Many athletes and bodybuilders take whey protein but end up disappointed with less than spectacular results. However, there is a reason whey protein is often dubbed a miracle supplement, capable of delivering significant improvements. For most people, the problem lies with how and when the whey protein is taken. This article examines the best ways to use whey protein for maximum effect, helping you get the results you crave and making every gram count.
Widely considered the athlete’s secret weapon, whey protein has the potential to deliver a range of benefits from muscle growth and recovery to fat burning and boosting the immune system. But while it is true that whey protein, combined with the right training regimen, will bring benefits, you need to use it in the right way to get the best results.
Here’s a guide to what whey protein could do for you and when to take it for optimum results.
Whey – the Basics
Whey protein is almost a wonder-supplement because of the vast number of benefits associated with taking it. Any elite athlete knows an increased amount of protein is essential to provide fuel for muscle growth, but different types that affect the body in different ways. Whey is the most quickly absorbed protein and is highly digestible, so the body can access the amino acids it contains in super-fast time.
However, whey protein can easily be switched from a fast-release to a slow-release compound by merely taking it with milk. Of course, you’ll have to factor in the additional calories and fat content in the milk into your daily diet plan.
In addition to being easy for the body to break down and digest, whey is also a rich source of the trio known collectively as branched-chain amino acids: valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
These three amino acids are the holy grail for supplements, as they preserve muscle stores of glycogen and help slow down the breakdown of muscle protein during exercise.
First Thing in the Morning
If you are not a breakfast person, the thought of sitting down to a large meal when you wake up might make you cringe. The facts, however, point to it being one of the most crucial times of the day to supply your body with the food it needs.
Your body, having been asleep for seven to eight hours, is in starvation mode first thing in the morning. What you put into it in the morning will have a tremendous impact on how your day goes. For this reason, the first thing you consume should be whey protein mixed with fruit juice or yogurt—depending on personal taste. This morning snack delivers a powerful protein injection to the body, but for it to be absorbed and put to optimum use, it needs to be followed 45 minutes later by a proper muscle-building breakfast.
Following the whey drink with a full breakfast will give your body the jumpstart it needs and allow it to use the protein efficiently. If you can follow this routine, in the morning, you will find a dramatic difference in how you feel and it won’t take long for you to notice the difference.
If you are getting ready for a session at the gym, plan your time so you can take some whey protein approximately 40 minutes before you start.
Intense exercise demands energy from the body, and once depleted, your ability to perform will be dramatically reduced. Therefore, to be able to train efficiently and to your maximum capacity, you need to provide your muscles with the energy they need in advance.
Sitting down to eat a big meal before you exercise is never great preparation, but a whey protein drink will provide the same nutrients in a far more palatable form.
Glucose is the number one preferred source of energy for the body. The branched-chain amino acids are crucial to keeping the glycogen stores as long as possible, which will help you keep going. Glycogen is the way the body stores glucose, usually in the muscles and liver.
Mixing whey protein with carbohydrates will supercharge your workouts, providing you with much more energy and giving you the chance to get your muscles pumping.
Possibly the most critical time to consume protein is after your workout. Mixing whey with carbohydrates will deliver what your body is craving. Taking whey and carbs together provides your body with a shot of insulin, which starts glycogen manufacture. But as well as helping essential amino acids and glucose reach depleted muscles, a whey protein drink also activates the release of a growth hormone, which will help -support muscle cell growth.
Whey is a vital source of protein, and while it should never entirely replace whole foods, it can deliver many benefits. Low in fat and easy to absorb, whey is convenient and helps elite athletes access the levels of protein they need while on the go. Taken first thing in the morning and before and after exercise, whey protein can help boost performance, aid recovery and encourage muscle growth. Organising your intake of whey protein to follow this pattern is an excellent way to ensure you are getting the right amount to maximize the benefits.