For many of us the protein we consume in our diets is sufficient for our day to day activities. However, those of us who are trying to gain muscle mass place additional strain on our muscles through regular weight training and therefore require an increased amount of protein to make our muscles grow. Protein supplements are a quick, convenient source of protein and an effective way to build muscle mass. In this article I discuss the various types of protein supplements available and the key considerations that should be made before purchasing.
Many believe that carbohydrates are the most important food group. Carbohydrates provide us with energy and allow the body to carry out its normal functions. However, we should not neglect the significance of protein which helps build the body and repairs muscles. For those who are training to gain muscle mass protein is a very useful supplement. Why? Because the protein we take in through our diets is often not enough to compensate for the excess wear and tear of the muscles caused by weight training. The body requires this extra protein to repair the muscles and if it does not get it these muscles will not be repaired properly. In the worst cases the body will even start to burn existing muscle to get the extra energy it requires.
Even those who are looking to lose weight may want to consider using protein supplements because protein has been associated with a temporary boost in metabolism and can also suppress your appetite. Protein supplements can also be useful if you are looking to tone your existing muscles as part of a training routine.
There are hundreds of varieties and types of protein supplements available. The first thing you need to consider which protein supplement you purchase is to think about what your goals are. Are you trying to burn fat? Do you want to tone your muscles? Is your aim to build some serious size? The type of protein supplement you require will depend upon your answers to these questions. It is advisable to consult your personal trainer and/or dietician before making such a decision. If you outline your goals to them they should be able to help you make a more informed choice. Below I have outlined some of the more popular types of protein available:
1) WHEY PROTEIN:- Whey protein is formed from milk protein and is considered natural because of this. It is believed to be more efficient than other types of protein because it provides the highest value of branch chain amino acids (which are required for muscle building). Whey protein also helps the body build amino acids with the concentration and makeup of amino acid builders in whey protein believed to be most suitable for the needs and requirements of bodybuilders. Whey protein is relatively easy to digest and is usually consumed after a workout for an instant fix of protein. The main limitation of whey protein is that it is absorbed very quickly and only is only effective for a short period after consumption.
2) MISCELLAR CASEIN:- Micellar casein (sometimes just referred to as casein) is a relatively rich protein which is difficult to digest. It allows amino acid elevations for up to 7 hours after consumption which is much longer than whey protein allows. It is usually consumed on days when you do not work out or just before bed to ensure that your body has an extended supply of protein available. The main limitation of micellar casein is that it takes longer to absorb so is not suitable when an instant fix of protein is needed.
3) EGG AND SOY PROTEIN:- Egg and soy are also rich sources of protein that can be processed into supplements. Like with whey protein they are made from mostly natural ingredients. Although they are not as rich as micellar casein they are easier to digest. Egg and soy protein supplements are usually taken by people who are focussing on toning up.
All the proteins mentioned in this article can be purchased in shake, bar and powder form. You can buy protein supplements from shops that specialise in dietary supplements, your local gym, certain department stores and online. Protein can be a really effective supplement if your goals are to gain muscle mass, tone up or even burn fat. Speak to your personal trainer and/or dietician and they should be able to find the right protein for you.