Whey protein is a complete protein meaning it has all of the nine amino acids that you need in your diet. It is made from the protein in milk, the difference is it is 20% of milk protein. Meaning it has a low lactose content, so for those of you like me who have a difficult time digesting dairy products, this stuff is much more easily digestible! Whey protein powders are usually processed, where they remove most of the fat and carbohydrate content, making them 90% protein. So obviously whey protein is an excellent source of protein. It is generally related to promoting muscle protein synthesis, helping you to build lean muscle mass, that is why you will see a lot of people who regularly lift weights use this as a supplement to their workouts. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get your body moving and firing your metabolism it is also great to have right after waking. So to round it out whey protein is what you want early in the morning or right after a workout to help build muscle and repair them!

Casein: You might have heard of bodybuilders making casein pudding before bed before. Or you might have seen these jars sitting next to some whey protein at the store. Casein protein, although looking very similar, is used for a completely different purpose than whey. So what is the difference? Casein protein is made from 80% of milk protein, making it slower to digest (those of you with dairy tolerance problems might want to eat small portions to see how it affects you first). It is also a complete protein, just like whey. The major difference is instead of starting your anabolic process and digesting quickly, it does the opposite. It works as a clotting source to help feed you for a long time period. It is best used right before bed, this way instead of fasting during the night you are digesting protein helping to repair your muscles, before you get to your workout the next day. It helps speed recovery time, and is also quite a bit thicker than whey, making it great for making a pudding like substance if you are tired of shakes. For the avid exercisers casein is a great investment to make.

Pea: Vegan, or just don’t have good luck with dairy products, pea might be worth investing in. Pea protein is made from the yellow split peas. Unfortunately like many vegetarian and vegan proteins it does not contain all 9 amino acids so it is technically not a complete protein. What pea protein is though is easier to digest. It is also allergen free! So if whey gives you tummy problems check out some pea protein, some protein after you workout or wake up is certainly better than none!

Egg: So you have trouble with dairy products, but you aren’t a vegan or avoiding animal products, then egg is the protein powder for you. It is made from dehydrated egg whites. The yolks and fat is removed, so it is just pure protein from eggs. Although it is the most expensive protein blend, it offers many vitamins, minerals and clean protein.

Coming from someone somewhat new to protein powders it can be difficult to navigate through a health and fitness store. There are so many options and we all know the feeling of not wanting to sound dumb, for lack of a better word. So next time you are walking around a GNC you have somewhat of a guide to go off of!