The field of fitness can be confusing, and with all the available supplements, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This article provides you an accessible and easily understandable introduction to whey protein. This form of protein can help any fitness fanatic take their training to the next level. As well as explaining why whey protein is so vital, this article also covers how much every athlete should take and the optimal time for consumption.
If you’re serious about your training regime, chances are you have seriously considered what supplements to add to your diet. However, regardless of whether you are an experienced bodybuilder or just starting, there is one dietary supplement that is essential: whey protein. Derived from the process of cheese-making, whey protein has quickly become the supplement of choice for all athletes. Here are some reasons why.
Protein is the fuel for any elite athlete but consuming enough can be a real problem. If you lead a busy life – holding down a job plus sticking to a committed training regime – finding the time to cook enough of the right type of meals can be almost impossible. Unfortunately, without the necessary levels of protein, achieving the full potential in your muscle growth is going to be difficult. This is where whey protein comes in.
Low in fat and well-tolerated by most people, whey is a convenient protein-packed supplement that can deliver the nutrients when you need them the most. Many athletes like to take protein immediately before and after a workout to maximize muscle cell synthesis. Whey protein is available in a convenient shake form, which makes it far easier to take than ramming a couple of steaks down your throat.
Guidelines suggest around 1-1.5g of protein is required per pound of body weight, which means a 200-pound bodybuilder needs to wolf down an astonishing 200-300g of protein a day—split over at least five meals.
While it is a good idea to ensure at least some of this protein comes from whole foods, the rest can come from whey protein. Whey is easier to digest than whole foods and is much faster to metabolize. It is quite popular among athletes because it is effective and convenient after workouts. An added bonus is that it is much cheaper than meat and other forms of protein.
Not Just a Muscle Builder
One benefit of whey protein is it doesn’t just provide the building blocks of muscle growth; it has many extra benefits as well. Whey naturally includes many fat-burning components that can help you achieve that lean, ripped look much more quickly and without the pain. Balancing protein needs with dietary control to build muscle and eliminate fat can be incredibly difficult when you just have a few pounds left to lose. Studies have shown that whey can help reduce total body fat when taken with an exercise regime that includes both resistance and endurance training.
As well as metabolically helping to burn fat, whey protein has many other benefits that can help athletes. Studies have shown whey helps to suppress the appetite, getting rid of any unwanted hunger pangs and allowing you to plan your diet without the temptation to stray. It achieves this, not with the unwelcome addition of any bulking agents, but by a peptide found to occur naturally in the compound. This peptide stimulates the release of the CCK hormone—the same hormone secreted by the intestines after you have eaten a large meal.
And if fat burning and muscle growth wasn’t enough, whey protein has also been linked to many other benefits. Training when you are ill is a bad idea and catching a cold, flu, or virus can set you back. However, whey protein has been credited with strengthening your immune system, helping you to fight off any nasty bugs that could stop you from working out for a while. Of course, you will still have to look after yourself, but it could provide the extra boost you need, especially if everyone around you is full of germs.
Tryptophan and Phenylalanine are two key amino acids contained in whey protein, and as well as the physical benefits, they also help aid memory, elevate mood, and ease depression. As all-around boosters of nervous system health, they are valuable additions to any diet.
With such a range of benefits, not to mention the convenience with which it can be stored, carried and consumed, whey protein should be in every athlete’s cupboard.