Protein is a component of every cell of your body. Twenty-one amino acids make up protein and are vital for the repair and building of muscle tissue. If you are an athlete, bodybuilder or train with weights, you should recognize the need for and importance of protein.
Protein sources. Natural protein sources include meat, milk and eggs, beans, nuts and soy. Meat, milk and eggs are referred to as “complete” proteins as they contain all 21 essential amino acids and should be your first choices of protein. Plant based sources of protein are considered “incomplete” proteins as they do not contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Should you use protein supplements? Your body doesn’t store protein, the only proteins available to build or repair muscle are those you eat throughout the day. As an athlete, you need a continuous supply of protein to repair and rebuild muscle throughout the day and the night. To accomplish this would require constant meal preparation and eating. Protein supplements, including whey and casein can fill that need with a variety of simple to prepare protein shakes. Just use a shaker or blender, add water, juice or milk, blend or shake and drink.
Whey Or Casein. Both whey and casein proteins are milk based products. The major difference between the two is the rate of absorption or “uptake.” Whey is a fast-digesting protein, perfect for feeding muscle immediately after a workout. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that provides small amounts of protein over an extended period.
Which protein should you use? Why not both? Mix up your whey protein shake shortly before your workout to ensure a constant supply of protein when your muscles need it most. Another shake immediately after your workout will feed muscle and allow for repair and recovery. Use your casein protein just before bed to feed your muscles throughout the night.
How much protein do you need? The Dietary Reference Intake, a series of nutrition recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, suggests 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.35 grams per pound per day for the average sedentary adult. That’s about 72 grams of protein per day. But, hopefully, YOU are not an average sedentary person, you are an athlete or bodybuilder and you need considerably more protein to build and repair muscle. The International Journal of Sports Nutrition recommends that those involved in strength training should get at least 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.7 grams per pound, meaning that a 200 pound man requires 140 grams of protein daily – TWICE the amount recommended for the sedentary person.
Recommendations – To reach the suggested protein totals, consider smaller, easy to digest shakes with your choice of liquid and Whey protein during the day and continue to build muscle at night with the slow-release Casein protein.