Most lifters emphatically praise the use of protein powder. As I we’ll discuss in his article, protein powder is a wonderful supplement that has great benefits and uses to it. However, my concern is with the misconception that protein is an absolute must. Protein powder is a cheap, convenient way to help reach your protein goals for the day. Any lifter should aim for about 1 – 1.5 g of protein per lbs. body weight within a day to build and maintain muscle mass. Instead of having to cook chicken or scarf down some heavy food, you can instead scoop some protein powder. This is a tasty and easy to get some protein in. Not only that, but protein powder is a fairly cheap source of protein. Another benefit of protein powder is that it is a flexible option in recipes. Protein shakes can be made using protein powder and other ingredients. This can cause people to be creative and enjoy a nice, cold glass of a tasty treat. Not only is this a good way to get protein in, but protein shakes can also be mixed with carbohydrates like fruits and/or fats like peanut butter to get some calories in for those hard gainers or bulkers. Another great use of protein powder is in baking. You can substitute some flour in baking recipes. This cuts out carbs for those on low carb diets as well as adds protein, of course. In addition to all these benefits, protein powder can have notably help recovery post-workout. While I always articulate that in the big picture all that matters is reaching 1 – 1.5 g of protein per lbs. bodyweight, there are some notable benefits from taking protein powder post workout. By taking protein powder within an hour of a workout, you might have slightly better recovery than if you went without protein. Also, most protein powders contain bcaa (branched chain amino acids) and glutamine which can give you a slight advantage on recovery. While it is clear that protein powder is an amazing supplement which I would recommend to anyone, the question is if it is mandatory. If you body works calories in vs. calories out, most lean individuals will not gain muscle while losing fat just because you are taking protein powder. By hitting your protein levels in a day, you can gain muscle when in a caloric surplus (bulk) and maintain muscle when in a caloric deficit (cut). Again protein powder is a great way to reach this goal, but it is not a magical supplement. You can just as well get all your protein in through other food sources like lean meats and there will not be a negative effect. So is protein powder necessary? Absolutely not. The most important supplement is sleep balanced with a good diet. Protein powder is more expensive than other protein sources like chicken for example. However, it’s really nice to just scoop some protein powder in a cup with water. This saves time, and it also can be a tasty treat for some people’s preferences. While it may have some additional benefits to being taken post workout, the benefits are minor in the long run. So please don’t worry about speeding home because if you don’t get protein within a half hour all your gainz will be lost. (I literally believed this once) If you have trouble getting protein in, want to save time from cooking meats, and love to make shakes and bake, then protein powder is for you. My two favorite protein powders include MTS Machine Whey and anything from TrueNutrition.com. Machine Whey has some of the tastiest protein including no-bake cookie and peanut butter fluff. TrueNutrition protein is customizable for dietary preferences. You can pick different sources of protein, custom sweeteners, and custom flavor all for a great price!