Determining what kind of protein you should take and when can be a daunting process for those just inching into fitness nutrition. There is whey, casein, soy, protein blends, and within each category comes an endless list of differing products, begetting the question, "what do I take to achieve my fitness and physique goals?"
We've broken down each protein type to analyse what it does, when you should take it, as well as what our recommended products are.
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What it does: Arguably the most popular form of protein, whey helps you gain muscle and lose fat. It is a fast-acting protein, which allows your body to absorb all the necessary muscle-gaining amino acids within 90 minutes of consuming a whey protein shake. It has a particularly high concentration of leucine — a key amino acid for protein synthesis, which helps grow your muscles.
When should you take it: Whey protein is best consumed pre and post-workout. Have about 10-20 grams an hour before hitting the weight rack, and follow up with 30-40g post-workout. Your muscles will be primed to receive an influx of amino acids right after your workout thanks to whey's fast-acting properties.
Our recommended products: With little carbs or fats, MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate ($98) is a fantastic option for budding trainers with it's high concentration of whey protein isolates. If you're gunning to build lean muscle and feel more energetic, MuscleTech Nitro-Tech ($85) has taurine in it, atop whey protein isolates for that pre-workout energy boost.
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What it does: Think of casein as whey's older, more mature cousin. Attained from the same process that is used to make whey, casein is gleaned from milk curds. It digests and acts slower than whey, releasing amino acids for up to seven hours. While whey is a supplement that anyone looking to improve their fitness levels and physique can opt for, casein is a product that gears more towards those serious about muscle building. Its main merit is how well it prevents muscle breakdown.
When should you take it: 30-40g of casein is best ingested before you sleep, allowing it to preserve your gains overnight. However, if you train at night, you can take casein right after hitting the gym too.
Our recommended products: The most effective type of casein is micellar casein, and you can opt for Lush Protein Prime Micellar Casein ($58), if you're just getting started with the supplement. For those who've ventured into casein territory and are familiar with its effects, try MuscleTech Platinum 100% Casein ($78), which contains caseins extracted through cold-pressing for increased purity.
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What it does: Protein blends are often a combination of whey and casein (and sometimes even soy) and this mixture of fast and slow-acting proteins allows for protein absorption to take place over a longer period of time, matching your metabolism to make sure your muscles are never breaking down (metabolising) more than they are rebuilding (protein synthesis). This consistent 'drip feeding' turbo boosts muscle growth and maintenance.
When should you take it: Protein blends can be taken anytime - day and night! The combination of different proteins is a great convenience for people with busy lives as you do not have to juggle between different proteins across the day. Taken 2 to 3 times per day (depending on your level of activity), 25-30g of protein is typical per serving and will ensure your muscles are fed throughout the day.
Our recommended products: The most recognisable protein blend is MusclePharm Combat ($68), its longevity in the market is testament to the millions of people it has helped around the world who swear by the product. For those looking for something with less carbs , try PEScience Select Protein ($79) which contains ultra-pure whey protein concentrates and milk protein isolates.
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What it does: Plant-based proteins are a great source for those allergic to whey and dairy, or are vegetarian and vegan. It is very low in fat, cholesterol, and lactose-free. Typically you'd find soy and brown rice protein as two of the more popular options.
When should you take it: Take 10g pre-workout, and 30g post-workout, similar to how you would with whey.
Our recommended products: Try out brown rice protein with MyProtein's Brown Rice Protein Powder ($45). It's non-GMO, and hypoallergenic.
RELATED: Your Protein Powder Comparison Guide
- August 11, 2016
- Beatrice Bowers