Check out the best protein powders without soy

It seems like soy is in everything nowadays, from your breakfast cereal to the oil your sardines are packed in. Even protein powders have soy ingredients now, especially soy lecithin, which is just as bad for you as any other form of soy. Most low quality protein brands are cut with soy fillers to get the costs down and the profits up, since soy is much cheaper to use than pure whey or other protein sources like hemp or peas. If you avoid soy in the rest of your diet (you should!) then you ought to find a good protein powder without soy as well. This is especially important if you’re vegan, since many vegan protein brands use soy as their protein source, which is not really a good idea!

The table below lists the best protein powders without soy; many of them are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free as well. A few are even raw and organic. For more information about the risks of soy in your protein shake, and for details about each category of soy-free protein, keep reading after the table.

ImageDetailsVeganHypo-
allergenic
Dairy-free
Pure Therapeutics Daily Vegan Protein Vanilla Flavor
YesYesYes
NutraBio 100% Whey Protein Isolate
NoNoNo
Paleo Protein Egg White Powder
NoNoYes
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 50 Protein Supplement
YesYesYes

What’s So Bad About Soy Anyway?

Soy is a well-known hormone disrupter, which imitates estrogen in your body. As the following chart displays, soy produces estrogenic activity in your bloodstream over one million times greater than an egg does.

Estrogenic Effect of Soy and Other Foods Proteinbrain.com

Both Men and Women Need Balanced Estrogen Levels

Estrogen, although an essential hormone for both men and women, must remain carefully balanced with the other hormones. When estrogen is artificially raised out of balance by soy consumption, the effects can be very bad, ranging from fat gain to brain fog to increased risk of breast cancer. Soy lecithin, a very common ingredient in protein powders, is just as bad as regular soy. Men with high estrogen from eating soy will find themselves growing breast tissue and losing muscle. Although a healthy level of estrogen is important for women, when estrogen is imbalanced with other hormones thanks to an artificial boost from soy, cancer risk goes up, it becomes difficult staying trim and fit, and anxiety becomes very common. The body’s hormone system is a finely-tuned machine, and when it is thrown out of balance by artificial disruption like processed soy intake, the results can be very bad. Avoid soy!

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Phytoestrogens

The artificial estrogen-like compounds found in soy protein are called phytoestrogens or isoflavones. Basically, these are molecules which resemble real human estrogen so much that when you consume them in your soy protein shake, they go into your bloodstream and act like extra estrogen, causing a feminizing effect in men and a hormonal imbalance in women leading to increased bodyfat and cancer risk among other things.

Soy lecithin contains soy oil which includes the compounds, campesterol, beta-sitosterol, and stigmasterol. These compounds, called phytosterols, are also very estrogenic and block healthy testosterone production as well.

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Toxic Anti-Nutrients – Soy Protein Is a Disaster!

Estrogenic effects aren’t the only issues with soy protein powder, soy also contains several antinutrients. Soy is very high in phytates, an indigestible midly toxic substance that blocks the absorption of key nutrients, like zinc, which most Americans are very deficient in. Soy also contains substances called goitrogens, which harm the thyroid affecting overall vitality, hair growth, height, and much more. According to one study, “the possibility that widely consumed soy products may cause harm in the human population via either or both estrogenic and goitrogenic activities is of concern.”

Soy Lecithin – What It Is and Why It’s Bad for You

Soy lecithin is a byproduct of the production of soy oil. It is an ingredient found in nearly all protein powders, even ones marketed as non-soy, like most whey protein brands. So why does whey protein contain soy lecithin? Soy lecithin is blended with the protein during the manufacturing process so that the finished product isn’t clumpy when you make a protein shake with it. Typically, a normal whey protein will contain between 0.5% and 1.5% soy lecithin, which is actually quite a lot considering that soy’s estrogenic effect is actually millions of times greater than most other foods. (see the chart linked above)

There are other ingredients that can be used to keep protein powder from being clumpy, but soy lecithin is the cheapest one so supplement companies nearly all use it, despite its estrogenic, antinutritional healthy dangers. You should look for sunflower lecithin instead, a much better alternative that a few higher quality protein powder makers are now using.

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Sneaky “Lecithin” Labels, Beware!

While the FDA requires that protein powders declare whether or not their product contains soy lecithin (look for it on your protein powder’s label), it seems that some companies are trying to slip into a gray area and avoid this regulation. Several protein powders available on the market claim that their product contains “lecithin” and don’t mention whether it is soy lecithin or otherwise. Lecithin does not exist by itself, it must be derived from some product or other, whether it is sunflower lecithin or soy lecithin. It’s a safe bet that if your protein powder mentions “lecithin,” it is probably soy lecithin, since soy lecithin is the cheapest for manufacturing by far. Some protein powders don’t mention lecithin at all in their ingredients list. Unless your protein powder is impossibly clumpy, it is very unlikely that it doesn’t contain some sort of lecithin. If the supplement company won’t even mention lecithin on the label (which is illegal) then they are hiding something, probably the fact that they use soy lecithin! Stay safe out there and do your best to avoid this junk!

Soy-free Vegan Protein Powder – Yes It IS Possible!

Although many protein powders now have soy in them, there are quite a few high quality protein powders without soy. Our list includes a good whey isolate product without soy, but if you want to avoid whey as well as soy, perhaps because of lactose intolerance, you could try pea protein. Pea protein is hypoallergenic and great for people who react badly to other, heavier protein shakes. It’s actually one of the best vegan protein powders for weight loss. Protein shakes that contain soy will have a fat retaining effect, due to the estrogenic effect of the soy. You don’t have to worry about that with pea protein.

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No Peas, Please!

If the idea of drinking powdered peas gives you the willies, but you still want a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free protein powder (the list of benefits just goes on and on!) then another good plant-based protein powder is hemp. Hemp protein has all the same benefits of pea protein; it’s hypoallergenic, soy-free, and it’s a great protein source for vegans as well.

At Home Strongman Workout for Fat Loss and Strength

Five circuits with two minutes rest after each circuit:

Sandbag (or a bag of dirt/mulch) Toss (into the wheelbarrow!) x 5 bags
Rest 15 seconds
Wheelbarrow Push x 60 yards
Rest 15 seconds
Sandbag Zercher Squat x 25 reps

You can incorporate this one into a landscaping or gardening project. This is a great way to fit an intense weight loss workout right into your daily routine.

Best Strongman Exercises

The best thing about strongman is the ease with which you can train. All you need is some awkward heavy objects and you’re set. You can even do these in your backyard while you do yard work. There is no need for an expensive gym membership or fancy machines, although you can certainly do strongman training in the gym too.

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There’s nothing better than working out in the backyard!

The best strongman exercises require you to hold or move a heavy load over a 30 second – 2 minute period of time. Here’s some of my favorites:

  • Atlas stone loading
  • Ground-to-shoulder with a sandbag
  • Sled pushing or dragging – push from the low bars, drag from the loading pins, pull it with a rope hand-over-hand, etc.
  • One Arm Dumbbell Push Press (also called a circus dumbbell press)
  • Battle Ropes
  • Farmer’s Walk – can be done one arm at a time for added core training
  • Overhead carry
  • Sandbag lunges
  • Carry rocks, cinderblocks, or anything heavy back and forth in your yard
  • Carry and throw hay bails
  • Push a wheelbarrow loaded with rocks
  • Truck pull with a rope
  • Truck push
  • Yoke carry – can be done with a barbell or even with a person, fireman’s carry style

Choose 3-5 of these exercises for each workout. Try to pick a variety of exercises to cover all kinds of different movement patterns like pulling, carrying, pushing, lifting off the ground, explosive movement, etc. Keep rest times minimal for the best fat loss effect. Always move as fast and hard as possible while keeping proper, safe form in mind at all times. Most people won’t be able to keep this pace up for more than 30 minutes, so plan accordingly!

Strongman Workout Routine for Rapid Fat Loss

Why Strongman?

If you’re on the lookout for something new to throw in your workout to kickstart weight loss, look no further than strongman. Strongman training is fun and extremely effective. You can do it practically anywhere and get great results in a surprisingly short period of time. Strongman is exceptionally good for fat loss for a whole bunch of different reasons. In this article, I’ll explain why Strongman works so well and then give you some brutal and effective strongman routines that you can try for yourself either at the gym or at home.

Strongman is Perfect for Fat Loss

Strongman training is made up of intense, heavy interval training. Believe it or not, anaerobic training like this is actually better for burning fat than aerobic endurance training because it forces the body to burn fat as fuel instead of muscle. Anaerobic training also releases growth hormone (HGH) which is a huge part of the body’s fat storage system. Aerobic training, in contrast, burns through the carbohydrates in your bloodstream and then immediately starts eating into your muscle. Aerobic training increases production of cortisol, a stress hormone that leads to fast muscle loss.

Anaerobic interval training works so much better than aerobic training because it forces the metabolism to adapt—in order to sustain the level of intensity needed, your body must burn fat. It also keeps the metabolism raging for 24 hours or more after your workout, which has been shown to have a dramatic effect on fat loss, especially from the belly region. (See Is Aerobic or Anaerobic Training Best for Getting Rid of Belly Fat? by Charles Poliquin)

This means that strongman trainers are burning more fat during their workouts and they actually continue to burn fat for over 24 hours after their workouts are finished! Strongman training increases Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) meaning that you keep on burning fat long after your workout is finished. A 2006 study showed that anaerobic workouts like strongman training produce higher EPOC values than long distance aerobic training because the muscles are forced by the intensity of the effort needed to restore nutrients expended by the cells; in other words they used a ton of energy. This is terrific for fat loss since it means your metabolism is getting jacked up like crazy. Lose fat while eating more, who doesn’t want that!

Another aspect of strongman training that accelerates fat loss is the use of uneven and oddly shaped objects. Typical strongman equipment like sleds, ropes, stones, sand bags, not only makes training exciting, but also makes it harder for you develop a perfectly efficient technique while you lift. While great technical efficiency is great for performance, a less efficient athlete is actually working much harder than an efficient one. This is bad for competition, but terrific for fat loss because of all the calories being burned by this inefficient movement. Efficiency is developed when your Central Nervous System “learns” which muscles should be activated and which ones should be relaxed for the best coordination of effort. However, when the balance point of the odd object you’re lifting is constantly moving around, your nervous system can never quite figure out how to adapt. The efficiency process becomes much harder and you will have to use every muscle in your body just to hold onto the weight. The more muscles you use, the more energy is expended and the more energy expended, the greater the fat loss results.

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Get Motivated, Stay Motivated

One of the biggest challenges for fat loss is the motivation required. Strongman trainers are constantly motivated for their workouts because of the challenge and uniqueness of the movements. Every week they train something new and exciting. Not only does this sort of training increase your lean muscle mass, it also develops real-world strength and even helps improve poor posture and joint instability. Strongman training definitely improves mental toughness, as anyone can tell you who has done a heavy sled workout, flipped a tire for high reps, or loaded heavy atlas stones.

Check out our list of the best strongman exercises as well as these two great strongman workout programs you can do at home or at the gym.

Bench Press Workout for Strength and Explosive Power

Monday

Dumbbell Snatch – 4 sets of 8 reps with 10 lb

This will get your stabilizer shoulder muscles operating at peak performance.

Exercise demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDRiPLPzUVg

Plyometric Pushup – 4 sets of 5 reps

This is a regular pushup except you push yourself up so explosively that your hands actually leave the ground at the end of the rep. You should get more powerful every set.

You are now ready to bench with maximum performance.

Close Grip Bench Press – Sets of 5 reps, starting with 45 and adding 20 lb each set, until you get to a weight where you can’t get all 5 reps, even when you strain as hard as possible. Make sure you have a spotter!

Grab the bar with your hands just touching the smooth center portion of the bar. Lower the bar all the way down to your chest. This exercise will help you with your weak point at the top of the bench press.

Flat Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 6-10 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 10 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 8 reps every set.

Dumbbell Tate Press – 4 sets of 8-12 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 12 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 10 reps every set.

This exercise is going to help you especially, so focus hard on it!

Exercise demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr1jQX6Fnz0

Dumbbell Front Raise – 4 sets of 10-15 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 15 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 12 reps every set.

Thursday

Speed Bench Press – After warming up, do 8 sets of 3 reps starting with 45. Add 5-10 lb each set.

Lift as FAST as you can, but only if you can use perfect technique. This is not a time to get sloppy, in fact you should use this time to practice great bench technique! Remember, FAST and perfect.

Dumbbell Row – 4 sets of 6-10 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 10 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 8 reps every set.

Lat Pulldown – 4 sets of 8-12 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 12 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 10 reps every set.

Hammer Curl – 4 sets of 10-15 reps, Pick a weight where you can just barely get all 15 reps. Try your hardest to get at least 12 reps every set.

This exercise is actually key to getting a big bench, especially for people like you who have trouble locking out their bench press reps. Hammer curls train the brachialis muscle in addition to the biceps, this often over-looked muscle is key to driving force through the elbow joint into the bar.

Face pull – 4 sets of 20 reps, Pick a fairly light weight and pump out the reps. This is critical for keeping your shoulders in balance. We’re putting a lot of stress on our shoulders with the bench press, so it’s important to keep the shoulders strong and injury-free. A healthy, balanced shoulder is a strong shoulder, so don’t skip the face pulls!

Exercise demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEfFE2AAmAA

Good luck with this program, if you stick with it and train hard, you are guaranteed to get results!

Be sure to check out our top 10 bench press form tips as well.

 

Note: This workout is for intermediate lifters who have maxed out their beginner gains from a basic linear progression program. Beginners would get better results from a program such as Starting Strength or the Greyskull Linear Progression.

Top 10 Bench Press Form Tips

  1. Squeeze the bar as hard as you can from the moment you unrack the bar until you finish the lift. This causes all your muscles to contract harder through the irradiation principle.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. This shortens the range of motion allowing you to lift more, it’s safer for your shoulders, and it increases the activation of the pecs.
  3. Take a big breath of air into your chest before you unrack the bar. This will keep you stable on the bench.
  4. Make sure the bar is at the base of your hand, right above your wrist. If the bar is high up in your hand, you will lose strength. Don’t let your hand flop backwards and never use a thumbless grip. It’s dangerous and you won’t lift as much.
  5. Twist your hands against the bar like you’re trying to snap it in half. Your hands won’t actually move, but this will still cause stabilizing muscles in your shoulders to contract, giving your more strength.
  6. Do more warmup sets, but don’t do as many reps in the sets. A good warmup should never fatigue you; it should amp you up to lift big weights! For example, if your max bench is 275, a good warmup would look like this: 45 x 10, 95 x 10, 135 x 6, 165 x 3, 195 x 3, 225 x 2, 245 x 1, 265 x 1, 285 x 1 (10 lb more than your max!)
  7. Squeeze your abs and glutes while you lift, this allows force to transfer through your body better.
  8. Dig your feet into the floor and drive with them like you’re doing a leg extension against the floor. Believe it or not, this can add quite a bit to your bench press.
  9. Imagine that your are pushing yourself down into the bench, instead of pushing the bar up off your chest. This tricks your brain and often makes the bench press feel way stronger.
  10. Lower the bar down to your nipples or slightly below. Lowering the bar high up on your chest is bad for your shoulders and is much weaker.

Now go set a new bench press max!!

The Three Rules of Building Muscle Fast

Every day, millions of people pack gyms all across the world trying to build up their bodies. Depressingly, most of them look exactly the same year after year, completely failing to build any muscle despite thousands of wasted hours. Does this mean that building muscle is a mysterious process, only possible for a few rare genetic freaks? Not at all! Gaining muscle is simple, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
Before you can understand the first rule of muscle, you need to know a few things about the muscles themselves. All your muscles are made up of thousands of long fibers that contract to move your body. These fibers are slightly torn when you lift heavy weights. Your body doesn’t like having weakened, torn muscles, so it immediately goes to work rebuilding these fibers to be capable of handling that weight without being torn again. The result is a slightly bigger and stronger muscle. What most gym-goers don’t realize is that the cycle of tearing and rebuilding can be performed over and over again, until your muscles are as big as they can get.
After the muscle has rebuilt itself, the weight you lifted in your first workout will no longer overload the fibers. To continue making muscle gains, you must use slightly more weight in your next workout. If you keep using the same amount of weight, your muscles will have no reason to grow. You should progressively increase the overload to your muscle fibers every time you work out. While other forms of exercise, such as calisthenics or running, can also cause muscle fibers to tear, lifting weights is the most efficient way to constantly increase muscular overload. You can always add another 5 pounds of weight in your next workout and cause the growth process to occur again; it’s less simple with other forms of exercise.
For the rebuilding process to occur, the body must have the nutrients it needs to make new muscle fibers. For body tissue to grow, it needs more food to provide energy, so you need to eat significantly more than you are used to. Because muscles are primarily made up of protein, most of this extra food should be high in protein, such as meat, milk, or peanut butter. If you tear your muscle fibers with heavy weights and then fail to give your body the nutrition it needs, you will start to lose the muscle you already have.
Most muscle regeneration occurs during sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will have less muscle growth. When you start lifting heavier weights, you will probably find you need more sleep. This is your body telling you it needs time to build the muscles you want.
There are three rules for building muscle. First, progressively increase muscle fiber overload by lifting slightly more weight in every workout. Second, eat much more than you are eating right now, preferably healthy, high-protein food for best results. Finally, get enough sleep to give your body time to build muscle. As long as your workout program and diet respect the three rules, you will build muscle.
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