The Who, What, When, Where, Why of Whey Protein

We’ve all had those workouts that push us to the edge. We feel like giving up, but something inside us tells us to run the extra mile, do these last few laps, add those last 10 reps. And we feel good, really good. But then we’ve all felt the consequences of that triumph: achy muscles, fatigue, and the disappointment that comes with a lack of tangible results. If you’re looking to build muscle mass and have a quick and smooth recovery after tough workouts, the clear solution is to add a whey protein supplement to your workout regime.  

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is one of the most natural sources of protein available. Of the protein found in human breast milk, 60%–80% is whey. So if our natural source of nutrients is made up of that much whey, we know it’s doing something right. Whey products comes from cow’s milk and is created as a by-product of cheese production. Whey protein, specifically, is a collection of globular proteins. It contains all nine essential amino acids, in particular the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The various processes that filter and dry the whey create three main types of whey protein: whey concentrate, whey isolate, and hydrolyzed whey protein isolate.

Whey Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate is the most common type of protein you’ll encounter. Most powders contain anywhere from 35%–80% protein and the rest consists of lactose, fats, and minerals from the cow’s milk. Many of these additional components add nutritional benefit making concentrated whey protein a solid choice for building muscle mass and aiding in recovery after workouts. It does have its drawbacks, though. Those additional components can add unnecessary calories to your post-workout shakes. They also slow down the absorption rate, which translates to a longer recovery time for the consumer. And while many brands on the market provide protein percentages in the 80s, they vary wildly, making the effects of each product similarly sporadic.  

Whey Isolate

Whey Isolate, or whey protein isolate, is the purest form of whey protein. It takes the  concentrate and further purifies it from the lactose, carbs, fats, and cholesterol. This is a great option for those athletes who are lactose intolerant, cholesterol conscious, or watching their caloric intake. It also boasts a higher protein rate than the concentrate: at least 90% protein. This is a higher quality protein than a whey concentrate and much easier to digest for most people.

Whey Hydrolyzed

By far the best whey protein powder available today is hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed whey combines all the benefits of pure whey protein isolate but the with added bonus of the hydrolysis process. This pre-digestion process uses water and enzymes to partially break down the protein into smaller chains making it easier and remarkably faster to absorb. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport shows that the rate of absorption for hydrolyzed whey protein is more than four times faster than even isolate. After an intense muscle-damaging session, athletes who use hydrolyzed whey protein in their recovery were back to full performance condition after only six hours.

Not only is the absorption rate faster, hydrolyzed whey protein can help boost the immune system by increasing the rate of glutathione absorption. Glutathione detoxifies and protects healthy cell regrowth in the immune system and throughout the entire body. It also provides more of the di- and tri-peptide protein molecules that play a crucial role in protein synthesis and muscle building. With its increased speed of absorption, more of the essential BCAAs like leucine make it to your muscles, resulting in faster and better muscle growth. While Hydrolyzed Whey Protein can be more expensive than the other kinds, the benefits far outweigh (or out-whey) the cost.

Who is Whey Protein for?

Whey protein is for anyone who takes their workouts seriously. Bodybuilders, competitive athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone who wants their body functioning at peak performance level should work whey protein into their diet. For those athletes who do intense and frequent workouts, hydrolyzed whey protein is the gold standard. It will help you build the muscle you need, and replenish glycogen quickly so that you can fully recover and hit the gym again as soon as you want. If that seems a little intense to you, whey concentrate or isolate is a decent alternative. If you have a couple days to recover in between sessions and are looking for something cheaper, adding any kind of whey is still better than none.  

A hydrolyzed whey post-workout is the best choice to promote recovery if your diet also limits carbohydrates. Because of its significantly higher leucine content, it’s the most efficient way to maximize muscle-building with the least amount of calories. And if muscle mass or recovery time take a backseat to building up your endurance, hydrolyzed is the clear choice. The stronger and better rested your muscles are, the better oxygen transport is and the longer it takes to get muscle fatigue. Whey protein will help anyone at any level have a longer and more effective workout.

When Do You Use Whey Protein?

The best time to use a whey protein supplement is up to 30 minutes after an intense workout. When your muscles are weakened and fatigued from a tough beating, they are craving that protein that will help them rebuild. Drinking a shake of whey protein powder mixed with cold water or milk helps to kickstart the recovery process by cramming your body with the essential BCAAs that are absorbed into the muscle and create new muscle tissue. This is why hydrolyzed whey is so beneficial, as the rapid absorption rate takes full advantage of this small window of time to build the most muscle.

But that doesn’t mean that immediately post-workout is the only time whey protein is worth it. Protein is an essential part of all of our body’s functions and a necessary part of any diet. Adding it to a breakfast smoothie can get your day started out on a high note, or mixing some with lunch as an afternoon pick me up is a much healthier way to energize your body than a candy bar or caffeinated soda. For those looking to rebuild and recover quickly, kick-starting that recovery with a whey protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing a training session is paramount. But making sure your entire diet is protein-rich is also an important element in total self-care.

Where Do I Get Whey Protein?

Although it’s easy to do a quick internet search and order the first whey protein powder you find, you’ll be glad if you put a little extra effort into your hunt. First, decide what you want from your whey protein. Are you just looking to supplement your diet with a little more protein, or are you a serious athlete who works your body hard and wants to get everything you can out of each workout? If you’re the latter, you definitely want to go with a hydrolyzed whey. Make sure that you’re getting at least 30g of protein per serving for your diet supplementation and at least 20g for your post-workout recovery shakes.

PROGENEX’s Recovery is the key to getting up and getting back at it. Within minutes, not hours, you’ll be back to reaping the rewards of your workout. The hydrolyzing process of all PROGENEX’s products get the protein and its essential amino acids to you in minutes, utilizing the muscle’s natural recovery process to multiply your gains.

If you’re looking for a more versatile whey supplement, PROGENEX’s More Muscle is an exceptional breakfast replacement or afternoon snack, as well as a great post-workout boost. With the same benefits as Recovery, it’s also the a great way to burn fat while building muscle. Unlike other products that may only boast of high protein content, PROGENEX’s special formula provides that high quantity of protein to you along with necessary amino acids, essential BCAAs, and glutamine. All of which help you build and retain lean muscle. The addition of this hydrolyzed whey protein to your everyday diet increases your resting energy expenditure after resistance exercise, meaning you burn significantly more calories after training than you would without it.

Depending on your personal goals and aspirations, PROGENEX Recovery or PROGENEX More Muscle are your best options for a high quality whey protein supplement that not only works great for your body, but tastes even better.

Why do I Need Whey Protein?

Whey protein is the single best way to recovery quickly from intense workouts while also effectively building muscle mass. If you are a serious athlete, a bodybuilder, an exercise enthusiast, or just trying to get in better shape, you are likely not getting enough protein in your diet. Protein, which is made up of amino acids, is the most important macronutrient needed for muscle growth. Unlike plants, which can synthesize all of these essential amino acids in-house, our bodies can only produce a limited number so we are required to obtain the rest from our diet. Soy and casein protein supplements, while somewhat beneficial, don’t get these essential BCAAs to the muscles as quickly as pure whey protein does.

Most people aren’t getting the average 56g of protein that’s recommended by the USDA in just their diet (while most experts believe we should have much more than that!). Or if they are, it’s being consumed along with excess amounts of sugars, fats, and more complex carbs. Using a high quality whey protein supplement, especially a hydrolyzed whey, can help you get the protein you need without all of the ingredients you don’t. After a particularly gruelling workout, the last thing on your mind is planning and cooking a full and nutritious meal. Protein supplements shouldn’t completely replace healthy protein consumption from red and white meats and fish, but if you’re tempted to swing by a drive thru on your way home from the gym, a protein supplement is a much healthier and effective option. And since whey is the purest form of dietary protein, it’s a no-brainer to choose a high protein, hydrolyzed whey to give you that healthy post-workout boost.

If you’re looking to build muscle, recover quickly, or just take care of your body, protein should be a priority. Getting the amount of healthy protein you need can be a challenge. Whey protein supplements, especially hydrolyzed whey, is the most effective option for post-workout shakes. Try Progenex More Muscle to boost new muscle growth and retention, and Progenex Recovery to get you back to peak performance level as quickly as possible. Progenex’s hydrolyzed whey products will give you the protein boost you need without the added calories or risk of digestion issues, getting you back to those intense training sessions as soon as you want to be.

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