If you are asking this question, then you are probably doing the right thing; you have started exercising regularly, set a goal and decided it is going to be worth the pain! It also means that you do not have that much knowledge in fitness supplementation, so you need some information. No worries, I will cover the basics for you and hopefully help you make the right choice.
Basically, all amino acids and ingredients needed for building a physique and gaining muscle mass can be found in the food we consume daily. The problem is, in order for muscles to be built and defined like we want them to, you need to digest a very large amount of food in order to consume the needed amount of amino acids and proteins. And because no one has that much time, money or digestion capacity, the supplementation industry developed protein powder like whey and casein.
The Difference Between the Two Powders.
There is a huge difference between whey and casein, the main one being in the time the body needs to process each. Hence, whey is a “fast” protein and casein is a “slow” one. To illustrate it better, on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the fastest) whey is 10, and casein is about 2, meaning whey can be metabolized a lot faster than casein. Does this mean that these two should be taken separately or in a combination? Good question.
Which One is Which?
In order to answer the question above, first we need to define the two terms. Whey is a by-product of cheese, and as such it is less than 1% protein. When dried and turned into protein powder, it is concentrated and thus, more effective. Actually, a lot more effective. Known as the “fast” protein, this protein powder allows for protein synthesis of about 20 minutes, compared to the time casein takes to be metabolized, which is 3-4 hours. So, what’s whey all about?
- It is very rich in amino acids, lactose, minerals and vitamins, traces of fat and lactalbumin;
- It is a very powerful antioxidant as it enhances gluthatione levels. Gluthatione is the ingredient that helps maintain compounds such as iron in its oxidation phase in hemoglobin;
- It enhances the immune system.
Casein, on the other hand, is a “slow” protein, meaning, after its consumption you can expect it to reach its peak in blood amino acids and protein synthesis in about 3-4 hours. In fitness terms, this means that you will go through a slower muscle breakdown process, which is both good and bad at the same time.
Which One to Take?
The best results can be achieved if you take a combination of both. Your goal is to increase protein synthesis and to decrease protein breakdown. So, as whey is the most effective product for increasing protein synthesis and casein for decreasing protein breakdown, it is best to take them as a combination. Here is what you can do:
- take whey right after you’ve eaten, consume a protein powder drink made of whey;
- within 3 hours, take casein which will slow down the protein breakdown process, so you can get another dramatic increase;
- make sure you do your best when you exercise; you will have enough energy to push as hard as you can. Combined with these supplements, your lean muscle mass is just a few hours of hard work away.