Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Complete Guide to Protein

It used to be the case that getting extra protein involved eating loads of raw eggs like you saw in the Rocky film. Even if you could stomach doing this, there was always the chance of getting food poisoning. Nowadays proteins have become much safer, more convenient and much tastier. High protein foods and supplements are readily available all over the internet and health shops. Research shows that eating protein helps build muscle and also burn fat too. Today, protein supplements form part of the diet of athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, weight loss clients and the average gym goer all over the world.

The Different Types

Whey Proteins

  • ·         A typical serving of whey contains the same amount of protein found in a chicken breast, but is also very low in both fat and carbohydrate. This means you get the protein you need for muscle building without the added calories.
  • ·         A naturally complete protein, whey is often referred to as a "fast" protein for its ability to provide rapid nourishment to muscles.
  • ·         Whey has a higher biological value than many foods, including fish, beef and soya. This means that more of the protein is actually used for muscle building by your body.
  • ·         Whey contains high levels of both the essential and branched chain amino acids, which researchers think could be the most important amino acids when it comes to triggering new muscle growth.

Casein Proteins

  • ·         Casein protein is a slow-digesting form of protein (unlike Whey Protein which is a fast-digesting protein). It makes up 80% of the total protein in milk.
  • ·         Casein protein helps to repair muscles during sleep. It is usually taken before bed to ensure maximum recovery overnight.
  • ·         Casein protein taken before bedtime dramatically reduces the chance of your muscles becoming catabolic (breaking down).
  • ·         Also useful to take during prolonged periods without eating.

Egg Proteins

  • ·         Made from egg white, it's fat-free, very high in protein, and is considered a perfect source for protein because of its complete makeup of essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids.
  • ·         Once egg protein is in your system, it is completely absorbed by your body. When other proteins are measured for quality and effectiveness, egg protein is at the top of the list and is considered to be the gold standard.

Blended Proteins

  • ·         Protein blends are a combination of several protein sources.
  • ·         The combination of two or more protein sources allows the user to benefit from sustained protein release, fast release protein, and a more complete amino acid profile.
  • ·         Protein blends can be used post workout, between meals and before bed.
  • ·         A more affordable way of buying all the different protein sources available.

Recovery Proteins

  • ·         Fast acting protein and carbohydrate combinations designed to be consumed immediately after workouts when nutrient needs are high.
  • ·         Can contain protein hydrolysates, BCAA’s and glutamine to aid the recovery and rebuilding process.
  • ·         May also include ingredients like creatine and micronized amino acids to assist muscle building goals.

When should you take your protein?

First thing in the morning: The period between when you go to bed and wake up on the morning is the longest your body will go without food. Opt for a faster –acting protein like whey for instant absorption to help break the fast.

Pre-Workout: Drinking a protein shake an hour before your workout will get the body ready for growth with amino acids. Whey and egg proteins are good as they are quickly ingested.

Post-Workout: The 30-60 minute timeframe after a workout is the most important time of the day to get protein. Your muscles will be receptive to nutrients as your body will want to repair, rebuild and replenish glycogen stores. A recovery protein containing whey, casein, egg and simple carbs will help you recharge.

Between meals: A protein shake in between meals helps synthesise muscles and keep body fat and weight in check. Proteins help stimulate the release of gut hormones that trigger a feeling of fullness. Whey, casein or a combination of both would be ideal.

Before bed: Prepare your body for the long fast ahead with a casein protein shake half an hour to an hour before you go to bed. Casein is digested at a much slower rate releasing its amino acids over several hours throughout the night while you sleep.

I hope you have found this blog useful and that it has given you a basic understanding of the different types of protein available and how they can benefit you. Look out for my next blog: Weight Training and Protein for Women

Rich Palmer PT
Personal Trainer Sutton Coldfield
“making your fitness goals a reality”

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