What to look for in your post-workout protein

Protein + Supplements = Questions.

Coaches and nutrition experts alike preach the importance or proper nutrition throughout your daily life and especially to aid recovery after rigorous physical activity. Not only do protein supplements help support your recovery process, they also have added nutrition that may be hard to find in a regular post-workout meal.

Our 12 Labours Nutrition lead, Emily Schelberg is here to make your protein search a little easier. Here are her suggestions:

1. BCAA's and Glutamine

Branched- Chain Amino Acids are vital amino acids that we need from diet that are the most useful for muscle repair, and the easiest to produce for supplementation. Most brands have between 6-10 g.

2. Labeled vs. Actual Protein Content:

No product is actually 100% protein, has the amount of BCAAs it claims, or even has any of the product labeled under “ingredients.” At the very least you want one that comes as close as you can to pure protein, so you're not paying for filler.

The percentages on most supplements will range from 80%-95%.

3. Safety

Protein powders are self-regulated under FDA’s laws regarding dietary supplements. This means that the companies themselves are responsible for ensuring “the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations” (FDA DSHEA, 1994). The FDA only takes action is there is adulteration or misbranding of the product after it reaches the market. What does this mean?! It means there is very little oversight in protein powders and there is no 100% way to be sure that any supplement is safe for consumption. Though I cannot independently vouch for the safety of any protein powder that is not certified by an independent third party analysis (like USP labs, etc.), Consumer Reports recently did an article on several protein powders that should definitely be avoided:

4. Cost

To calculate the cost of your protein per lb, simply take the total cost and divide by the total weight of each bag. We've done the math on three popular brands below.

a. SFH: costs 44.00 per 2lb bag = 22.00 per lb.

b. Isopure: costs 40.65 on Amazon for 2 lbs = 20.33 per lb.

c. Progenex: costs 69.95 for 3.17 lbs = 22.06 per lb.

My thoughts and sources

The choice is up to you which protein you choose for your post-workout nutrition. Just make sure to do your research on what you're actually getting with your protein.


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More about Emily

Emily is a former Marine Sergeant, Division I track athlete, current registered nurse and nutrition geek. She has been involved with Crossfit since 2011, and began coaching right after attaining her BS in Kinesiology from The Pennsylvania State University.

Emily believes CF is an excellent way to provide engaging and transformative fitness to her community, and wants to pursue her interests in helping others reach their personal health goals. Emily LOVES coaching morning classes, and believes there is no better way to begin the day than getting your endorphin rush from a WOD. She is currently studying at Hopkins for her Master's to become a Nurse Practitioner.

Emily’s passion is nutrition science, and she currently offers nutrition counseling to help you attain your fat loss, endurance, or competition goals. Her main focus is to provide fun, engaging, high quality instruction to the 12 Labours community.