All of us have been through those initial days of gym enrolment. We start training with lot of zeal with very little information on training or diet. Our primary source of information on the supplements could be the trainer or friends. Most trainers could have our best interests in mind while recommending protein supplements. Having said that, there could be a tendency for them to suggest protein based on kickbacks from vendors/stores or some other motive.
It is always a good idea to carry out some research to either validate the recommendation or consider a better protein powder. Strength training or body building is a long term activity of many years and it is better to be safe with the supplements as well. Here are tips for conducting the due diligence for beginners:
- Good brands: Stick to good brands available in India such as Optimum Nutrition ON, Muscletech, Ultimate Nutrition, Muscleblaze or Dymatize. You might pay a higher price but you will get good quality protein and peace of mind. Also stay away from fancy product names – Mass Gainers, Machine Mass, etc. at least when starting out.
- Price vs Protein Content: Lesser price will not always mean better value for money. Evaluate the price vs. protein content (per scoop). This will be a good indicator of the value for money.
- Availability of smaller jars: Most whey protein come in larger quantities. If you want to test something for taste/side-effects/allergy/etc. check if a smaller jar is available. For example, Optimum Nutrition comes in 0.8 kg pack.
- Packaging: Look for foolproof packaging (sealing, etc.) and make sure that you buy from reputed suppliers/websites – This will ensure that you buy genuine products and not fake ones. Some companies have mechanisms such as online verification of the code, etc. to confirm the authenticity.
- Ingredients: Check the ingredients and look out for these undesirable components:
- Dextrose/Maltodextrin – These are just fillers and add no value
- Sugar – Usually added for taste but ends up creating more harm. Another blog post will be written on the damage done by sugar in our diet and how to avoid it
- Sucrose – Equivalent to sugar, not good
- FSSAI Certification: Most good brands are certified by FSSAI unless you are planning to test a relatively new brand or a product
Hope this helps in making your first whey protein purchase confidently. Happy training!