Bodybuilding has become the latest fad with the youth to gain confidence, go through a transformation, become healthy and acquire the ideal muscular body. You might have come across many YouTube videos promising a fit body in a week, abs in a week, or unrealistic diets to gain muscle or lose weight.
These types of advice and guidance are misleading and don’t give proper information to wannabe bodybuilders, which is why you must understand the science behind bodybuilding to not get fooled by such attractive promises.
The science of bodybuilding
Developing muscle mass is a highly scientific process, and following proven methods is vital for anyone who wants to reach their ideal body goal.
You might have just started on this journey, but you can’t see any results and that’s demotivating you. Newbies can see change within 3 to 4 weeks or, depending on your body it might even take you 12 weeks and that is completely normal.
After you exercise, your body replaces and repairs damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process. In this process, the muscle fibers fuse together to form new muscle protein strands known as myofibrils. These repaired muscle protein strands increase in thickness and quantity to produce muscle hypertrophy or growth. When the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown, muscle growth occurs. Muscle growth happens when you rest after a workout and not while working out.
Mechanisms that make muscles grow
- Muscle tension
To produce muscle growth, you need to apply a load of stress greater than what your body or muscles are used to. One way to do this is to lift progressively heavier weights. The added tension on the muscles assists in causing changes in the muscle chemistry, hence providing growth.
- Muscle damage
Have you ever felt sore after a workout? This is because you have experienced the localized muscle damage after working out. Local muscle damages produce a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells that activate satellite cells to act immediately.
- Metabolic stress
You must have a burning-out sensation after a workout or felt the “pump” in the gym. These indicate the signs of metabolic stress. Scientists researched this when some bodybuilders claimed that the “pump” increased their muscles. Metabolic stress causes the cells to swell around the muscle. Further contributing to muscle growth without increasing the size of the muscle cells. Although with this, people can get the appearance of larger muscles the strength remains the same.
Another way to gain muscles is by consuming protein supplements. One of the best protein supplement options is Whey protein. For that, let us understand what whey protein is.
What is Whey Protein?
When it comes to protein supplements, there are innumerable options to choose from. You can go for protein water, soy protein, or pea protein, but whey protein is the most popular among bodybuilders.
Whey is the by-product of milk that has been curdled and strained. The protein in whey is known as whey protein. During the processing stage, the liquid is separated into solid curds (casein) and liquid (whey).
Whey protein is a complete protein containing the vital amino acids that your body requires to continue building proteins. The vital amino acids allow you to build muscle faster.
Is whey protein vegan?
No, since whey protein is a by-product of curdled milk, it is not vegan and is not suitable for anyone following a vegan diet. However, there a lot of other vegan protein supplements available on the market like pea protein, soy protein, hemp protein, etc.
Types of whey protein
There are three different types of whey protein available in the market. They are:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Concentrate or WPC is derived from cow’s milk and is obtained during cheese production. Whey Protein Concentrate absorbs protein rapidly and comprises all nine essential amino acids. The protein comes in concentrated forms and has more density of nutrients. Due to its processing method, the nutrient density in WPC is more than other types of Whey. Usually, the pure protein percentage in WPC is around 75-80 percent per serving with the remaining 25% made up of carbohydrates and fats.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Isolated is the filtered version of Whey Protein Concentrate. Isolate undergoes additional purification and processing to take out the carbohydrates and lactose to maximize the protein content. Isolate has higher levels of protein content than WPC. It is easily digestible and contains 90-95% protein. Isolate can be more expensive due to its rich protein content.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
In this type of Whey protein, the amino bonds are broken down by exposure to heat, acids, and enzymes. Out of all the three options,
Is whey protein good for you?
The answer is yes. Whey protein is a healthy way to add more protein to your diet, especially for athletes, bodybuilders, and people who want to gain muscle mass and strength while losing fat.
Let’s look at the benefits of whey protein.
- The best source of high-quality protein
Whey protein is a complete high-quality protein consisting of all the vital amino acids. Moreover, it is very digestible and absorbed quickly as compared to the other types of protein. It also has a high nutritional value.
Whey protein includes glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that delays the signs of aging. Whey protein also slows down the process of degeneration of muscles and keeps them sturdy during old age.
- Strengthens muscles
Whey protein is also used to repair and strengthen muscles. With workouts and regular exercise, energy levels in your body may deplete, resulting in muscle deterioration. Whey protein is made of cow’s milk and is an organic protein for repairing and building muscles.
- Hormone levels
Whey protein is very advantageous, especially for women. Unlike other proteins, whey protein does not cause fluctuation in hormone levels. It is one of the richest and soluble forms of protein, much more nutritious than egg whites, meat, and soy.
- Weight loss
According to research, people who consumed whey protein lost more body fat and showed greater preservation of lean muscle. Whey protein is also low in carbohydrates and high in protein, thus speeding up the metabolism rate to burn excess fat from the body. It also helps maintain muscle mass when losing weight. Whey protein can easily control appetite and contains very little fat, low cholesterol, and lactose. It’s an excellent option for people on a low carbohydrate diet.
- Blood sugar level
Whey protein provides the body with a positive nitrogen balance. It prevents fluctuations in blood sugar levels, thus reducing overeating. The low level of fats in whey protein is very beneficial for managing glucose levels and preventing the onset of diabetes. Moreover, whey protein improves insulin resistance in the body and keeps the insulin levels steady.
- Bone health
If you want to build and maintain healthy bones, you need to consume healthy food rich in calcium. Whey protein comprises of high amounts of calcium, preventing bone loss, and aids in keeping the bones strong.
Whey protein is also used to beat cancer, and whey concentrate is used in cancer treatments. Consumption of whey powder while in chemotherapy can help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It is easy to digest and hence makes an excellent meal for cancer patients. Moreover, it gets absorbed in the body easily, provides energy, and increases immunity.
Is Whey Protein bad for you?
Although Whey Protein comes with a lot of benefits, one should not disregard its side effects on the body.
- Digestive Problems
Since Whey Protein is a milk product, it contains lactose. If you are sensitive to lactose, you could end up having problems with your digestion. If you have digestive problems, go for a Whey Protein concentrate, as it contains less lactose.
- Fat Gain
In some cases, whey protein supplements have increased carbohydrates in the form of sugar, some also have increased fats. You can gain weight in the fat form which can prove unhealthy.
- Increase in Blood acidity
Consuming high doses of whey protein can lead to an escalation of pH in the blood. With too much protein in the blood, your kidney may have problems in metabolizing it, leading to an increase in blood acidity.
- Swelling of mouth, throat, and lips
If you are allergic to whey, you will experience swelling in your mouth, throat, and lips. Though this swelling is not painful, it can be extremely uncomfortable.
How is whey protein helpful in bodybuilding?
You don’t need to necessarily consume protein powder. The daily protein requirement of the human body is 0.6-0.75 grams. If the meals in your diet are unable to provide you with an adequate amount of protein, you should opt for protein supplements. When you workout, the muscles in your body break, and to repair them, you need protein.
Whey protein is known to increase muscle mass and strength. It is a complete protein containing all amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. The prime amino acid is leucine and is responsible for promoting muscle building and growth. According to an Australian study conducted in 2008, the leucine in whey helped a group of elderly people stop losing muscle.
When it comes to protein supplements and bodybuilding, whey protein comprises up to 90% protein concentration. Bodybuilders require and are recommended 0.8-0.1.1 grams per pound of body weight. This makes whey protein the perfect dietary protein supplement to help in the growth and sustenance of building muscle. Whey protein allows bodybuilders to obtain the appropriate amount of protein consumption required for optimum muscle gains.
There are a lot of other protein supplements like cheeses, yogurts, and milk that can serve as a complete source of protein. If that is so, why would bodybuilders opt for whey protein over other protein-rich food sources?
The answer is convenience. Although whey protein powders are not the only way to acquire the necessary protein, it is considerably more convenient and efficient to drink a protein shake than to prepare, cook and consume a full meal. Whey powder is also perfect for bodybuilders on a low-calorie diet or fat loss diet.
Whey protein is undoubtedly regarded as the king of protein supplements. Whey is known to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to ultimately produce bigger and stronger muscles. Whey provides a rapid rate of digestion. Once the protein shake is down your throat, the amino acids present in the shake will break down rapidly and get absorbed into the bloodstream. Your blood then carries these amino acids to muscle tissue, where they can quickly kindle protein synthesis.
How much whey is enough?
According to the Centers for disease control and prevention, adults need between 46 grams to 56 grams of protein a day. Although men require slightly more than women. 10 to 35 percent of your total calories are from protein.
The number of protein shakes to drink per day depends on your body and your individual goals. Most gym-goers consume between 2-5 protein shakes per day, based on the 1.4-2g protein per kilogram of body weight per day rule. The above numbers include protein from food as well. To achieve your protein goal, you need to calculate the amount of protein provided by your daily diet and add the rest in the form of protein shakes. According to MayoClinic.org, 45 grams of whey protein powder mixed with Gatorade, three times per week for 14 weeks proved sufficient. Although other studies have advised smaller doses and found a significant benefit when used in combination with resistance training. Many studies suggested 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you are thinking about consuming more protein through whey, consult your doctor or a nutritionist about the total amount of protein required for your body.
People who use whey for exercise performance, often take it before the workout. This further helps protein synthesis by making protein available when blood flow to the muscle starts increasing from a workout.
Whey can be taken at any time of the day to boost your overall protein intake.
Here are some examples of when to consume whey protein:
- Early in the morning, as soon as you wake up to nourish your muscles with protein and nutrients as quickly in the day as possible.
- Post breakfast and post-lunch
- Could also be consumed as a snack between meals throughout the day.
- After a workout to replenish protein and nutrient levels inside your muscle cells. Post-workout opens the anabolic window where your muscles are primed to absorb more nutrients as usual. This anabolic window lasts for an hour after a workout.
Best Whey proteins available
After researching the best whey protein supplements available in the market, we have listed the best options to suit your needs.
Legion Whey+ Protein
This product contains zero sweeteners or artificial flavors. Moreover, it is lactose-free, and the whey sources are transparent for the customer’s information. It is high in calcium and iron and mixes well in water and milk. Legion Whey+ Protein comes in many flavors: Salter caramel, Mocha Cappucino, Cinnamon Cereal, Mint Chocolate, and many other variations of Chocolate and vanilla. You should go for Legion Whey+ Protein if you want an all-natural whey protein, without having to sacrifice flavor, or if you want higher amounts of vital vitamins and minerals such as iron or calcium. This protein powder is also popular among athletes that are looking for smooth-mixing protein powder.
Promix Nutrition Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
If you are looking to gain weight by adding a few more calories, then Promix Nutrition’s Grass-Fed Whey Isolate is your best pick. It is an all-natural whey protein powder, providing 155 calories, 25 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber, and 2.5 grams of fat in a single scoop. This product comes from grass-fed cows, which makes it better for the environment and cruelty-free, and also a little higher in healthy fatty acids. However, if you are on a low-carb diet and are looking for a cheaper whey product, then look for other options.
Fit Miss Delight
If you are struggling with weight loss and need a little bit of help to achieve your weight loss goals, then Fit Miss Delight’s Whey Protein is perfect for you. Although this product should not be treated as a weight-loss supplement and, you should consult your doctor before starting your weight loss journey.
Fit Miss Delight is very low in calories with 90 calories, 20 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of carbs. The protein content may be lower than you desire but contains a hefty dose of greens powder with extra antioxidants. Fit Miss Delight’s potato extract produces more satiety than other protein powders. It helps you feel full and is apt for someone struggling with hunger. Moreover, this product contains a blend of powdered broccoli, artichoke, barley grass, fruits, and veggies to provide you with abundant antioxidants.
To conclude, Whey protein can prove to be very beneficial when taken in moderate doses. It can help you build and grow muscles and is perfect for a bodybuilder’s requirements. It is important that you consult your doctor before consuming whey supplements. Calculate the amount of protein you require and stick to the proper dosage to enjoy the benefits of whey while making sure that our body is safe.