Every gym goer knows that one of the most important nutritional requirements for building muscle mass is protein.
It is the building blocks of muscle that the body uses to repair and grow after a strenuous gym session. For this reason, whey protein is incredibly popular amongst trainers.
Why is dietary protein important for muscle growth?
• Protein cannot be produced by the body and must come from dietary sources.
• Protein is made up of collections of amino acids; these are required for all sorts of vital bodily functions.
• The majority of bodily protein is contained within muscle tissue. The more protein the body has access to, the more it can build muscle.
How much protein do I need?
A typical diet amongst the western world contains around 50g of protein per day. Whilst this is adequate for survival, many studies and professional bodybuilders state that an intake of at least 150-200g per day provides optimal muscle growth. As you can imagine, getting 200g of protein from food alone is quite challenging, which is why whey protein is so popular. It boosts the levels of dietary proteins in the body and provides an ideal environment for building muscles.
Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, a by-product of cheese production. It is a cost effective way of packing high levels of good quality proteins into easily ingestible powders. It is easily mixed with water or milk to provide a quick and easy way of boosting your protein intake.
What is in my whey protein shake?
A typical whey protein shake will contain around 40g of protein, and it is common for those wishing to build muscle to supplement their diet with 3 of these shakes per day, on top of their existing diet. Although many other variations of protein isolates exist, whey is by far the most popular due to its high bio-availability (the ability of the body to break down and use the nutrients), low price and diverse essential amino acid profiles.
We talked briefly about amino acids and their importance in the body, but why are they important?
• BCAAs (Branched-chain amino acids) are used to stimulate protein synthesis – the process by which the body turns dietary protein into muscle
• Amino acids play a vital role in the release of energy from our food
• Essential for a healthy immune system
So…Is whey protein important?
With all of these incredible benefits, it’s easy to see why whey protein has been one of the staple building blocks in the success of Olympic athletes, competitive sportsmen and aspiring gym goers for decades. Whilst new supplements are being researched and made available to the public all the time, the one constant amongst every aspiring bodybuilder will almost certainly be whey protein.