First, let’s get our facts straight. FACT: If you don’t supplement with protein, you’re not a real gym junkie. Oh, I know what you want to argue: “but you don’t need protein supplements, Hank! Whole food sources are all you need!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, nothing I haven’t heard about a hundred million times before. Look, I’m well aware that you can get 100% of your daily protein requirements from just eating your disgusting dry baked chicken breast fillets with steamed broccoli all day, but that stuff will break you down psychologically and I believe it’s also what they feed prisoners at Guantanamo bay. I’m sure it’s also illegal under the Geneva Convention. Who says being a gym junkie has to be torture anyways? I say it can and should be fun and getting a lot of your protein needs from whey protein is part of that. Let’s see how.
What is Whey Protein?
Did your mom ever force you to drink milk as a kid, telling you that it’ll make you big and strong? Well, unless you were lactose intolerant, in which case it’ll just make you take big and strong dumps, she’s totally right. And guess where whey protein comes from? Oh that’s right, milk! Whey protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine) and is the most common form of protein supplementation for a good reason; it’s the most budget friendly and the most effective! Don’t be fooled by all those fancy stuff such as beef protein (just eat real beef, bro).
Whey vs. Casein
Here comes the whey protein vs. casein protein debate! Here’s the deal, whey is what is known as ‘fast acting’ meaning that very soon after consuming your protein shake the levels of essential amino acids in your body and your muscles will increase rapidly. That is why whey protein is called the ‘daytime protein’, to be taken around your workouts. On the other hand, casein protein is a ‘slow release’ protein, meaning that the level of amino acids doesn’t rise quickly however the duration is greater. That is why casein is known as a ‘nighttime protein’, to be taken before you go to bed so that your body gets a nice steady release of muscle building amino acids while you slumber.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Now, let’s take a look at the main benefits you will get from supplementing your diet with whey protein.
The building blocks of muscle – You might not realize this, but your muscles are basically made up of amino acids. So when you hear people say that protein is the building blocks of muscle, they really do mean it literally.
Increased anabolic hormones – Don’t worry, anabolic hormones won’t make you piss hot unless it’s from an external source. You guys know what I mean. Our bodies naturally produce anabolic hormones such as insulin (yes, in fact the latest trend is bodybuilders ‘supplementing’ with insulin), however studies have shown that whey protein has a similar though smaller effect.
Higher protein synthesis – The amino acid leucine is known to increase the level of protein synthesis both at the molecular and genetic level; and while you might argue that regular whole foods that have protein also have leucine (which is true), many whey protein powders contain additional leucine, thus making its amino acid profile superior to that of whole foods.
Quick absorption – As mentioned previously, whey protein is the fastest acting form of protein and when you need a quick shot of protein to your system, such as after killing it with the heavy weights, then whey protein, together with some fast acting carbohydrates or waxy maize, is just what the doctor (Doctor Jacked!) ordered.
Appetite suppression / weight loss – Ok, so I am well aware that most gym junkies have no desire to lose weight; quite the opposite in fact. However, to be your most jacked, you will need to succumb to the endless cycles of bulking and cutting, just like Sisyphus. Except that Sisyphus never took protein so he never built muscle despite endlessly pushing that boulder up the hill. Anyway, some studies have shown that high protein diets result in higher metabolism rates in individuals while having a high satiety effect. Basically, getting a lot of protein means you’ll use calories faster, while actually requiring less. And if you’re trying to bulk, you can then get your excess calories from all the ‘fun’ foods, like pizza and burgers.
But What About the Price, Bro?
I don’t have enough money for whey protein bro, I spent it all on my gym membership, Beats headphones, and stupid stringer tees! Well too bad, fool! Whey protein is actually very budget friendly due to its popularity (high supply = lower price, economics 101 folks!) and if you know how to do your research properly, finding the best cheap protein powders are easier than you might think.