Protein Powder 101: What When & Why

So my boyfriend is your typical college guy. Drinks his mass gain shredder buff protein shake after he works out, because that’s what he’s told to do. But when I told him one night I was making a casein shake he was like casein? What’s that?

Silly boys.

Anyone and everyone knows what protein is. But did you know there are different types of protein? Incomplete, complete, whey, egg, casein, soy, pea….here’s my 101 guide.

Incomplete: Found in bread, beans, rice, etc. These don’t have a complete set of amino acids. If you only eat bread, you will not get complete protein (even though the nutrition label makes you think otherwise). This is why people combine rice AND beans. The missing amino acids in rice are actually found in beans, and vice versa. Together, they form a complete protein.

Complete: Found mainly in animal products. These proteins have all the amino acids you need to survive. Woohoo no headache there!

Ok so from those two generic categories here are three main categories I recommend focusing on: whey, egg, and casein.

Whey: The fasted digesting of the three. Ideally, you should take this type of protein immediately after you workout, when your body is repairing damaged muscle.

Egg: Digested slower than whey, but faster than casein.

Casein: The slowest digesting of the three. You should take this type of protein before bed to ensure your body has the nutrition it needs to build muscle while you sleep.

That’s the 411. If you’re looking to learn more about the composition and science:

 read this article from

So when you’re looking for your next protein powder think about the timing. Do you need this as a morning shake to keep you full? Try a blend of all three. Do you need this post workout? Use a whey isolate. Do you need this before bed? Casein.

Remember that protein powder is a supplement and only secondary to food. Nothing is more beneficial to transforming your body than whole food. If you are drinking protein shakes breakfast, lunch, post workout, and for snacks, your body is not getting the nutrition it needs.

Keep an eye open for a post on the importance of whole foods, and how sodium and sugar come into play in your diet.

9 thoughts on “Protein Powder 101: What When & Why

  1. lankylifter Reply

    Reblogged this on lankylifting and commented:
    This is a great breakdown of when to take what types of protein. I especially like what the author said at the end about protein being best when it comes straight from food. I had some questions about why I eat cheese, and that’s why — instead of taking a calcium supplement, I like to get calcium from food. It absorbs better that way! Anywho, read this post along with many of dashafitness’s others, they’re super informative and accurate!

  2. talkoftaylor Reply

    Reblogged this on thetalkoftaylor and commented:
    For those of you who are interested in protein powders/have been using them and wondering if/why you’re using them…this is a no frills and simple breakdown of powders and different types of protein

  3. Lisa.Merriam Reply

    I’ve been looking into hemp protein powder, what are your thoughts? I was planning on adding a little to a breakfast smoothie once or twice a week.

    • dashafitness Reply

      Sure! Hemp has a lot of added nutritional benefits such as healthy fats and higher fiber content. It sounds like you’re just looking to add a little kick of health into your routine a couple times a week, and this is a great way to do it! If you had other goals such as bodybuilding, I wouldn’t recommend it because it often has less muscle-building protein in it. Hope that helps!!

      • Lisa.Merriam Reply

        Thank you so much for responding so quickly! I am just trying to add some health kick to my smoothies for know so thank you!

  4. fellochrist Reply

    Very nice! Fortunately us guys have uh….a few, redeeming qualities…sometimes lol but this is a great read for making those gains!

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