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Expert Guides

Your Quick Guide to Protein Supplements

Publish date: 20/07/2013

Protein is by far the most crucial nutrient with regards to muscle mass building. It is certainly the most used nutrient for fitness enthusiasts anywhere in the world. You will get a plethora of information on protein, its needs and the supplements that are available. In this article we have tried to cover the basic ground about protein supplements and how they help your muscle building efforts

What is Protein and What are its Functions

Protein is one of the vital nutrients that is used by our bodies to function properly and go on with life. It is absolutely essential for our subsistence and well being. Proteins are formed by a series of amino acids that are linked together through peptide links. Amino acids are the principal source of the human body for nitrogen, an element that is needed for muscle growth and repair. Muscles are mostly formed from protein and water. The functions of protein can be listed as:

  • Muscle building and growth
  • Supplying energy in absence of carbohydrates
  • Balancing blood PH level
  • Preventing muscle catabolism during lean diet periods
  • Building and maintaining required hormone levels.
  • Regulating the body’s fluid balance
  • Functioning of immunity system

Usually the requirement of protein for your body is about 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of your bodyweight. Also protein should ideally form about 20 to 40% of your daily calorie intake.

What are Protein Supplements and What are the Different Kinds of Supplements You Get

Protein supplements are basically products that serve as sources of protein for nutrition and also as quick sources for supplying the body with its required amount of daily protein. They typically contain 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving and come fortified with minerals and vitamins.   There are various kinds of supplements available in the market like isolates, blends, concentrates, BCCAs, weight gainers, meal replacements, fast digesting, slow digesting and so on. Different kinds are to be taken for different specific needs and requirements.  

What are the Benefits of Using Protein Supplements

For average non-active people protein intake through food may serve the purpose since they do not engage in intensive physical activities and their need for protein is lower than that of an active person. But for a person who is into weight training and muscle building, replenishing protein reserves in the body is extremely vital since muscles are mostly made of proteins. Unless they take enough protein the body catabolises muscles for energy which reduces their gain from training sessions. Also enough protein intake makes sure that they can exert their muscles so much more. protein supplements are easily absorbed into the system low on preparations, convenient and quick on action. The benefits of protein supplements can be listed as below:

  • Supplying the body with instant source of energy
  • Helping in muscle mass building
  • Helping in recovery of muscle after training
  • Minimising muscle catabolism
  • Helping in fat loss

What are the Most Common Protein Supplements

There are hordes of protein supplements available in the market catering to different needs and specifications. Some of the most popular are whey protein, whey isolate, whey concentrate, whey protein blends, casein protein, egg albumin, soy protein, etc.

When Should You take Your Protein Supplement

Your fitness instructor is the best person to advice you on your specific needs since your intake depends on the kind of workout you are doing and also your type of body. However the usual intake timeline is as follows:

  • In The Morning – a mixture of slow and fast digesting protein like whey protein and casein protein mix
  • Pre Workout – slow digesting protein powder
  • Post Workout – a mixture of fast and slow digesting protein
  • Between Meals - slow digesting protein
  • Before Bed - slow digesting protein
  • Meal Replacements – either fast or slow digesting proteins or protein blends

Should you take your Protein Supplement with Other Forms of Supplements

For additional benefits that other supplements can give you, you can stack your protein supplement with other supplements like creatine, BCCAs,  multivitamins, fat burners, carbs, nitric oxide and beta alanine.

Author: Carol