Unanimously sworn by and acknowledged as the Holy Grail of muscle building, few supplements get as much praise, respect and appreciation among bodybuilders and fitness fanatics as whey protein. It’s common knowledge that if you want to grow herculean muscle then adding this protein powder is a significant step in the right direction. But why is it that some of us don’t seem to achieve what can seem almost like mythical results? It’s mostly because we rush to our favourite supplement store and purchase our protein with little knowledge on how best to maximise its effects and optimise our muscle growth. Well, that will no longer be the case because we’re going to tackle the contentious and often contradictory subject of whey protein consumption timing.
A little background on whey protein powder
Whey is a by-product of milk, which over an extended period of time, separates into two different substances – whey, and curds (sour milk). Curds were eventually made into cheese while precious whey was discarded. It wasn’t until much later that the potency of whey was appreciated. Today, whey is further refined from liquid into powder and consumed to help stimulate protein synthesis and build lean body mass.
Whey protein is a complete protein that contains the 9 essential amino acids and is very low in lactose content. What’s more, whey digests quickly which allows it to nourish our bodies with the necessary protein quicker than other protein sources.
Benefits: why it’s the whey forward
The benefits of consuming whey protein are well documented but in case there’s any doubt, here’s a brief reminder:
- Promotes muscle growth and maintenance
- Improves protein synthesis
- Can help reduce chronic inflammation
- Aids weight loss by curbing hunger (more effectively than most other proteins)
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps improve body composition
Timing is everything?
Schoenfield, Aragon and Krieger (2013) carried out a study to determine whether protein timing is critical for enhancing post-exercise muscular adaptations. The results showed that the timing isn’t particularly important but the key is to ensure you consume enough protein in combination with your training.
Similarly, Stark, Lukaszuk, Prawitz and Salacinski, (2012) are in agreement stating that “protein supplementation pre- and post-workout increases physical performance, training session recovery, lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy, and strength.” Aragon and Schoenfield (2013) in another study also found that as far as timing is concerned, it was particularly more dependent on individual preferences, tolerance and the duration of the actual resistance training sessions. Results in that study suggested that pre- and post-exercise meals should not be separated by more than approximately 3-4 hours given resistance training lasts about 45-90 minutes.
Timing isn’t necessarily critical so there is no need to gulp down a shake as soon as you finish training but in the same breath, that doesn’t mean denying yourself either if it’s available (something we’re sure you wouldn’t do). In short, pre- and post-workout consumption of whey protein will help improve protein synthesis and the building of muscle and lean body mass. Combine a healthy diet that consists of roughly 2-3grams of protein for every kilogram of weight you carry daily (Stoppani) and you’ll be well on your way to building some serious muscle.
Powerhouse has an extensive range of whey protein powders in an even wider range of flavours from the world’s leading brands. Shop online or simply pop in-store and find one that’s perfect for you.
Schoenfield B., Aragon A. A., and Krieger J. W. (2013) The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201310:53
Stark, M., Lukaszuk, J., Prawitz, A., & Salacinski, A. (2012). Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9, 54. http://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-54
Aragon A. A. and Schoenfield B. (2013) Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition201310:5 https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
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