If there's one nutrient that's an absolute must in your diet, it's protein. Protein is made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscle tissue. Without it, your body would lack an important part needed for muscle mass to even exist. Whey protein is one of the best absorbed sources of amino acids, even higher than chicken or fish.*
You can get whey protein in dairy like milk or cheese, but to get more whey and less of the other stuff in milk products (fat, carbs, sodium), cut to the chase with a whey protein powder.
There are many benefits to adding whey protein to your diet:
Always have your whey protein handy! The easiest way to work whey protein supplementation into your life is to mix a whey concentrate or an isolate with water for an instant shake. But be creative with whey protein supplements, especially if you struggle to get enough dietary protein. Here are some ideas:
Whether you use whey protein powder to get amino acids after resistance exercise or add whey to meals to increase your protein intake (or both), it's a key part of any lifter's diet.
You may have also seen casein protein around. In addition to whey, casein is the other type of protein found in milk. It's also a good source of nutrition, but for different purposes. Casein takes longer to digest than whey protein or whey protein concentrate. Which of these milk proteins you choose depends on your needs at the time. When you want to use protein powder as a supplement to help you recover after your workouts, use whey. When you need something to keep you full and to fight off muscle loss overnight, use casein.
Some protein powders include a mix of casein, whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate in the ingredient list. This means you'll get some of the benefits of each type that is included. For instance, a protein powder that has casein and whey protein concentrate will give you quick nutrition to recover from training-induced muscle-mass breakdown and also help you stay full so you can stick to your diet.
Whey protein is high in quality and tastes great, making it an ideal way to meet your daily nutrition needs. Keep a few tubs of protein powder around for when you need a quick snack to fill the hunger void.
Whey protein is easy to mix with water, milk, or other liquids. It has about 20-25 grams of protein per serving. Those who add whey protein to their resistance exercise program often show better results than those who don't. If you skip it, you could be missing out on muscle gains.
There are many different forms and flavors of whey protein, so you're sure to find one that you enjoy having in your diet. You can even bake sweet treats with whey protein.
Make sure to supplement with high-quality whey protein to get the results you long for!* The main forms of whey protein include:
Today, the most popular forms of whey protein are whey isolate and whey hydrolysate. Whey can be isolated from milk during the process of making cheese. This isolate can also be hydrolyzed by chopping proteins into tiny chunks called peptides. In a sense, hydrolyzed whey protein is a predigested version of the isolate, so it's easier for your body to absorb the amino acids. But both types of whey are great sources of nutrition for your starving muscles.*
Another form of whey you can find is whey protein concentrate. This is a less-refined kind of whey than isolate. It's not as high in protein as an isolate or hydrolysate because it still includes more of the fat and carbs from the milk than these other forms, but it's still a much better nutrition source than straight-up milk or cheese.
Not all whey protein powders are the same. The main things to look at in a protein powder include:
Protein powders can range from lean proteins to weight gainers. Make sure the main macronutrients of the powder fit the goals of your diet. An isolate will be mostly protein, while a whey concentrate will have more fat and carbs.
In some cases, additional nutrition complexes will be added to the protein powder for added benefit, such as creatine or glutamine. Sometimes BCAAs are added to whey protein, but whey on its own is already a good source of these essential amino acids.
Also look at how many scoops of whey are in each serving to make sure you're taking the right amount. Don't just automatically use a scoop of whey per shake, because sometimes a serving is more than one scoop.
To get the best results from your protein powder, take this supplement right after your workout. Avoid fat-rich foods after training. They will slow down the amino acids' journey to your muscles, which is not what you want at this time.
If you mix your whey protein powder with milk, use skim milk post-workout. But be sure to include fats in other parts of your diet, because they have valuable nutrition benefits.
Don't take casein after resistance exercise, because this type of protein powder will also slow down your recovery compared to whey.