An Interview With Someone Smarter Than Me: Paul Smith, Owner of Nutrishop Houston

Other than being an incredible physical specimen (the man looks good), and a hell of an athlete  (not a bad performance at Oktoberfest Obliteration this past month), Paul Smith is a business owner with his own NutriShop (Bingle and I10) in Memorial. What separates your visit to this Nutrishop location from many other supplement stores is the customer service and the unwillingness to compromise personal beliefs in order to make a buck. If it is not something Paul stands behind, you won't find it on his shelves.

Paul with Slim Thug and his trainer at Nutrishop Houston

I have loitered in his store for many many hours and I am always interested to hear him as he discusses the benefits of different supplements with customers. There is rarely an up-sale, though he will let you know what your options are, and the customer always knows why the supplement is offered, what it is intended to do for them and how they should use it. Often a customer comes in asking for one thing but leaving with another because it better suited their needs. And with something as confusing as supplementation, isn't a trustworthy source of informations incredibly important? 

Now, the reason for this little interview. Most of us know that we need a protein supplement shortly after our workouts. But sometimes I am pretty convinced clients buy protein because they see others doing it, similar to buying your first pair of Nanos without ever knowing why (heel drop, and have you ever squatted in those running shoes with the gel cushion in the heel? Yes, I would like to hit my 1 RM while standing on a water bed!). So here it is, the reasons why a protein supplement is the way to go! Enjoy! 


Why should we supplement w protein?

Paul: Simply because your body needs it. Your hair, skin, nails all need it to be healthy. Your muscles need the amino acids to repair damage. If you're an athlete or exercise regularly it will help one to recover more efficiently. Now, consumption post workout is even more critical. 

Protein supplementation after you finish you're training session will have multiple benefits: faster repair and recovery, increases in lean muscle mass, hydration, immune system boosting, blunting of cortisol levels, repairing muscle damage and controlling free radicals as well as help to boost metabolism and burn more fat. 

Other benefits include:

-Switches muscle machinery from catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle, to anabolism, or the building of muscle.

-Increased blood glucose levels and glycogen storage (not being stored as fat.)

-Promote protein synthesis and prevent protein degradation (SCIENCE: Protein synthesis is the process by which cells make proteins out of individual amino acids, stringing them together in various specific sequences according to instructions from the DNA in the body's chromosomes). 

Among the physiological benefits of protein synthesis are increased lean muscle mass, muscle tone and muscle strength. Protein synthesis is also vital for the repair of torn and otherwise injured muscle tissue, including organ tissue.)


What types of proteins should we consider?

Paul: Whey is by far the most popular. It is inexpensive, lean and has a great amino acid profile (high concentration of amino acids, especially the essential Branched Chain Amino Acids.) There are multiple forms, 3 of the most common are Hydrolyzed, Isolate and Concentrate. They are all good choices with Hydrolyzed and Isolate being the better of the 3. 

Egg protein is another great choice and a solid option for those with lactose intolerance. 

If you are vegetarian there are still many options: rice, pea, hemp, quinoa etc. 

Now, there are blended proteins available as well. Blended meaning they will have different forms of protein together, like pairing whey and casein. These are both by products of dairy production and have different benefits. Whey is very rapidly digested, delivering amino acids to the bloodstream and muscle quickly. The downside is that the whey protein will be in and out very quickly. Casein on the other hand digests much more slowly and will send amino acids to the muscles for several hours. Pairing them together will give you the benefits of both and also improve your recovery and boost metabolism for a longer period of time.


Do I have to be an animal in the gym to take protein?

Paul: No. Even if you're not an athlete or crushing weights regularly, supplementing with protein still allows you to experience the benefits listed above. Some people just find it hard to consume the amount of protein that they need each day through their typical diet and using a supplement helps them reach that amount.


Will protein make me or my girlfriend look like Arnold?

Paul: I wish it was that easy!! Supplementing with protein offers many benefits, and if looking like Arnold is your goal, protein will help. However, many factors go in to achieving a physique like Arnold's. Hard work, training, dedication, consistency and a diet containing the right macro nutrients will determine whether you will look like an athlete or a regular Joe. Not to mention women lack the testosterone needed for this to happen.


Should women consider taking a protein supplement?

Paul: Absolutely. Most women want to have long, lean muscles and they want to burn fat. Protein will help to achieve both. For some reason a lot of women think that using protein will "bulk them up". As mentioned prior this is just not the case. Your muscles and body need protein (regardless of gender), protein helps to recover and strengthen the muscles and also helps to boost the metabolism (fat burning). The protein isn't bulking you up.. it's the wine, chips and queso.


Does protein have to be expensive?

Paul: No. You will, like anything else, pay more or less depending on quality. With that said, high quality protein can be found for about a $1 per serving. You'll find protein much more expensive and some cheaper, but it surely does not need to break the budget!


So in summary, do a little research, ask questions, and start taking advantage of the benefits a protein supplement has to offer your training program! If you have any questions, just shoot us an email at or leave a comment here! 

Nutrishop Houston is located at 8420 Katy Freeway, Suite 512Houston, Texas 77024

Paul also coaches in his free time over at CrossFit West Houston.