High-quality protein is the key to building and maintaining lean muscle, supporting a healthy body composition, and fueling fat loss. Protein is the nutrient backbone for all muscle growth and recovery, and also supports the integrity and health of all body tissues. Active individuals require more high-quality protein for optimal performance and recovery.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and active individuals know that high-quality protein is critical for muscle growth and repair. Without sufficient protein there can be no growth. In fact, without enough protein, in the absence of sufficient calories, the body will utilize muscle and body proteins as a source of stored energy, and actually break down lean tissue. So, how much protein is enough?
It’s generally accepted that hard-training athletes require at least 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (this is the generally accepted MINIMUM – many bodybuilders and strength athletes, as well as weight-loss enthusiasts may, in fact, utilize much greater amounts of proteins). Unlike carbohydrates or fats, the body cannot store extra proteins, which means we must continue to ingest them on an ongoing basis to keep our muscles healthy and growing. Supplementing with a high-quality protein powder is a good way to ensure sufficient intake of protein.
Multiple Protein Sources for Maximum Performance
Since the body cannot store extra protein and is only able to absorb and utilize a limited quantity of protein at any particular time, we must ingest protein almost continuously. This could mean a lot of eating!
Eating small, frequent, protein-rich meals from a variety of sources and emphasizing lean, animal-source protein is a good way to go. Varying the sources of protein we eat will increase the likelihood that we are consuming sufficient quantities of each of the essential amino acids necessary for healthy muscle growth and repair.
Supplementation with the right types of protein can ensure sufficient intake of all the necessary amino acids for optimal muscle health, growth, and repair. By supplementing with specific protein supplements, we can almost guarantee that we are getting everything we need to nourish, protect, and support the growth of our muscle tissue. And in the post-workout phase, this becomes even more critical to optimize your training efforts.
Common Sources of Protein in Supplements
■ Whey Protein Isolate: The highest available yield of protein, gram for gram, of any whey protein source, WPI is fast absorbing into the muscle tissues and has immune boosting properties to protect the body system during periods of intense training.
■ Hydrolyzed Whey Protein: Hydrolyzed whey is protein that’s been broken down into fast-absorbing peptides. The fastest absorbing of all forms of whey, hydrolyzed whey hits the bloodstream first, providing a rapid infusion of muscle building amino acids.
■ Micellar Casein: Very slow-digesting, micellar casein has the capability of slowly infusing amino acids over several hours, protecting muscle tissue from breakdown over time. There is no substitute for the anti-catabolic effects of micellar casein.
■ Whey Protein Concentrate: Closer to the whole food sources than other whey proteins, concentrate contains real food subfractions such as alpha-lactoglobulins and lactoferrins, with specific immune boosting and muscle building properties.
■ Egg Albumin: High bio-availability and well tolerated by most individuals, egg albumin has a high BCAA content and arginine. Egg albumin is a powerful contributor to hormone production and the muscle building process.
By combining multiple sources of protein, such as the supplemental sources shown above, we can ensure a complete spectrum of all the necessary amino acids, including the muscle-building Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
By Pete Ciccone, IFBB Pro