Is Whey Protein Powder Essential?

How essential is whey protein for building muscle mass? That’s the question I’m going to be looking at today. I have been involved in many debates about exactly how essential supplements are for people trying to pack on some muscle, so here’s what I think about just how essential whey protein is to the average [...]

whey_protein.jpgHow essential is whey protein for building muscle mass? That’s the question I’m going to be looking at today. I have been involved in many debates about exactly how essential supplements are for people trying to pack on some muscle, so here’s what I think about just how essential whey protein is to the average guy looking to pack on some pounds:

Whey protein, is it essential?

If you want to get the most out of your training, whey protein is absolutely essential and here’s why…

  1. Whey protein is the fastest absorbing source of protein available. This is especially important post workout when your muscles are in a catabolic state and crying out for nutrients. No other protein source would be absorbed as quick as WPI, and the time taken to prepare a meal after your workout would mean the muscles have to go without nutrients for a long time period.
  2. Whey protein has a complete amino acid profile. No other protein source has an amino acids makeup like whey. This makes whey the ultimate source of protein for muscle growth.
  3. Our lifestyles don’t allow us to get the required amounts of protein daily. On average, guys who are bulking up are eating between 180 and 300 grams of protein per day. To get this amount of protein from food alone would require a lot of money, a lot of preparation time and a lot of time to eat. Protein can be scooped into a shake bottle in the morning and taken with you throughout the day, providing you with protein easily when you need it. Some supplements also come in sachets, so you can take them with you.
  4. Whey protein contains high amounts of glutamine. Why is glutamine important? Firstly it’s important for muscle repair. Secondly, glutamine is the primary source for the body’s immune system. When you train intensely (whether it be cardio or weight training), your glutamine stores are depleted and the immune system is weakened.

For those reasons, I recommend to anyone who wants to build muscle that they should take at a very minimum whey protein supplements.

Whey protein vs. protein from food:

What I’ve just said there makes it look like you should ditch your chicken and start drinking whey instead! Supplements are no replacement for whole foods. Supplements should be used in conjunction with a solid diet to increase protein intake. It’s better to have a “food heavy” diet than a “supplements heavy diet”. Combine your whey protein shakes with 6 good, clean meals per day for optimum nutrition. Check out my nutrition 101 article for how to construct your diet.

Muscle and Strength has some real cheap protein powders.