For the Love of Whey Protein
Living a healthy lifestyle takes real work and commitment. Eating healthfully and adding daily exercise into your routine may seem easy enough. Still, it can be challenging to figure out how to balance meal prep with going to the gym while maintaining the rest of your schedule.
The good news is that there are endless opportunities to find and incorporate healthy food, including pre-workout supplements, into your life, and new types of workouts emerge every single day. The health and wellness industry is flourishing, and you can flourish right along with it!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when embarking on a health and wellness journey is the importance of fueling your body correctly, both for daily life and for your workouts. Proper intake of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is essential for overall health and muscle gain. We could talk at length about all three, but for now, we are focusing on our favorite way to consume protein - whey protein supplements.
We will give you the full run-down on what whey protein is and introduce you to some of our favorite whey protein products from brands like AllMax and Perfect Sports. You’ll be an expert on whey in no time!
What is Whey Protein?
No matter what level of activity you're at on your fitness journey, you'll need to incorporate enough protein into your diet to see the kinds of positive changes to your body that you are working toward. Protein is a vital element in lean muscle growth and muscle maintenance and also keeps you fuller in between meals. Protein helps you avoid reaching for a bag of chips out of desperation!
There are a variety of ways to incorporate protein into your diet. Some of us prefer to get our protein fix from animal products, such as eggs or lean meat. Others prefer soy protein. We are going to give you the run-down on one of our favorite protein options: whey protein.
Whey protein is the liquid part of milk that separates off when you make milk into cheese. Contained within the liquid form of whey is a mixture of proteins that are vital to any gym-goers fitness goals. Whey protein can be consumed in the form of pre-workout supplements or post-workout supplements and is often flavored. Adding a delicious taste to your protein supplement makes consuming your shake much more palatable.
How Does Whey Protein Work?
Much like other forms of protein, whey protein is instrumental in improving your overall muscle mass and helping you lose excess weight. But how does whey protein work to enhance your muscle gains and help you shed excess pounds?
Let's take a look at the science behind building muscle. Each of our muscles is made up of tissue, which is, in turn, made up of protein. If you were to look at muscle tissue under a microscope, you would see millions of tiny fibers. These fibers contain chains of amino acids, which work alongside a whey protein supplement to improve muscle mass.
Of the twenty amino acids in existence, only nine of them are considered essential. Your body cannot naturally produce these amino acids. Therefore, you must consume them via pre-workout supplements, post-workout supplements, or food products.
Whey protein contains all nine essential amino acids, so taking a supplement containing whey protein ticks all of the essential amino boxes. Whey protein supplements also include a double dose of the amino acid leucine. Leucine is a branched-chain amino acid and has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Leucine helps you build more muscle mass post-workout!
Whey Protein and BCAAs
You may have read the previous paragraph and been curious to learn more about the connection between amino acids and whey protein. There is a tangible link between the two, and that connection is important to understand when trying to build lean muscle!
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of muscle proteins. They are critical to your body’s ability to repair and grow lean muscle mass and avoid exercise fatigue. They are included in the nine essential amino acids we mentioned earlier. BCAAs include:
Because replacement BCAAs enter your bloodstream and rapidly begin the muscle repair process, they are often included in whey protein supplements. Like whey protein, BCAA supplements also work to block your cravings, especially for carbohydrates, which will help you reach your goals that much more quickly. Add pre-workout supplements full of BCAAs and whey protein for a boost of energy before you lift and to stimulate muscle repair and growth that much more quickly!
Best Time to Consume Whey Protein
If you are hitting the gym every day to improve your overall muscle mass, consuming enough protein is key to seeing the muscle gains you're training for. But what is the best time to consume protein to see the most progress?
For your body to properly use the protein you consume, your small intestine must absorb and transport protein to your blood, where it can then circulate throughout your body. Animal protein can be difficult and time-consuming for your body to break down. You won't reap the same quick benefits from consuming animal protein as you would from an alternate protein source.
Whether it's before or after your workout, choose a rapidly-digesting protein source, like whey protein, over a slow-digesting source. When it comes to pre-workout supplements, you’ll want to choose a supplement that combines both whey protein and branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, to boost your energy and performance.
After your workout wraps, it is best to consume whey protein within your anabolic window. The anabolic window is the 30 minutes post-workout when proper intake of protein and carbohydrates can aid in increasing your muscle mass.
Whey and Muscle Building
Along with helping you feel reenergized and satiated, proper timing of whey protein consumption is shown to have a positive effect on growth hormones. In a 2017 study, researchers compared the level of growth hormones present in a group of individuals who took whey protein orally for six weeks compared to a control group. Both groups also participated in resistance training three times a week. The group that consumed whey protein presented higher growth hormone levels and built more muscle mass than the control group. Enhancing muscle strength and growth requires a consistent intake of whey protein pre or post-workout.
Our Favorite Whey Supplements
Whether you’re in the market for pre-workout supplements or post-workout fuel, a whey protein supplement is perfect for continued muscle growth, rapid muscle repair, and increased satiety. There are innumerable options to choose from, but to help you decide, we have chosen our favorite brands and supplements! Right now, we are crazy about Perfect Sports, AllMax, and Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein offerings.
Perfect Sports has created a truly ideal whey protein blend, and the secret ingredient is New Zealand cows’ milk! Perfect Sports knows that their New Zealand cows spend an average of 90% of their time in the pasture, which means almost 85% of their diet comes from grass, hay, and forage crops. Any additional feed they consume is free of pesticides, added growth hormones, and other nasty chemicals. The result? Perfect Sports’ formula containing 24 grams of the natural protein your body demands without added anything!
What’s more, Perfect Sports protein is processed at 4° Celsius. This purification process removes almost 98% of all lactose, making Perfect Sports formula virtually lactose-free.
As Perfect Sports Perfect Whey is highly soluble, it couldn’t be easier to consume! Just add ice-cold water (or your choice of drink) and mix. We recommend one full scoop added to ½ cup of water or another beverage of choice. The result? A smooth, creamy, deliciously refreshing protein shake.
We can’t say enough positive things about products from AllMax! AllMax has the market cornered on perfectly smooth, creamy whey protein shakes. With AllMax Classic, you’re getting a genuine protein blend using only whey protein. This formula delivers 30 grams of pure and tested protein in every delicious 43-gram serving!
AllMax has committed to providing you only whey protein in their pre-workout supplements and post-workout shakes. You won’t find any beef or soy protein fillers in their Classic formula, unlike many of their closest competitors. Often up to 50% of the protein found in competing formulas is from non-whey sources! AllMax is able to guarantee protein purity through their filtration system, which cuts out all non-protein aminos and fillers.
After tons of testing, AllMax has come up with the best flavors for you to choose from. Try out Chocolate Peanut butter with some ice-cold water or another beverage of your choice and enjoy refueling!
When it comes to pure whey protein, it doesn’t get much better than whey protein isolates (WPI). Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard formula uses only 100% WPIs, along with premium ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate (WPC). Optimum can pack 24 grams of protein into every serving to support your muscle-building needs after training.
You’re also getting the three branched-chain amino acids that work with whey protein to maximize your muscle repair and growth. More than five grams of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine per serving means you’ll experience less post-workout muscle fatigue and greater muscle growth after endurance workouts.
Workouts to Get the Most out of Whey Protein
Whether you’re taking pre-workout supplements from Perfect Sports, or AllMax loaded with whey protein, or are choosing to consume whey once you’ve finished your last set, you will want to select appropriate workouts to make sure you are getting the most out of your time at the gym.
It is easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to your time at the gym. You may find yourself doing the same workout over and over and, while there is a mental benefit to completing an exercise that you enjoy, you may become frustrated when you hit a plateau. Your body can become conditioned to complete the same routine, which makes the workout feel much easier for you. There are no pre-workout supplements out there that can take the place of mixing up your gym routine!
So how best to mix it up when you hit the gym? You should always start with a plan. Without a plan in place, you risk wasting time (and the energy you’ve gotten from any pre-workout supplements you’ve taken) trying to figure out the order of your exercises and how many sets of each you’ll do. Start by deciding which muscle group you’ll focus on, choose your workouts and rest periods, and get to it!
If you find yourself always doing cardio at the gym, try splitting your time between lifting free weights and completing some HIIT sets on the treadmill. If you gravitate to the weight machines and dread the treadmill, get on the rowing machine to get your cardio fix without having to run. No matter how you decide to switch it up, the pre-workout supplements from AllMax or Perfect Sports we’ve listed above will give you the endurance you need to push through a new workout.
Final Thoughts on Whey Protein
When you kick your fitness into high gear, you will need to incorporate extra protein into your diet to push through tough workouts, help your muscles repair themselves quickly, and develop lean muscle in place of excess body fat.
You might gravitate naturally to eating animal products to get your protein fix. Still, studies show that while animal products are an excellent source of protein, they can be harder to digest and contain harmful saturated fats compared to other protein sources. That’s where pre-workout supplements and post-workout whey protein shakes come in!
Give the supplements from AllMax, Perfect Sports, and Optimum Nutrition a try during your next workout. We know you’ll feel and see a difference and will become hooked on whey protein, just like we are!