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Whey Protein For Workout Fitness

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Whey Protein Supplements

Many people have decided to begin their workout supplement regiment with whey protein. It is perhaps the most prominent of supplements on the market and one that touts the ability to build bigger and stronger muscles and a lean physique. Whey protein is a safe and effective muscle building additive to your health diet and is easily found in health food stores or online.

What is Protein?

Proteins are large biological molecules consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms and participate in virtually every process within cells. Many proteins are enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions and are vital to metabolism. Proteins also have structural or mechanical functions in muscles and the proteins in the cytoskeleton, which form a system of scaffolding that maintains cell shape.  Proteins are also necessary in our diets, since our bodies cannot synthesize all the amino acids they need and must obtain essential amino acids from food. Through the process of digestion we break down ingested protein into free amino acids that are then used in our metabolisms. All protein from any source is made up of about twenty amino acids, the difference being the sequence of the amino acid chains. Also it’s the way the amino acid is structured that will change the type of protein you are getting in your diet.

Essential Amino Acids

Some important protein sources are beef, chicken, fish, egg, whey, soy, and casein, and soy and each is different from the other primarily because of the amino acids that comprise each unique protein source.  These high quality proteins all contain eight specific amino acids, which are known as essential amino acids. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are three of these essential amino acids and for physically active individuals they supply energy to working muscles as well as helping to reduce muscle damage and soreness following intense workouts. These are known as the BCAAs.

Leucine

Leucine is the only known dietary amino acid supplement that can stimulate muscle protein synthesis. People who want to increase lean muscle mass and experience improved recovery can base their protein supplementation on the amount of leucine in the content. When comparing types of protein for the greatest amount of leucine, Whey comes out on top.

There are objective scoring systems that rank protein quality and whey protein is usually ranked the highest because of the high amount of leucine it contains as compared to other protein sources. Where do we get whey protein? It comes from milk. A cup of cow’s milk gives you about 8 grams of total protein. The main group of proteins found in cow’s milk is called caseins and the rest are known as whey proteins. In milk about eighty percent of the protein is casein and whey comprises the rest.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is left over when milk congeals during the process of cheese production, and contains everything that is soluble from milk during the coagulation process. Basically it is a solution of lactose in water with some minerals. It is then processed for human foods by removing the fat, then other methods are used to remove lipids and other non-protein materials. Whey protein supplements are commercially available as concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates. The main differences would be the method of processing, fat and lactose content and amino acid structure.

The quality of the product will determine the amount of available protein in a Whey protein concentrate. Usually there will be between 25% and 89% protein in a concentrate supplement. The protein level in whey protein concentrate will increase as the amounts of fat and/or lactose decrease. Whey protein concentrate is processed further to become whey protein isolate, the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein available. Whey protein isolate will contain 90% or more protein and small amounts of fat and lactose.

Whey protein hydrolysates are made from either whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate and the amount of protein present will vary with method used and product. The product is made when whey protein hydrolysates are enzymatically predigested, a process by which milk protein is enzymatically broken down into smaller pieces. This allows the amino acids to be absorbed by the body more rapidly than intact proteins.

Whey Protein: Is it better?

Of the three most common commercially available protein supplements whey, casein, and soy, whey protein is significantly better than the other protein sources. The difference is found when these proteins are compared for their ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the few hours following exercise. It often outperforms other protein sources in maximal strength, increasing lean body mass, or in maximizing fat loss.

While you can use many sources of protein in your fitness supplement programs, whey protein would be the superior choice. This should be used as the foundation of your protein intake as it i\has been known to increase rates of protein synthesis, increase lean muscle mass, improve overall strength and help you recover more quickly from strenuous exercise.

How Much?

In an active workout routine an individual should ingest between 3/4 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight or 1.4 and 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.  If you are a more serious trainer you can try taking 1-1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day. If you want to maximize your training program you should try taking a whey protein supplement.