Types of Protein & Protein Timing

TYPES OF PROTEIN

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1 Whey Proteins

Approximately 20% of the protein in milk is whey. Whey protein is the undisputed king of proteins. Here’s why: Whey proteins are easily digested in the stomach. It is very important to provide a fast delivery of amino acids to support muscle growth, especially immediately after training. Whey protein is also loaded with EAAs, including the three BCAAs. Whey is superior to other protein sources at supporting the growth of muscle as it delivers a much higher leucine content (one of the BCAAs). Leucine is proven to kick start the muscle building process after exercise.

 

Whey proteins are available in several forms, which are dependent on the way they are processed. The most basic is whey concentrate, which is the most abundant ingredient found in many whey protein powders. Whey concentrate is around 29-89% pure as it contains a number of additional ingredients found in milk. This large variation inpurity affects the overall quality of the protein. Additional refinement is required to remove more of the lactose and fat to produce the purest form of whey known as Whey Protein Isolates (WPI). Rated at 90+% pure protein, WPI is recognised as the highest quality whey ingredient.

 

Hydrolysing the whey protein isolates breaks the larger proteins down into smaller pieces. This removes even more of the fat and sugar so that it can be more readily digested. Hydrolysed whey protein isolate is the most advanced and purest protein. It’s absorbed fast, and compared to concentrate, is broken down further to enhance digestion when you need it most. The more the protein has been ‘isolated’ or ‘hydrolysed’ also means a lower calorie content, which is a key benefit for those looking to achieve lean gains.

2 Casein Proteins

About 80% of the protein in milk is casein, often referred to as a “slower-acting” or “time-released” protein. This is because once casein hits the stomach it forms a globule structure which means it is absorbed slowly. You may be thinking “why would I want a slow releasing protein?” Well, casein protein is perfect for those periods when food cannot be consumed. For most athletes, this is during the night while asleep. Consuming casein before bedtime will deliver amino acids to the muscles to continue the muscle building & repair process even hours after exercise.

3 Egg Proteins

Ask any dietitian, “What’s the best source 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 with one 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.

 

4 Blended Proteins   

We all know that the muscles in our body can only grow when they are exposed to amino acids from protein following exercise. Combining protein sources that are digested at fast, intermediate and slow rates will provide the muscle with a continued exposure to amino acids to support growth. More importantly, the higher leucine content in whey protein, as opposed to egg and casein proteins, is responsible for kick starting the muscle building process. Using a blended protein that includes a rich source of leucine, such as whey protein, alongside slow release protein sources will aid sustained muscle growth and recovery over time.

 

5 Recovery Protein

There are moderate calorie, fast-acting protein and carbohydrate combinations specifically designed to be consumed immediately after work-outs when nutrient needs are great and glycogen and muscle protein resynthesis are at their peak. Many also contain whey protein hydrolysates and supplemental ingredients like creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine to further aid the recovery and rebuilding process. This may also include complementing ingredients like, creatine, betaine and micronized amino acids to assist with your muscle building goals.

WHEN SHOULD I TAKE MY PROTEIN

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FIRST-THING-IN-THE-MORNING
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. Exercising in the fasted state will not support muscle growth. Feeding a whole protein source at least 30 minutes before exercise will kick start the muscle building process prior to  exercise. In addition, proteins provide more stable, sustained energy than a traditional carbohydrate breakfast. It is recommended to opt for whey protein first thing in the morning due to the high BCAA content to kick start the muscle building process.

PRE-WORKOUT
PRE-WORKOUT

By consuming protein about an hour before your workout, you’ll “prime” your body for growth thanks to the presence of BCAAs and other essential amino acids. Whey and egg proteins are a good choice because they are easy to drink, quickly digested and contain a far greater leucine (one of the BCAAs) content which is required to kick start the muscle building process.

POST-WORKOUT
POST-WORKOUT

It could be argued that immediately after exercise is probably the most important time point to consume protein. The sooner you can consume protein the better, either in the form of a whole meal or a protein powder. The protein powder solution is a more convenient strategy immediately after training when compared to a whole food source.  Depending on the intensity of your and training goals, a protein source with carbohydrate may also be consumed to replenish carbohydrate stores in the muscle and liver known as glycogen. Maintaining glycogen stores is vital to sustain high exercise intensity in future exercise training sessions.

However, when maintaining a lean and cut physique, minimising carbohydrate intake should be adhered to. It is highly recommended that a fast-acting protein like that a fast-acting protein like whey should be consumed immediately after exercise for rapid muscle building support.

BETWEEN-MEALS
BETWEEN MEALS

Consuming protein between meals is an effective strategy to meet daily protein requirements. Also, regular intakes of protein throughout the day will continue to prompt the muscle building process. It is recommended that regular consumption of 20-25 g per serving 5-6 times a day is highly effective for supporting the muscle building process to help supporting the muscle building process to help support muscle maintenance, and reduce body fat.

BEFORE-BED
BEFORE BED

Prepare your body for the long fast overnight with a casein protein shake 30-60 minutes before bed. Casein is digested at a slow rate releasing its amino acid constituents while you sleep. This slow release of amino acids will support the muscle building process following exercise, which is known to be highly responsive even 72 hours after exercise.