Protein Supplements for Athletes
Protein supplements have gotten more and more popular over the last several years. There’s a reason; protein supplementation has proven to be very important for many individuals, particularly athletes. It’s no secret that intense physical activity requires us to have strong and healthy muscles; and people with active lifestyles need a sufficient protein source to maintain and build their muscle mass. Our muscles are constantly breaking down during intense training routines; especially from weight lifting exercises and high intensity cardiovascular sessions. We need to constantly build and maintain our muscle mass and this can be done by increasing our protein intake on a daily basis. It’s almost impossible to do this with just food, so, taking a whey protein powder, has been the choice of many athletes.
Athletes and active individuals are using various methods increasing their protein intake; with the aim to build and maintain their lean muscle mass. Using high quality pre- and post-workout supplementation such as protein shakes and drinks are becoming increasingly popular and whey protein supplementation seems to be the favorite choice by far. Regardless of your preference, make sure that you consume a protein supplement immediately after your training session to ensure that you get the maximum amount of nutrients and protein that you need to build muscle.
The Benefits of Protein Shakes
Many studies have shown that protein supplements are very beneficial and will provide your body with all the essential amino acids that it needs to grow and maintain your muscles. In a report published in the September 2011 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the ASN researchers commented: “The human body works in a complex, yet completely natural way. It makes sense to consume food that contains high quality protein during or after a workout. Muscle strength does not just happen on its own; our muscles need to be both encouraged with exercise and nourished accordingly”.
In a recent study conducted by McMaster University to measure the effects of a large dose of post-exercise protein compared to multiple smaller amounts, they found that a decent post-workout protein serving is very beneficial for muscle growth. The study was conducted in to groups: the first with 8 male participants with a mean age of 22 years, who each performed 8 sets of 8 – 10 repetition of a leg extension machine; and the second group with active military personnel (7 men, 1 woman, with a mean age of 24 years) who each consumed a high-protein beverage (10 grams) containing 1.87g or 3.5 g Leucine, while exercising on a stationary bicycle. In both of these studies, the participants’ post-exercise muscle protein synthesis was evaluated.
These studies showed that consuming a large dose of whey protein immediately after exercise significantly increased muscle protein, as opposed to consuming smaller doses. These studies also showed that muscle protein synthesis was 33% greater after consumption of the Leucine protein beverage, as opposed to the lower Leucine-containing supplement.
Considering these facts, it is necessary to consume a high protein supplement immediately after your workout session if you want to increase lean muscle mass and reduce the risk of muscle breakdown. The amino acid Leucine may also play an important role in stimulating muscle growth in the post-training recovery period. You’re really only going to get this by consuming a whey protein supplement that contains all the needed amino acids.