How to Use Protein Powder (The Right Way)

Sometimes convenience that is too over-emphasized in any routine can lead to some half-ass results. Protein powder definitely makes life more convenient, but it's important to know how to use protein powder the right way.

As a beginner this may seem hard to understand, because you would think that expensive products would yield better result and we think that more is better.

“If I drink 5 shakes a day then I'll be bigger than the guy only drinking 1.”

It's actually quite the opposite!

I sat down to grab some dinner one time with a guy who is an IFBB professional bodybuilder. His dinner was an open face meatloaf sandwich, french fries, and a light beer. This was most likely his cheat meal here, but as we ate dinner we talked a lot about dieting.

He mentioned to me that he had a brand new tub of protein powder on top of his refrigerator that he hadn't touched in over 2 weeks, he preferred REAL FOOD.

One of my co-workers was talking about a new PR on the bench press of 535 lbs x 2. That's right, I said 535 lbs x 2 reps, UNEQUIPPED… RAW.

By the way, the guy only weighs about 210 lbs. A couple other guys standing around us vouched for him, telling me they witnessed it. “I haven't had a protein shake in about a month” is what he told me.

Now, is the guy ripped to the gills? No he is not. But he is definitely not fat either. Trust me, he definitely stands out from a crowd at only about 5'6″ and 210 lbs, and his upper body strength is incredible. But he doesn't usually even use protein powder.

Protein powder is cheaper than eating food

Okay, now let me talk about myself and give you my view on it. I use protein powder myself. I use it because it's a way to realistically get my daily protein requirements in without breaking the bank. When you really think about it, protein powder is usually cheaper than eating.

Yes, it's more convenient but convenience isn't really the reason I drink 1 – 2 shakes/day. It's really just cost purposes, I spend so much money on food outside of just protein powder, that protein sort of tallies it down a bit for me.

Think about it for a second, if you were to spend $30 on a jug of protein and you could make that last you 2 weeks if you had 2 scoops per day, then that $30 in 2 weeks is more than likely going to be cheaper than chicken, fish, or beef.

Let's be real here, food has gotten extremely expensive nowadays!

So yes, I use protein powder, more for cost than anything.

Protein powder as a treat

Here is another reason I use protein, it's sort of like a treat to me. When you're dieting really hard and eating so plain, you can really start going crazy. Well, if you had something small to look forward to each day that tasted just a little better then wouldn't that make it easier to stick to your game plan and get more results?

If you could blend up some ice, a scoop of almond butter or peanut butter, and throw in a couple scoops of protein powder, don't you think it'd be almost like a daily treat? You'd be awfully surprised at how we start looking forward to the small things as we get hungrier and more ripped looking!

So I'm not going to lie to you guys, that is another good reason to use protein powder right there.

I mean what is worse? Eating pizza or drinking a protein shake once/day?

Protein powder in competition

I have used protein powder in every competition prep I've ever done.

The first contest I learned the hard way that more shakes does not = more results.

I drank shakes all the time, and I ended up losing more muscle mass than was necessary. The next competition I trained for I actually smartened up a bit and used them the way they were intended to be used, as a SUPPLEMENT AND NOT A STAPLE! I ended up looking much better too.

The difference in protein powder quality

Okay, enough of the explanation as to why I still choose to use protein powder as a supplement, let's explain the difference in protein powders and which ones are superior to others.

Some protein powders are absolute garbage and in some cases you definitely get what you pay for.

I've used protein powders before that did absolutely nothing for me but send me to the bathroom. The reason for this you may ask? Well, it's actually 2 reasons.

  1. It's full of binders and fillers and very little real product. Your body does nothing more with it but take it in and quickly excrete it.
  2. Your body cannot fully digest the product and the part of the protein goes to the intestines where it sits there and ROTS. That's right, as nasty as this sounds the protein actually ferments in your intestines and this is what causes bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Pretty nasty huh?

So what protein do I use and how much do I spend on protein powder?

Well, I don't use the most expensive protein and I don't use the cheapest either. I look for a protein that is the best value for a reasonable price, and one that I can use as a staple pretty much all the time.

If I can buy in bulk I will (ie; a 5 lb jug versus a 1.5 lb jug) but honestly speaking, most of the time it's a 1.5 lb bag that I factor into my grocery costs every couple weeks. A 1.5 lb bag usually lasts me about 2 weeks.

So I'm spending roughly $60-$80 per month depending on what I'm using. I am not going to buy the most expensive protein on the market simply because I'm looking for the one I can use over and over again with consistency and without breaking the bank.

You have to remember, there are a lot of other expenses that come into play with my bodybuilding regimen. Things like my testosterone replacement, Cialis, HCG, Arimadex, bags upon bags of fish, chicken, and packs of steak, and everything else that goes into my total monthly expenses on my body.

It becomes a monthly bill like a car payment, and you can think of your body as a piece of shit car or you can think of it as a Ferrari. I don't know about you, but I treat my body like a Ferrari.

Remember, consuming protein powder with either a healthy source of carbs will slow down it's digestion and carbs are protein sparing.

So drinking your shake and having a cup or two or rice is definitely beneficial.

If you are restricting your carbs then try consuming a healthy fat source such as flax oil, coconut oil, or almonds alongside you shake.

I use protein powder like it should be used, as a SUPPLEMENT.

So my best advice to you guys is find one that you can use as a staple protein, but don't over-consume it.

A 1.5 lb bag should last you a couple weeks if you're using it strictly as diet supplementation.

This is solely from my own personal experience and based on what I've found works well for me and I think it would work well for you too.

Over and out!

– JD


5 thoughts on “How to Use Protein Powder (The Right Way)”

  1. Great Post John. I calculated the cost per serving, for my protein, 0.50 cents. It’s definitely cheaper than food and can be convenient. Like you said, whole food are always better. In a quick pinch, two scoops of whey, cup of oats, some peanut butter, and you’ve got a shake that can tide you over.

  2. Regardless of whether you’re an elite athlete or just a weekend warrior, chances are you have a tub of protein powder sitting somewhere in your house. At the very least, you’ve gulped down a shake at one point or another — maybe even a smoothie . But do you really know what’s inside your protein powder or how it should be used to give you the biggest advantage and best results? To help you more effectively decide how, when and if you should use this supplement, we created this beginner guide, answering the most popular questions about protein powder.

  3. So when is the best time to take protien? Any nutrition timing come into play? Or is it as long as you hit your daily protien intake it doesn’t matter so much the time?

    And what do you say your daily protien intake should be if you are trying to gain muscle?

    • steadily take protein every few hours, after workout is prime time especially. 1 gram per lb of bodyweight is a good number to aim for, I don’t believe in needing more than that


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