5 Ways To Choose The Right Protein Powder For Your Goals

Having trouble choose what protein supplement is right for you? Joey Vaillancourt gives your 5 ways to to choose the right protein powder for your goals.

Protein PowderProteins are the building blocks required to repair and grow muscle tissue when participating in any type of activity that breaks down muscle tissue including particularly in our case, progressive resistance training.

Examples of common protein rich foods include chicken, beef, eggs, milk, cheese, fish and of course supplementary protein sources known as protein powders.

There are proteins found in potatoes, rice, pasta and nuts, but the majority of proteins found in these sources are not considered to be ‘essential’ proteins and their bioavailability is not as high as what is found in the meats and dairy groups. Therefore, when calculating our daily protein needs, it is best to only count the ‘complete/essential’ proteins.

Typically to gain muscle mass or even lose fat, you have to keep your protein intake high. A good rule of thumb to calculate protein for lean muscle gain is to multiply your lean body mass by 1-1.5. Then we would want to divide that intake into 5-6 meals over the course of the day.

Now to anyone who is a newbie to this concept, the thought of eating 6 chicken breasts a day or 8 eggwhites each meal can seem like a daunting task. Fear not as there is an alternative to eating 6 whole food protein sources a day that is guaranteed to deliver just as good as results.

The alternative is to ingest 2-3 protein powders in the form of a protein shake.

There are several advantages to consuming 2-3 protein shakes in place of whole food protein sources throughout the day and they include:

  • Convenience
  • Faster absorption for post-workout protein requirements
  • Better absorption and digestion
  • Constant flood of amino acids at all times

By now It should be clear that including a good protein powder in one’s diet is very beneficial in ingesting your daily protein requirements. The tricky part is trying to pick a GOOD protein powder that will contribute to muscle gain and not break the bank.

My 5 ways To Pick A Good Protein Powder

Mass Gainer VS Protein Powder

First, you need to understand that not all protein powders are created equally.

First there are powders that are known as mass gainers. A mass gainer is basically a powder that includes proteins, carbs and fats. Although, all three of those macronutrients are required in a diet, when picking a protein powder, a person should never purchase a mass gainer if they really only want a protein powder.

Some people who are new to lifting often make the mistake of purchasing one of these so called protein powders not knowing that they are also consuming much more than just protein which may contribute to excess fat gain due to the excess calories.

When choosing a powder make sure it has the following:

  • Low fat (1-5 grams is ok)
  • Low carb (1-5 grams is ok)
  • High protein (normailly about 20-30 grams per serving)

The Test of Time

Another factor to consider when picking a protein powder is to find out how long that company or product has been on the market.

My general guideline is to only consider products that have been around for at least three years and have received positive feedback.

Normally, if a product lasts this long it is because it is a quality product that people continue to purchase because it works.

Natural and Pure Powders

The quality of a protein powder is in my opinion more important than the total quantity of protein.

Always look at the label when deciding on a protein powder and make sure it doesn’t contain any more that 7-10 ingredients. Also, try and find a powder with more natural ingredients. Typically if you have a hard time pronouncing all the ingredient names, that might be a sign to put that one down and look for another one.

When choosing a powder it is also important to never get pulled in by advertisements that states it has so called added ingredients that will promote even more muscle growth.

Supplement companies use a dirty little trick where they will include a small trace amount of an extra ingredient that may be helpful in promoting more muscle gain on its own, but the amounts they include in their product is not enough to make a significant difference. When they do this, the price is normally inflated and not worth considering.

Concentrate, Isolate or Casein?

There is also lots of debate as to which type of protein is the best to ingest. To make this simple, here is what you need to know.

In my experience, I have tried them all at different times in my training and have found that it really doesn’t make a difference. Of course, that is just my opinion, but that being said, if you have the money and you truly believe the type of protein will make a or break your results, then here is a basic guideline.

  • Joey VaillancourtConcentrate – This is a good source of protein powder that is absorbed at a moderate pace. Typically it is good to include this type between meals.
  • Isolate – This type of protein is more rapidly absorbed and is recommended to have immediately following a workout to shuttle proteins and amino acids into the starving muscle cells.
  • CaseinCasein has a longer digestion period, more so that concentrate and isolate. Bodybuilders and many athletes normally include this type of protein as their final meal before bed as it provides a constant flood of aminos throughout the night time fast during sleep.

Stay Away From The Hype

Supplements are notorious for hyping up their products with unrealistic claims and promises. DO NOT buy into the hype of major companies that price their product above and beyond what you really need to pay.

I am not saying their products are not good or that you will not see results with them, but rather, they are just not worth the cost they are charging. Take the time to compare ingredients, company track records and do not let the hype influence your decision.

I get my protein powder from a very generic company. The packaging is simple and there is not any excessive marketing tactics behind the product. The product is simply composed of high quality ingredients and I trust the company. That’s all that matters.

Joey Vaillancourt is the author of the muscle building program, Bones to Buff.

About The Author
I am a former skinny/out of shape guy who turned his entire life around by doing the same thing you are doing today…searching for answers to a better body.

175 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 03/23/2016 - 04:46

hey ! i want to ask that my weight is 90 kg and i want to reduce weight and get my muscles to cut . i have been exercising from 4 years just tell me which whey protein should i take ...i am totally confused , to take either casein or isolate protein please respond as quick as possible .waiting for your helpful advice

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Posted Wed, 10/28/2015 - 15:27

I keep seeing all this help for guys but nobody approaches women, is it the same idea for the ectomorph women who don't think thigh gaps and flimsy weak arms are attractive for her either? :-) I need to add a low sugar blend in with my 6 meals and can't narrow it down.

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Posted Wed, 09/30/2015 - 10:23

Hi sir.
My age is 19. I have just joined gym 1 month back.
My weight is 64. I want to gain mussels. I am looking for a good supplement. Could you please tell which supplement should i take. Please sir. i look thin. So i want to gain mussels. My height is 5ft 11 inches.
Thank you
Your Fan

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Posted Wed, 10/14/2015 - 00:38

tbh i dont know everything but id say you should take a mass gainer, considering the fact it has carbs and fats for bulking.

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Posted Wed, 09/30/2015 - 07:07
Pasha Harzandi

Dear Mr. Vaillancourt
During the 3 past weeks I was reading to know if it’s safe to use nutritional supplements (including Whey-Protein, Glutamine and BCAA) or not. Until I found the “Muscle and Strength” website and after reading the related articles I got convinced that it can be safe to use those supplements. So I bought them from a reliable local dealer.
The whey-protein I bought is the brand “JAY CUTLER Elite SeriesTM, Total Protein”.
As you’ve recommended in your article, “5 Ways to choose the right protein powder for your goals” I read the ingredients and something caught my attention.
Not only this brand, but also the other brands that I checked, contain “Acesulfame-k”, “Sucralose” or other artificial sweeteners.
According to my previous searches on side-effects of these sweeteners, they can be extremely harmful to our bodies. I’m not going to mention those effects in this email because I’m sure you are well aware of them. Here is the link, in case you want to review those side effects again:
I checked the FDA website to make sure if they are really approved or not; and yes they are approved. The point is, FDA has restricted the allowable amount of these sweeteners each person can consume per a day. For example for Sucralose it is 15mg/Kg bw/day.
Unfortunately it is not stated, on any of the whey-protein bottles, that each serving contains how much of the mentioned artificial sweetener. As I noticed companies are in an intense competition to make their products as delicious as possible, and in order to reach this aim, they are widely using these sweeteners; even a mixture of two or more. For instance, Sucralose and Acesulfame-K are both used in JAY CUTTLER protein powder.

It seems to me that no legal organization is controlling these companies, and it may be possible that they are exceeding the allowable dose, in order to produce a taste-catching product.
Now, I want to ask you this question: Is It really safe to consume Whey-Protein knowing that they contain a dangerous ingredient? Is there a brand producing whey-protein without any artificial sweeteners? If not, is it possible for me to merely count on glutamine and BCAA for gaining my muscle building aims? By the way, here is some basic information about my body type:
Gender: Male / Age: 29 / Weight: 73 Kg / Height: 175 cm
(I’ve started working out from about 3 months ago)
I really appreciate it if you guide me through a wise decision.

Pasha Harzandi

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Posted Thu, 09/24/2015 - 01:55

Hi sir,
AGE 23 yrs
WEIGHT 85 kg
HEIGHT 5ft 8 inches

Sir pls tell me how much whey protein i should take and what type of whey protein. I m overweight. Pls give me some recommendations
I m going gym regularly 6 days in a week.

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Posted Thu, 04/09/2015 - 16:30

i am a beginner in bodybuilding and i want to gain my muscle size but wanna maintain my cutting also. please me suggest any good protein. btm right now i am using combat by musclepharm but didnt see any gaining results

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Posted Tue, 10/20/2015 - 03:20

Dude u can prefer Anabolic Muscle builder ... It's a good supplement for growth of muscle... 1 scoop in morning and 1 scoop after workout ... It's a good supplement or else there is Dymatize ISO-100 its a whey protein powder that also gives u a good growth ...

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Posted Mon, 03/23/2015 - 13:46
Arjun Jhaveri

Hey Joey,

It was great to read your article. I am 20 years old, moderately fat. I'm 5 ft 6 in tall and 78 kgs heavy. For my height which is average and not really tall, I look a bit bulky. And I am a vegetarian, so my diet does not really include too many essential proteins. Can you please suggest me a diet plan as to what to eat and when? Also, as i have no idea whatsoever on what protein supplements to buy, can you please give me exact details of a supplement, it's brand name and the quantity i must consume everyday to achieve a lean muscular body? It would be great if you could also devise a workout plan for me. I owe you for this, great to have guys like you over the web to help us. :)

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Posted Sun, 03/22/2015 - 02:09

Hi there. I have been doing Daily routines to get more toned . I haven't used protein powders before but have heard wonders. I am wanting something great for toning and to be able to use in the morning pre and post work ours to help improve my tonning. Any suggestions?! Thanks

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Posted Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:10
Siddhanth kripalani

Hey bud. I've been working out since a year and I've been taking Anabolic Muscle Builder by SSN. I used to take 1 scoop a day post workout. This hasn't really helped me gain And my protein has just maxed out. I'm thin and I play soccer almost every day. Which protein would you suggest I take ? I would really appreciate it if you help me out with this.

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Posted Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:55
Chris Whitfield

I am recovering from being paralysed below the waist 17 months ago. I am generally fit and well and go to gym 2-3 times a week to help myself keep fit and prevent stiffness.
I am trying to build strength in my muscles and also try to improve damaged peroneal nerve in my lower left leg.
Do you recommend any protein shakes?

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Posted Fri, 01/09/2015 - 19:09

I am a 22 yr old male. I used to go to the gym about 4 times per week. But now I am going back to school and I also work part time. Now I work out at home with a few dumbells and a upperbody workout bar. Being that I don't workout as often but still want to retain the muscles mass i have now can you recommend any types of protein mix that would be optimal for me?

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Posted Tue, 10/07/2014 - 12:54

I've lost 22lbs over 3 month's. However I'm loosing muscle mass.
I visited my health store. Lean1, cla, l carntine was recommended . I still want to loose 20 more lbs but don't was to gain muscles and stay firm.
What should I do ?

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Posted Tue, 08/12/2014 - 18:43
Tony Becerra

Hi I have started to jog in the afternoons, and I started feeling tired, know I'm running 4.5 miles in 30 minutes, what kind of protein can I take to increase my energy ???????help please

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Posted Mon, 06/30/2014 - 07:11

hi i am planning to buy a whey protein. which one ois better on gold standard whey protein or usn 100% percent whey protein.
pls help me out.

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Posted Mon, 06/02/2014 - 09:19

This is really interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks! cddeedadfeed

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Posted Wed, 05/28/2014 - 04:03

Can I ask you about supertein

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Posted Mon, 04/28/2014 - 08:17
Bill Blakeley

I was taking Allmax Hexapro Whey protein powder, and my wife has a friend, who her and her husband both take the Dymatize. I switched over to the Dymatize, but kept my container of Hexapro to compare ingredients. They are essentially the same, however the taste of the Hexapro far outweighs the taste of Dymatize. The Hexapro cost a little more, but the flavor is worth it. The dymatize has a chemical taste to it, where the Hexapro taste like whatever the flavor is, be it vanilla, chocolate, or cookies an cream. I use the vanilla, as we add other things to our shakes, such as spinach, Kale, and fruits. The fruits take over the taste of whatever you put in the shake, so even if your shake is green, it still taste like strawberries. My two cents worth!

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Posted Tue, 04/22/2014 - 15:05

i wonder what best protein can i take coz i played from 3 months but i didnt eat good

so please any one can help me and recomend proteine name for me

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Posted Sat, 04/12/2014 - 22:36
Mohammed Mohsin

Iam 19 years old I want to increase my muscle size and my body into bulky type so sir which protein u recommend me sir mention the product name

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Posted Sun, 04/06/2014 - 16:59

how do i use whey 100% optimum nutrition to get lean mass?

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Posted Sun, 03/09/2014 - 21:01

I'm not a body builder in fact I do MMA I'm currently looking to move down a weight class but I would like to retain my strength if not improve it. I am currently at 12-15% body fat walking around and would like lose the body fat and improve strength but not gain too much what lean mass building protein is the best out now thank you

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Posted Fri, 03/07/2014 - 14:28

Hi Steve,

First off, i understand i am a few years late with this comment but i am a mother of 2. I am currently at 18% body fat. Needless to say im skinny but carry my weight on my lower abdomen and thighs. Ive been working out and now started using suppliments. I am taking C4 Extreme and GNC Women's Ultra Mega Active Dietary Supplement Milk chocolate powder. Would you recommend this or something different if i am trying to lose a bit more body fat and gain lean muscle?

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Posted Sat, 02/15/2014 - 22:47

I have been trying to decide on which protein shake I should be drinking. I weigh 128.8 my fat loss % is 25.2 % and my BMI is 21.7, my height is 5"4'. I do weight lifting/strength training 3 days a week an hour each day, and Zumba 2 days per week an hour each day. I started drinking shape protein for women, 8ozs / 1 scoop after my workouts. My question is should it be drinking more to refuel my muscles or is this enough. I'm wanting to build lean muscle not bulk up.

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Posted Tue, 01/28/2014 - 01:27

Hi there

I am trying to increase the muscle mass and body build as such and on weight training every alternate day. Can you suggest some good brands of whey protein for me?

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 15:26

I am just looking for some advice/pointers whether to buy a whey protein to put weight on to turn into muscle or a creatine monohydrate powder to bulk the muscle up i already have. If it helps I am 5ft 10 weighing 10st i have some muscle not bulky but still look pretty skinny, i am healthy as far as I know, very active and play football weekly and I also do ground works for work and I do weights in my spare time but don't seem to increase in size which maybe how I do my own routine I don't know?? I eat very well not as in filling my face with maccy d's and don't put weight on. Sorry for my life story but nonetheless I will be greatful for any help I receive thanks

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Posted Fri, 01/17/2014 - 13:44


I am starting a juice cleanse for thirty days on the first of Feb and I wanted to make sure I get enough protein. I will be staying active and doing exercise and therefore need some extra protein in my juices.

Any suggestions where i can buy protein isolate?

Thank you :)

Thank you

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Posted Sat, 01/11/2014 - 16:07

Hi I'm wanting to no whats best protein or tablets to take to build up muscle mass and mass bulk??

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Posted Thu, 12/12/2013 - 10:54
Akshay Kumar Soni

Hello Sir I m 17 year old I want to ask you that " is this suppliments Cause any type of Side effect to our body.????plzzz reply .!!!!!

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Posted Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:08

Hi I'm looking forward on gaining muscle i had a baby 9 months ago and didnt gain much I currently weight 102 pounds I'm wondering if I should take any mass gainer protein with calories for example ProMass to gain more mass and turn ut into muscle what do yall suggest.

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Posted Thu, 11/07/2013 - 10:26

So I am a 24 year old female. I am highly active and hit the gym at least 4 times a week. Now that I am at a good physical fitness level I really want to tone and have been looking at the different protein shakes. I definitely don't need to loose weight, I just want to tone up really and perhaps increase muscle strength but nothing to extreme.
Any info would be awesome!

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Posted Wed, 10/09/2013 - 16:28

Hi Steve, I am 21 years old, I have a small frame 5,1 and weigh 7 stone. I don't have any mucsle and have abit of fat. Can you advise me on what I should take to gain more muscle. Thankyou

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Posted Tue, 10/08/2013 - 19:45

I have been working out for almost 2 months. Currently I only take optimum 100%whey protein powder one after the workout and another one before bed. Am weighting 150 pounds and my goal is to reach 180 pounds and am thinking to buy "serious mass" by optimum nutrition because I need to boost my calories since I can't reach my calories goal which is 2400 daily but at the same time am afraid that would add more fat to my body so what do u recommend?

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Posted Mon, 09/23/2013 - 15:46

I am going to add protein suppliment in my workout. My age is 19 years and my wieght is 64kg . Should igo for lean gainer or whey protien??

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Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 16:20

I am 60 years old but have overall maintained myself over the years. I don't want to "bulk up but do want to add overall muscle as I seem to be losing mass; I assume due to decreasing testosterone levels. I only have time to work out 2-3 x a week, usually before work consisting of 30min of EFX and then 30-40 min of weights. I tend to do more reps with a very gradual increase in weight as I have cervical arthritis and don't want to pull anything. I have used GNC in the past but don't remember what product. I do know that it was expensive and I really suffered from gas. I would take the cookies and cream shake with 1% milk (and loved it) after a workout. I am not lactose intolerant. I do not want to put on weight unless it is muscle. I am 5'11" and weigh 168. I would like to start taking an isolate after workout and have something else during the day that is longer lasting and will curb my appetite and keep up my energy levels as I see patients all day long and have to squeeze in a meal. A shake would prevent me from skipping lunch. Should I do an energy bar like Fiber One, a shake or both. What type of shake should I do for the afternoons. I would also like to try a water soluble fruit flavored protein shake while working out. I heard one person said he had a Gaspari shake during workouts that was real good.

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Posted Fri, 09/20/2013 - 21:58
Sasha James

I am a 33 year old female who works out twice a day. I usually do my weight training earlier in the day followed by cardio later in the day. The biggest problem I have is not consuming enough calories due to my hectic schedule and frankly just not knowing what I should eat pre and post workout. Ive researched and read tons of different things which makes it more confusing. Overall I am a healthy person. I drink water all day. I make sure to eat a healthy breakfast but after that Im steadily on the go. Im stuck and not losing weight and I know it all stems down to my nutrition or lack thereof. I never have an appetite so I have to force myself to eat so I dont know how I would be able to eat 5-6 smaller meals a day. Im trying to decide what would be a good supplement to help aid in the calorie deficiency.

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Posted Mon, 09/16/2013 - 03:02


I'm planning to take Protein Powder, i'm 26 old guy with 86 kgs and 5.11 inch height, I want to loss fat and gain muscle with good shape.
I joined the gym 1 month back, can I take Protein Powder? since i'm beginner to gym.
Please suggest me which protein powder fulfills my needs

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Posted Sat, 09/14/2013 - 07:11

can you prefer a good protein powder brand? only for muscles

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Posted Fri, 09/06/2013 - 10:53

Hello everyone,am new to proteins,i weight 82 kg my height is 183 and i am 19 years old,anyways i would like to know which protein powder is the best for me ..i would like to gain musculat mass,i dont want fats because my fat level is already 15.5%,so which one is the best for me?

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Posted Thu, 08/22/2013 - 10:03

I am 19 and have been going to the gym for about a month and a half I have been thinking of trying out protein powders etc. I have seen Reflex One Stop and was wondering if that would be a good one to start off with or if there is any suggestions for one that would be better.

Hope you can help


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Posted Tue, 08/13/2013 - 05:16

Hi m sarb... one of my problm. Whn i take 7 meals lightly body gona be gud shspe. But my strength nd power is loose. Then when i take meals heavy shape is gona be bad but strength nd power is gud nd also got fat on stomach mostly nd my body is grown up. But when i take light meals body is shred down . I dnt like that. With in meals i taking two times olimp lean mass gainer nd olimp bca. Could me suggest wat can i buy for my body gonna be shape, grown up, nd strenth is gud... Thnx

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Posted Tue, 08/06/2013 - 19:40

I'm not looking to build muscles but just have lean and tone muscles. What kind of protein drink do u recommend?

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Posted Wed, 07/24/2013 - 07:21

Hi Steve,

I read your thread pretty useful for buying a protein powder. I have a some questions, as i'm a newbie & going to hit the gym soon. I'm going to focus on building some muscles & tone my body like a athletics not so huge nor so skinny. I have some difficulties in making my routine. I was confused, if i'm going to take proteins, carb, fat from food then what kind of protein supplement might be useful for me & when?



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Posted Tue, 07/16/2013 - 04:35

Hi, Is it ok if i take only whey protein for the beginner? I just want to lose fat and replace it with some muscles. Can you help me how to build a muscle from my fat. by the my weight is 78kgs and height of 5' 8". Thanks in advance.

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Posted Mon, 07/15/2013 - 01:30

How can i lift a havy wieght, so that i can gain muscle ?
Should i take any protein ?

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Posted Fri, 07/12/2013 - 22:06

Hi I play football and I am not the strongest on the team but I play Fullback and Linebacker are there any safe and well working proteins out there to help me on the field an in the weight room??

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Posted Wed, 07/10/2013 - 22:38

I just hit 40 and I'm trying to get back in shape,so far I have lost some weight and gain some lean but if I go for a week without working out I feel like I loose everything . I'm taking whey protein and L Arginine and eating low carb and hight protein food, I'm kind of lost I want to loose fat and gain lean, what would you recommend ?
Thank you

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Posted Wed, 07/03/2013 - 11:09


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Posted Thu, 06/27/2013 - 14:41

I work for a major delivery courier, and during the summer I sweat constantly and hardly get down one meal, let alone 5-6 like everyone suggests. I was wondering which protein I should use, so I don't burn all my muscle I have built during the fall/winter?