What is protein and which one is the best?
Protein powders can come in several different forms: The three main proteins used for bodybuilding include:
- Whey – The most effective protein for building muscle. Dramatically increases the speed of protein synthesis (re-building).
- Casein – Slow digesting protein from cow’s milk. Has little effect on protein synthesis, though is very effective at decreasing protein breakdown.
- Soy – Manufactured from soya beans, has a high nutritional value though is commonly seen as a lower quality of protein.
What is creatine and where is it found?
Unlike most supplements that athletes use, creatine is neither a vitamin, mineral, herb nor hormone.
It is a naturally occurring amino acid that is found in our body that has the chemical name methyl guanidine-acetic acid.
As most of you are already aware, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The majority of creatine (about 95%) is located in the skeletal muscle system, and the remaining 5% is in the brain, heart and testes.
We acquire most of the creatine in our system by consuming meats and fish as well as dairy products, egg whites, nuts and seeds.
Although the human body has a way of storing very high amounts of creatine to enhance recovery and muscle power, it is quite challenging to consume enough food to provide the same amount of creatine that using supplements will. In fact most of the creatine found naturally is foods is disposed of during cooking!
Where does whey protein come from?
Whey protein comes from cow’s milk. The milk itself is 87% water and 13% milk solids. From those solids the proteins are removed in which only 20% of it is whey protein.
From that highly filtered protein, whey protein isolate is formed and is the highest quality, lowest fat protein form on the market with +90% protein per serving.
What is the purpose of creatine?
Now that you know what creatine is and how your body manufactures it, let’s study the purpose it serves…especially to athletes.
Creatine’s main benefit is its ability to aid in the production of energy. When ATP (adenosine triphosphate) loses one of its phosphate molecules and becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate), it must be converted back to ATP in order for the molecule to be able to produce energy again.
The creatine in our body is mostly stored as creatine phosphate (known as phosphocreatine), and it will donate its phosphate to the ADP which renews the ATP molecule and it can now produce energy.
Why is whey protein so popular?
Apart from its great value for money, whey protein is the most complete, fastest digesting, has a high biological value and contains branched chain amino acids.
How does whey protein impact on muscle growth?
Although many athletes see protein as an every day supplement, little understand the true effect is has on the body.
Why protein’s primary function is aiding in protein synthesis. This is process your muscle fibres go through to regenerate after a workout. This essential process determines whether the muscle tissue will be re-built into a larger and stronger form.
How does creatine stimulate muscle growth?
Although creatine’s role in the energy production process is its most notable trait, there is evidence that creatine can stimulate muscle growth.
It does this in a couple of different ways. By allowing you to perform more work as a result of additional energy, increased protein synthesis is stimulated.
Secondly, when an abundance of creatine phosphate is stored in the muscle, the muscle will hold more water in its cells and become what is known as “volumized” or “super-hydrated.”
The more volumized a muscle is, it will promote the synthesis of protein as well as deter the breakdown of protein.
Volumizing the muscle will also create an environment where an increased level of Glycogen synthesis will take place.
Increased protein synthesis along with training will lead to muscle growth.
There is also scientific evidence that shows supplementation with creatine causes muscle tears to repair themselves quicker.
How much protein should I be taking then?
It’s a common myth that you can only digest 30grams of protein at one time.
How much protein that can be digested is not the important factor, it’s how much can be utilzised that has a massive impact on muscle growth.
Your goal when using protein supplements is to keep the process of protein synthesis pumping along steadily.
Now if your goal is to add weight to your frame there needs to be a certain amount of consistent input. Work of the measure of 1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This means that a 200 lbs (90kg) bodybuilder should be consuming around 250-300 grams of protein per day from food sources of lean meats, eggs vegetables and of course whey protein isolate powders.
The Bottom Line...
To sum all of this up, I believe that whey protein is the greatest supplement of all. It is absolutely essential for protein synthesis and without this process there is no muscular development.
On the other hand, creatine is an awesome supplement on its own. You should treat creatine as purely a performance based supplement as it has a dramatic influence on energy creation which allows you as an athlete to train harder and longer, equalling more protein synthesis, so therefore more growth! As a side note, creatine should be taken in cycles of around 8-12 weeks, then off for 4 weeks and repeat.
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