Whey protein seems to be one of those things people seem to buy by default when they start lifting. They think they need it but have no idea why or how much. To understand how much you should take, consider the following factors.
Finding Your Daily Total
The general consensus is that serious muscle building requires around 1-1.5g of protein per lb of body weight every day, so get on the scale and work out what you need. If you have been lifting for less than a year, the 1g for 1lb ratio should be perfect. So people that weigh 200lbs need 200g of protein every day to build muscle.
Consider your diet
Whey protein should be used to supplement your diet, rather than as your main source of protein. While monitoring your food intake is not as easy as counting scoops of powder, most people will get some protein through their diet. To keep things easy, you can just ignore your dietary protein intake and just count the shakes. Going a little over your daily target shouldn’t do you much harm, but ideally you want to get most of your protein through lean meat and fish instead of shakes.
How many shakes?
Every protein powder will have a different percentage of protein, so have a look at the side of the tub and see how many grams you get per scoop. Broadly speaking you should get about 20g of protein per 25g scoop. If you take the estimated protein absorption limit of 30-50g at once, you should be looking to get 2 scoops at a time. That’ll give you about 40g of protein per shake. Take your daily limit, take away your dietary protein intake, and divide the remainder by 40 to get the amount of protein shakes you should take each day.
When should you take whey protein?
This is an area which seems to be constantly debated. Most people will agree that getting protein before and after your workouts is most effective, so that’s 2 of your shakes right there. The rest depends on your schedule and your diet. Personally, I’ll have a shake alongside my oatmeal in the morning and another before bed as well as my workout shakes. Some people prefer one a couple of hours after breakfast and another between lunch and dinner. Just find what works for you and make sure you’re hitting your daily target – Keep it straightforward.