If you’re looking to get yourself in shape before the end of the year, or to simply give yourself a bit of a head start against everybody else looking to get in shape for 2015 then before you go any further you need to know that the entire process is not going to be easy. There will be hard times, stressful times, ups, downs, and everything in-between but you need to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and what it is that you’re ultimately looking to achieve. Every single day, people from countries all over the world get out of bed in a morning and decide that they’re going to get in shape. Whether they’re looking to burn fat, build muscle, or both for that matter, one common error that people tend to make is not paying enough attention to the diet and nutritional aspects of working out. You can exercise seven days a week for 2 or 3 hours at a time but if your diet isn’t on point you simply won’t see the gains, or losses, that you may have been hoping for.
Bodybuilding and resistance training for example, rely heavily on a healthy and balanced diet and nutritional plan designed to maximize muscle growth, recovery, and fat loss. The problem is that people don’t actually realize just how important it really is. When people talk about bodybuilding and weight training, protein is often one of the first things mentioned, yet many people don’t actually understand why it’s so important. For that reason, we’ll now be taking an in-depth look at protein and protein supplementation to help you get the most out of your training.
Protein in general – Protein is a crucial macro-nutrient when it comes to the recovery and growth of muscle tissue and cells, but many people don’t actually know why. They know they need protein, but they’re not sure exactly why they need it and where to get it from. Protein is commonly found in meats, seafood, eggs, dairy produce, soya produce, and nuts and seeds, but on top of that it is also available in a variety of different supplements. You’ve probably heard of protein shakes when it comes to bodybuilding but the problem there is that there are simply so many different forms of protein supplement to choose from. Each type of protein supplement is derived from different ingredients using different processes, and each type of protein supplement also has a different role and a different effect on the body in general.
Whey protein – When you hear people down at the gym talking about protein shakes, 9 times out of 10 the protein they will be referring to is Whey Protein. Whey protein is the best-selling and most popular bodybuilding supplement in the entire world and rakes in billions in revenue for supplement companies every single year. Whey protein is actually made from milk and is a by-product created when milk is turned into cheese. Whey protein is available as an isolate or a concentrate with whey protein isolate being the more expensive and better quality protein. The reason for this is that when a protein is concentrated it is around 75 – 85% pure protein, with the remaining 15 – 25% being made up of carbs and fats. Whey protein isolate is around 95% pure protein, making it of a better quality. Whey protein is the protein of choice for many because it comes in a variety of different flavors, it is more often than not slightly cheaper, and it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream by the body, allowing it to provide cells throughout the body with all of the necessary nutrients required to facilitate the growth and recovery of muscle tissue. Whey protein is often consumed early in the day, and immediately following a workout when the muscles are most anabolically primed for maximum nutrient absorption. It should always be consumed with water post-workout as the milk slows down the digestion and absorption.
Casein protein – Casein protein is another protein that is extremely common that is also derived from milk. It is created via a special separation process which is applied to milk that again can concentrate or isolate the protein from the carbs and fats also contained in the milk. Casein offers very similar benefits to those that whey protein offers but the main difference is the absorption time. Whereas whey is absorbed quickly, casein is broken down slower and so takes longer to be absorbed, making it not much use for post-workout nutrition. Casein really earns its keep however, when it comes to bedtime. Many people consume casein late at night before bed because it slowly releases a steady stream of nutrients into the body, promoting muscle growth and repair and preventing the body from falling into a catabolic state where it eats away at its own muscle tissue for energy.
Soy protein – Not surprisingly, soy protein is derived from soya beans and is the protein of choice for vegan and vegetarian bodybuilders and athletes. It is so effective because it is one of the only protein sources derived from plant based materials that provides all of the essential amino acids required by the body. Other benefits as well as promoting muscle growth and repair include immune system boosting and helping to promote optimal bone health.
Egg protein – No prizes for guessing where egg protein comes from. Yes, not surprisingly, egg protein comes eggs (shock horror) and is made by a special process in which egg whites are separated away from egg yolks and are then dehydrated until they turn into an egg white powder. It’s rich in protein but another great benefit is that it also contain certain vitamins and minerals too. It is a very healthy and beneficial protein which is why it’s one of the more expensive proteins on the market today.
Pea protein – If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and fancy a change from soy protein, pea protein is well worth checking out. It is made from yellow split peas and as it’s plant based it is extremely hypoallergenic, offering a whopping 98% rate of digestion, so the body is able to process a huge majority of the protein per serving, meaning very little goes to waste. Unfortunately it lacks certain amino acids so can’t quite boast as being one of the best sources of all around protein available.