Gym Dilemma 2: Whey protein VS Chicken

Shoaib Siddiq Mar 30 2016
Gym-Dilemma-2-Whey-protein-VS-Chicken

If you have been to gym, you should know that building muscle as well as burning fat requires increased intake of protein. It is the main constituent of muscles. So when you break muscles in the gym, you require protein for its repair into bigger stronger muscle fibers.

For fat burning, there should be a higher percentage of protein in your diet as it actually burns energy while digesting unlike carbohydrates and fats.

If you are a professional trainee, you should also know that you require 1gram of protein per body weight in pounds. This means if you weigh 70kg (154 lbs), you need to take at least 154 grams of protein per day. This amount of protein target is very difficult to reach through your normal meals and diet; hence you need to take more meals rich in protein other than the usual 3 meals in order to complete this target. But the question is; is it really important to use whey protein as protein supplement or other sources of protein, such as boiled chicken or steak, can be used instead? To decide, here is what you need to consider.

Whey protein contains a fast digesting proteins (even predigested if you buy hydrolyzed protein) that are quickly absorbed into the blood. This gives instant amino acids for muscle growth and repair. They contain branched chain amino acids (those amino acids that our body cannot produce and hence we depend solely on external intake) which are proved to be essential for muscle growth. Whey protein is readily available and takes a minute to prepare a drink. It is not heavy on the digestive system and can be taken at any time of the day. The only down side is that it is expensive. While you can experiment with your whey protein drink by mixing it with smoothies etc., the flavor remains the same and you may grow bored of it after a while.

If you rely on other sources of protein, let’s say lean piece of chicken breast (100g) for instance. It takes time to prepare, it requires time to cook and you may feel like frying it once in a while which will just increase the fat content. It does not contain fast digesting protein, hence the protein is not readily available. It will leave you feel fuller so you need to space it between meals. But you have many ways and flavors to prepare it so the flavors won’t bore you. Since a 100g of chicken breast gives about 30g protein, it has higher protein content compared to one scoop of whey protein, which by the way, costs more. 30g of protein may not contain all the essential amino acids specially BCAAs. And, unlike protein powder, it contains about 15g of fats.

Keeping all this in mind, make your decision whether you should buy whey protein or not.

Shoaib Siddiq

Shoaib Siddiq:

Shoaib is currently a 3rd year MBBS student. Apart from studying, you can often find him in gym either resistance training or practising mixed martial arts. With his love for fitness training and knowledge that comes along with it, he writes various fitness related articles for HTV.