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Posted 9/11/2014

We are often getting asked the question of 'what is the best protein to take?' and other similar questions. So have decided to produce a comprehensive article highlighting which protein product is the best for your training regime...

 

Whey Proteins
 
The undisputed king of proteins. Here’s why: whey proteins are quickly and easily digested (hence the “fast acting” description that they’re often given), they are loaded with Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)-including the three Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), and they contain subcomponents that appear to provide benefits above and beyond amino acids and elemental nitrogen. Whey proteins are available in several forms. The most basic is whey concentrate. Whey protein isolates have much of the fat, lactose and other undesirable elements ‘isolated’ out. Whey peptides have been hydrolyzed, or broken down, for even faster digestion. So the purest and faster digesting whey proteins you can buy are hydrolyzed whey protein isolates.
 
Casein Proteins
 
About 80% of the protein in milk is casein. Often referred to as a “slower-acting” or “time-released” protein because it is digested and absorbed much more slowly than other proteins, casein proteins are especially useful when taken at bedtime and during other prolonged periods without eating.
 
Egg Proteins
 
Ask any dietician, “What’s the best course of protein?” and eggs will probably top the list. Most nutrition textbooks refer to eggs as the “gold standard” for protein quality. With loads of EAAs and some of the highest scores of protein quality, we’re not going to argue. Naturally dairy-free, eggs are a great alternative to whey, casein, and whole milk proteins for those with milk allergies or severe lactose intolerance.
 
Blended Proteins
 
If you can only afford one type of protein, consider going with a blend. Combining faster-, intermediate-, and slower-protein sources, blended proteins give you more sustained protein digestion than single-source proteins like whey, casein or egg. Musclefactory Protein Fusion is the product we recommend with its blend of Micellar Casein, Egg and Whey proteins.
 
Recovery Proteins
 
There are moderate calorie, fast-acting protein and carbohydrate combinations specifically designed to be consumed immediately after workouts when nutrient needs are great and glycogen and muscle protein re-synthesis are at their peak. Many also contain whey protein hydrolysates and supplemental ingredients like BCAAs and glutamine to further aid the recovery and rebuilding process. This may also include complementing ingredients like creatine and micronized amino acids to assist with your muscle building goals. We recommend Musclefactory ‘Anabolic Recovery’ which has all of the above including 5 grams of added creatine, glutamine and HMB.
 
Making your selection.
 
Q: What is the difference between faster, intermediate, and slower acting proteins?
 
A: In this case, “faster”, “intermediate”, and “slower” are all referring to the relative speed with which a given protein is broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed into the bloodstream for delivery to the liver and muscle tissues. Generally speaking, whey proteins are the fastest, egg and whole milk proteins are in the middle, and casein proteins are at the slower end of the spectrum. By strategically taking distinct types or blends of proteins at different times of the day, you can achieve greater results than by using the same single source protein or by arbitrarily choosing what type you use for every occasion.
 
Buying a protein isn’t rocket science.
 
But don’t underestimate the process either. Choose the wrong type and you’ll by more than you need. Worse yet, spend less than you should and you may not get satisfactory results- or any results at all. The type (or types) of protein you select, the amount of protein per serving, and the absence or presence of carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, are other areas where you can wander astray. Avoid these and other pitfalls by following these simple rules.
  
Figure out how much protein you need…..
 
For most individuals, 1 gram of proteins per pound of body weight per day is a good target. Those who are looking to add size may need as much as 1.5 g protein/lb. weight/day. You should also plan on eating some extra protein (1.25-1.5 g/lb/day) if you’re trying to lose weight on higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets, as some of the amino acids will be burned for fuel. These amounts include all of the protein consumed through foods, beverages, and supplements. What’s more, your daily protein allotment should be spread out over 4-6 smaller meals to enhance absorption and utilization. If you’re a big meat, fish. Poultry, egg, and dairy food eater, you can probably get away with a smaller “hit” of protein from your powdered mix. Vegetarians and others who eat lots of starchy foods will benefit more from a higher-protein formula.
 
Make your selection and stick with it, at least for a while
 
To do something positive for your physique, you need to take your protein(s) continually and consistently for at least 60 days. After a couple of months, evaluate and, if necessary, modify your program to add in other proteins, to increase or decrease the amounts used, or to change to a different type of protein altogether.
 
When should I take my protein?
 
First thing in the morning: The period between when you go to bed and wake up in the morning is the longest that your body goes without food. “Break the fast” with protein. In addition to providing much needed amino acids for muscle maintenance and rebuilding, proteins provide more stable, sustained energy than that donut or bagel that you’re currently chewing on. Opt for a faster-acting protein like whey first thing in the morning.
 
Pre Workout: By drinking a protein shake about an hour before your workout, you’ll “prime” your body for growth with BCAAs and other essential amino acids. Whey and egg proteins are a good choice, because they are easy to drink and quickly digested.
 
Post Workout: the 30-60 minute timeframe following exercise is the single most important time of the day to get protein. Enzymes and hormones are actively repairing and rebuilding exercise-induced damage as well as replenishing glycogen stores, so your muscles are especially receptive to nutrients. By supplying a post-workout recovery protein containing whey, casein, egg, and simple carbohydrates during this “window” of opportunity, you’ll help ensure that you’re recharged and ready for your next training session.
 
Between meals: Consuming a protein shake in between meals not only helps keep muscle synthesis maximizes, it also helps keep body fat and body weight in check. Proteins help stimulate the release of gut hormones that trigger a feeling of fullness or satiety. Dairy proteins (whey, casein, and milk) are considered to be better appetite blunters than other protein sources – especially when combined with dietary fibre – so choose a product with one or more of these proteins if weight control is part of your goals.
 
Before Bed: Prepare your body for the long fast ahead with casein protein shake a half an hour before bed. Unlike whey which is rapidly broken down in the gut, casein is digested at a much slower rate releasing its amino acid constituents over several hours throughout the night while you sleep. For this reason, casein is commonly referred to as a time-released protein. Casein is also considered anti-catabolic because it’s rich in glutamine and other amino acids that help protect against muscle breakdown.
 
 
Technical Talk…..
 
Pure protein percentage is another way to compare proteins. While the Nutrition Facts panel tells you how much protein is in each serving the protein percentage tells you how pure your protein is. To calculate, Divide the grams of protein in a single serving by the serving size and multiply by a 100.
 
Here’s an example using two different proteins. The first protein contains 24 grams of protein and has a serving of 29.4 grams; the second contains 26 grams of protein in a 35 gram serving size. At first glance, the second choice appears to provide more protein. However, using the pure protein calculation, you realise that the first protein is actually better value because it has a higher purity level. This calculation works best on single-source proteins. Meal replacements, blends and gainers can include vitamins, minerals and other ingredients after the end result.
 
Protein 1: 24 g protein / 29.4g serving size x 100 = 81.6% pure protein
 
Protein 2: 26 g protein / 35g serving size x 100 = 74.3% pure protein
 
For pure protein we always recommend our Musclefactory Whey 80 protein which has one of the highest percentages of protein on the market today, without compromising on taste. It also has a whopping 5 grams of glutamine added per serving.

As part of our blog we will bring you bang up to date with all the latest bodybuilding/weightlifting terms most commonly used, in the fourth part of our series we have the letters, N-R....

 

Natural: (1) Nutrition: Foods or supplements that are not highly refined and which do not contain artificial flavours or colours. The word 'natural' has no legal definition in food supplementation.

Natural: (2) Pharmacology: Gym jargon for athletes who have not used anabolic steroids or other banned erogenic aids for a particular period of time.

Neurotransmitter: A substance released at the end of nerve cells when a nerve impulse arrives there. Neurotransmitters diffuse across the gap to the next nerve cell and alter the membrane of that cell in such a way that it becomes less or more likely to fire. Examples include adrenaline and serotonin. Adrenaline is responsible for the 'fight or flight' response and is an excitatory neurotransmitter; serotonin is the opposite-it makes you sleepy.

Nitrogen Balance: Refers to a person's daily intake of nitrogen from protein equals the daily excretion of nitrogen. A negative nitrogen balance occurs when the excretion of nitrogen exceeds the daily intake and is often seen when muscle is being lost. A positive nitrogen balance is often associated with muscle growth.

Nitrogen: This is an element that distinguishes proteins from other substances and allows them to form various structural units in our bodies.

Nutraceuticals: See functional foods

Nutrient: Components of food that help nourish the body, i.e. provide energy or serve as building materials. Include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.

Nutrition: The study of food and its chemical components.

Off-The-Shelf (OTS): Refers to substances that do not require a prescription to be attained legally, nor need they be requested in a pharmacy.

Oligopeptide: Peptide chain of a few amino acids in length.

Oligosaccharide: Carbohydrate chain of a few simple sugars in length.

Omega-3 (n-3) Fatty Acids: A type of polyunsaturated fatty acid; the '3' designates where the first double bond is located in the fatty acid carbon chain. These are abundant in fish oils; e.g. linolenic acid.

Omega-6 (n-6) Fatty Acids: A type of polyunsaturated fatty acid, the '6' refers to the first double-bond on a fatty acid chain which is located at the sixth carbon acid. For example linoleic acid.

One Rep Max (1RM): Your absolute strength in a given moment. Power lifting competitions are a test of 1RM strength. For many bodybuilders, especially beginners, 1RM training is harmful because of the higher risk of injury. A weight that you can just complete in 10 reps is a good approximation for most people of 75% of their 1 RM.

Optimal Nutrition: Means 'best possible nutrition'. Distinct from adequate nutrition, this term describes people free from marginal deficiencies, and who are not at risk for such, and sufficient amounts of nutrients and anutrients to reduce risk of disease and maximise performance.

Over-The-Counter (OTC): Refers to substances that do not require a prescription to be attained legally, but must be requested in a pharmacy, who will provide instructions on usage.

Oxidation: The addition of oxygen to compound, primarily taking place in mitochondria where substances are fully combusted. It is the process of cellular decomposition and breakdown.

Oxygen Debt: Deficiency of oxygen in working muscles when performing exercise that is so demanding the cardiovascular system cannot deliver oxygen fast enough to the muscles to support aerobic metabolism. The debt must be repaid by rapid breathing after the activity slows down or stops. Oxygen debt leads to anaerobic metabolism, which leads to lactic acid build up and muscle fatigue. It is when you are out of breath.

Pathogenic: Potential to cause a disease or disorder and its related signs and symptoms.

Peak: As a bodybuilder prepares for a contest, he/she cuts body fat to an unusually low level to bring out maximum muscularity that can be maintained for only a short time, usually only a few days.

Peptide: A compound made up of two or more amino acids. Protein molecules are broken down into peptides in the gut and absorbed in that form.

Performance: In respect of sport refers to the capacity to perform work in relation to that specific activity, includes time, speed, intensity, distance, etc.

Periodization: Also called Cycle Training, a predetermined approach to strength and muscle building in which bodybuilders train light for several weeks, then heavier, and then really heavy, and the process is cycled. Aids burnout and avoiding injury.

Physiological: Pertaining to all the functions of an animal or man.

Phytochemical: Means 'plant chemical', and used to refer to a broad spectrum of bioactive plant compounds which may have some health benefits.

Pineal Gland: An endocrine gland that functions mainly in the secretion of melatonin and a few other hormones.

Placebo Effect: Refers to when people use a substance believing it works, thereby it does (or is believed to) produce the desired effect.

Placebo: A harmless, inactive substance which may be given in the place of an effective drug or substance, especially to control groups in clinical studies, to test if the drug or compound in question is effective.

Polypeptides: Proteins formed by the union of many amino acids.

Polysaccharides: Carbohydrates containing a large number of sugars. Starch, glycogen, multidextrose, and cellulose are examples.

Polyunsaturated Fats: These contain more than one open spot on the chain length. As a percentage of total fat intake these may be beneficial, and include sunflower and soya oil as good sources.

Polyuria: Excessively large production of urine, meaning that you need to go to the toilet more than usual.

PPWO: This stands for post post workout and refers to second nutritional intake after working out.

Prebiotics: These are certain nutrients and constituents of food that our gut flora feed on, promoting growth of 'good' bacterial colonies in our gut, leading to an increase in their numbers. Prebiotics include fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and some other soluble fibres found in pulses, fruit and some cereal products.

Precursors: Compounds from which another compound is formed. For example, the hormone androstenedione is a direct precursor to testosterone production in the body.

Probiotics: These are live strains of 'good' bacteria, e.g. bifidus and acidopilus. The bacteria are cultured in live yoghurts, powders or specially formulated probiotic drinks which contain one or more of these strains.

Progressive Overload: Gradually adding more resistance during strength training exercises as your strength increases.

Pro-Hormones: Chemicals that are direct precursors to hormone production. For example DHEA is a pro-hormones to testosterone.

Prostaglandins: Chemicals produced in the body which exhibit a wide range of actions on things like blood pressure, water balance, immune system reactions, inflammation, etc.

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Scoring (PDCAAS): A highly accurate method of assessing protein quality, taking into account the profile of essential amino acids of the protein in question, as well as its digestibility in humans, rather than in rats. It is the method of assessing protein quality adopted by the World Health Organisation / Food and Agriculture Organisation (WHO/FAO) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER): A measure of protein quality assessed by determining how well a given protein supports weight gain in laboratory animals: namely, rats.

Proteins: Nitrogen-containing compounds found in all animal and vegetable tissues. They are made up of amino acids and are essential for growth and repair in the body. One gram of protein contains four calories.

Psychological: Pertaining to the mind and thought process.

Pump: The look and feeling a bodybuilder experiences when his/her muscles engorge with blood and tissue fluid as the result of intense exercise.

Pure: Used to refer to supplements that are unaltered; i.e. have no other ingredient in them except that which is stated on the label.

PWO: This stands for post workout and refers to post workout nutrition. This will generally consist of protein and simple carbs for recovery and repair e.g. whey, water and glucose.

Rep: A single concentric and eccentric movement of an exercise e.g. one bicep curl.

RHR: This stands for resting heart rate. The best time to find out your resting heart rate is in the morning, after a good night's sleep, and before you get out of bed. Typical RHR among the untrained is between 60 and 80 beats per minute.

Ripped: A condition of extremely low body fat with superior muscle separation and vascularity. Variations include sliced, cut and striated.