The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

What's the Scoop on Protein Powders?

My dad, is a Protein Powder junkie. I say that with all the affection a son can give. Perhaps junkie is a bit extreme. That's just the impression I got when I saw the 10 gallon jug of powder he religiously mixes up each morning.

The store where we bought our treadmill, has a "Fitness Bucks" loyalty program. We had accumulated approximately $70 worth. Last night, I picked up 2 jugs of powder. Bavarian Chocolate Mousse and StrawNanna delight. My first thought was, I'll give them to my dad. But, after talking with the very knowledgeable sales guy, maybe I'll try them for myself.

After my spin last night, I tried the Bavarian Chocolate, in a glass of milk. My first impression was that contrary to the label -- this stuff is not fast dissolving. I was pleasantly suprised with the taste - or lack thereof. It wasn't nearly as chalky as I expected.

This morning, with breakfast, I had the Strawberry Banana - this one was suprisingly tasty.

But what I really wanna know is - Why?

My preliminary intelligence report suggests that
a) Whey Protein Powder is a major source of Protein.
b) Protein helps muscles.
c) The body needs a certain amount of protein daily to prevent muscle degeneration.
d) The protein in whey powder is much easier to digest than that found in meats.

Should I take it?
a) I'm not going in thinking this stuff is a magic bullet that will vault me from mid-pack to the podium.
b) I'm not going in thinking this stuff is a replacement to exercise.
c) I'm not trying to "Bulk-up".
d) I'm thinking this stuff will help maximize the return on my workout investment - by maintaining muscles that are used with each of my workouts.

Other questions:
a) When to take it? Every day? Only on workout days? After a workout? Before?
b) How much? (One 33g scoop of the stuff I bought last night has 25g of Protein)
c) Do I even need it?
d) Is it healthy?
e) Are there any side effects?
f) Are there any other natural sources that are healthier?

Anyone out there have any thoughts?