Whey protein is naturally occurring in milk. 20% of the protein in milk consists of whey. With a pint of milk containing on average 15 grams of protein, you would only get 3 grams of whey. As this is a small amount of protein, whey has been extracted from milk into powder form as a supplement, with an average scoop/serving consisting of 20-25 grams. Whey protein is a fast acting protein, used mainly after a workout to start the rebuilding process as quickly as possible. After a workout cortisol (stress) levels are high turning the body into a catabolic (muscle wasting) state. The quicker the protein is absorbed in this period, the quicker the transition from being catabolic to anabolic (muscle building state).
Casein protein is also found in milk and cottage cheese. Casein makes up 80% of the protein in milk. Casein protein is a very slow absorbing protein, taking up to 7 hours to be fully digested. This is the perfect protein before you go to bed. When you go to bed, you go without eating for 7 hours. Casein protein supplies protein to the muscles throughout this period, keeping the body anabolic (in a muscle building state). If no protein were to be taken in this period during sleep, the muscle body will move into a negative nitrogen balance due to a lack of protein supply to the muscles, causing a catabolic (muscle wasting) effect.
Arginine is an amino acid found in nuts, fish and dairy products. Arginine increases nitric acid levels in the body, increasing blood flow and causing bigger pumps during workouts. Bigger pumps can increase muscle growth. This is because a “pump” stretches a very tough tissue surrounding the muscle called fascia. This fascia acts as friction to the muscle trying to grow. Thus the more flexible this tissue becomes, the less friction there will be on your muscles trying to grow.
Creatine is an amino acid that is naturally found in foods such as steak in small quantities. Creatine monohydrate is the most popular variation of creatine and is found in white powder form. Creatine’s main function is to pull water into the muscle cell. This results in the muscles becoming fuller. When loading on creatine, arms can temporarily grow as much as half an inch due to the water retention. This growth is great for stretching the fascia around the muscle, making it more stretchy and flexible and increasing potential growth (like arginine).
After a workout cortisol levels are high, and the body is in a catabolic state. Vitamin C when taken in doses of 1000mg or 1 gram can blunt cortisol (stress) levels significantly. This increases the testosterone to cortisol ratio, creating a more muscle building environment inside the body.
Zinc has anti-aromatase qualities, meaning it lowers estrogen in the body. Lowering estrogen increases testosterone levels. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, increasing muscle mass and decreasing body fat levels. Zinc can also boost your immune system, decreasing chances of becoming ill and missing workouts.
Eating in a surplus of calories (consuming more calories than your body burns in a day), is one of the most effective ways to build muscle. When trying to eat a high calorie number, weight gainer shakes can be a great supplement. Shakes are a lot easier to consume than whole food and can be drunk in-between meals to increase total calories. Just make sure to choose a weight gainer that isn’t loaded full of sugar and sweeteners such as aspartame, as these are unhealthy ingredients often found in weight gainers. Instead try and get a weight gainer that is packed full of complex carbohydrates and is sweetener free.
About the Author
Erny is a bodybuilder with a love for health and fitness. He interacts daily with his fans on his Facebook page, providing tips and advice. Erny is the recent founder of website, Worlds Fittest, where he regularly posts articles on how to get a six pack, lose weight and build muscle.