On the Pros of Protein Supplements with CMU Students

Story by Lexi Carter 

There are more facets to working out than just the physical aspect.Leg and arm days are important, but some people choose to take their workouts a step further, whether it’s pre-workout, protein powder or even a protein bar.

According to Livescience, pre-workout supplements can increase energy levels, muscle power and endurance during your workout. However, these supplements often contain a blend of ingredients from caffeine to guarana in order to enhance the workout.

While some use these supplements to enhance their workouts, others use it to simply help build protein in their diet and build muscle.

Port Huron sophomore Kathryn Shaw works out five to six times a week and usually uses protein post workout or for breakfast.

“I believe it helps me get the right amount of protein in my diet and helps me build muscle,” Shaw said. “I’m a vegetarian so it helps me make sure I’m getting the right amount of protein and macro nutrients. Honestly, it’s much easier to keep track of grams of protein because of the nutrition facts.”

When it comes to frequently used products, Shaw uses protein Luna bars and Clif bars, as well as Meijer brand protein powder for shakes because they are low in sugar and affordable.

For those who are looking to start using products such as protein bars or protein powder, Shaw recommends looking at the nutrition facts to pick what is best.

“I would advise people to make sure that they are looking at the amounts of sugar, fat and sodium in a serving, not just the grams of protein,” Shaw said. “For example, there may be 40 grams of protein in a serving but if there’s 30g of sugar, you’ll gain more fat than muscle by eating and drinking that everyday. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have the best product.”

While some may use products like protein powder and pre-workout for health, others use it specifically for working out.

Clinton junior Juli Lancaster works out four to five times a week and regularly uses protein.

“I am such a strong advocate for protein because it is essential for growing and repairing your muscles,” Lancaster said. “When I have oatmeal in the morning, I mix in protein powder. I also take protein powder after my workouts.”

Along with protein powder, Lancaster also uses pre-workout when she works out in the morning.

“I try to take it only when I workout during the day so I’m not awake for hours,” Lancaster said. “Right now I am using Rule 1 Pre Amino, it’s amino acids with beta-alanine caffeine. The amino acids assist in the recover process while the beta-alanine helps with muscle endurance and the caffeine helps with energy.”

Lancaster advocates for pre-workout because it helps with energy when trying to get through your workout. 

Being in college, your energy drains quickly,” Lancaster said. “Pre-workout gets me through my workouts on my longest and toughest days. I really do feel a difference in my workout. My energy and endurance always increases.”

Lancaster said that with the pre-workout, she has noticed her muscles are more toned and she is generally only sore for a few days.

For those who are looking into utilizing these supplements, Lancaster suggests not to just walk into the store and grab the first product they see.

“Know your fitness goals and base your supplements and the brand off of them,” Lancaster said. “It is all based on what you are trying to achieve. Another thing is always read the ingredient label and reviews. Just because it is a workout supplement does not mean it is good for you. Make sure you are fueling your body, not harming it.”