Protein Timing, PART 2
Ooops…. I was supposed to write this post a few weeks ago, but things happen (like craziness during the holiday season) and I figured this blog is due. You can read on the first post here: Protein Timing, PART 1
You should know that there are many types of protein supplements out there in the market. The more popular types are whey, casein, and veggie-based.
Whey is a byproduct of cheese production, so it is natural. It’s that pseudo-clear liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained, and used to be tossed aside as waste material before its discovery as a protein source. It is useful for people trying to build muscle as it contains higher levels of branched chain amino acids than any other natural food source.
As for whey protein powder, you’ve got a couple options. Whey-protein products with concentrates of 90% and above are referred to as whey-protein isolates. Whey-protein isolates are the best choice for those trying to maximize whey consumption without the addition of other nutrients such as carbs, fats and fiber. On the other hand, whey protein concentrate contains some fat and lactose but is less processed and more whole. Bodybuilders are drawn to the “purity” of whey isolate, lured by the moderately higher protein counts. Isolate is also considerably more expensive than concentrate, but the purported boost in beneficial effects on protein synthesis are overstated; drinking any kind of whey protein shake will have a beneficial effect on your muscle recovery and protein synthesis. If cost is not an issue, or you’re mildly sensitive to dairy, then isolate is your best choice. Otherwise, it’s probably fine to go with concentrate for most applications.
Another popular type of whey is Hydrolysate, which is predigested whey protein that’s easily absorbed and virtually free of any potential allergens, but it is (in my opinion) horribly overpriced. Whey generally is already highly bio-available and easily absorbed by our bodies, so absorption is rarely an issue.
This other type of milk protein is digested slower than whey protein and helps provide the body with a constant stream of proteins throughout the day. Having casein protein sources at meal times can be more beneficial. Many people also like to take a casein protein supplement before bed to keep the muscles growing well throughout the night.
The old school veggie based protein–like soy–is very famous among vegetarian/vegan folks and also to those who are lactose intolerant. However; there are arguments that discourage the use of soy protein, which you can research more for yourself. The other two types of veggie based proteins that are gaining popularity are Hemp Protein and Sprouted Brown Rice protein.
When is the best time to eat protein for maximum muscle growth?
Protein timing is as much an art as it is a science. However, the key rules are:
- Start the day with protein. Your body is in a catabolic state when you wake up and therefore you are at risk of breaking down muscle tissue for energy. A 2008 study published in the journal “Nutrition and Metabolism” showed that a whey protein drink consumed before breakfast was effective at helping participants lose body fat and maintain lean muscle mass. Whey protein is best in the morning.
- Eat more protein as snacks in between your meals. Casein protein is a good choice throughout the day because it is a slow-release protein, which means protein will remain in your blood longer to keep replenishing muscle supplies. I do encourage that you eat protein from whole food for snacks versus relying too much on shakes.
- Protein after your workout. Most people are in agreement that this is the most important time to consume protein. Research has shown that protein should be consumed within 30 minutes of exercise for maximum benefit. This is to inhibit a large build up of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ as this puts the body into a catabolic state which prevents muscle growth. The best way to take this protein is as a shake. Whey protein is an excellent choice. As for me, my post workout ritual consists of drinking the P90X Recovery Drink right after working out and a whey shake about 30 min after drinking the Recovery Drink.
- More protein before bed. As you will ideally be sleeping for at least 8 hours to give your body every chance to recover and rebuild, you need to stock up on protein before you sleep. A late night protein snack is a good idea here. You can drink a combo whey-casein shake, or even some fat-free cottage cheese or any whole food protein.
With proper protein intake in your diet, and taking it at the correct time, you should see a significant increase in strength and muscle size. Good luck!