Which Protein Is Best For Weightlifters And Bodybuilders?

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Which Protein Is Best For Weightlifters And Bodybuilders?
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

One of the most common questions from new and intermediate weightlifters and bodybuilders is about which protein is best for them to be using. And no wonder, given all the hype and noise from the supplement companies about their product being the only one that works – or at least that their protein works best.

So which protein IS best for weightlifters and bodybuilders? The question is more complicated than it appears on the surface and depends mostly on the time of day and your particular dietary regimen. For example, vegans will want to stay with soy protein – while it doesn’t have a great biological value (BV), it isn’t derived from animal sources. Vegetarians will be better using milk-based proteins and egg protein, but won’t want to include proteins from chicken, fish and beef.

The majority of weightlifters and bodybuilders are neither vegan nor vegetarian though, so for you the question of which protein is best depends entirely on timing. Getting your proteins from natural foods is preferable and can even be enough for some, but a whey protein supplement is a wise choice on the days you’re hitting the gym.

Use TrueStrength Whey Protein For Your Post-Workout Protein Shake

Whey Protein like TrueStrength Whey Protein is best for your pre-workout and post-workout shakes!

Whey Protein
Whey protein is considered the gold standard for weightlifters and bodybuilders, and it is – but ONLY for your pre-workout and post-workout shakes. While whey is the fastest and most biologically available (highest BV) protein, it clears the bloodstream within 90 minutes or so and does cause a spike in blood sugars. Both of these traits are ideal before and after your exercises, as you want the protein into your bloodstream fast so that it’s available when needed, and the insulin release from the sugar spike helps transport the proteins and glucose to the muscles to build, and then replace, your muscle energy.

But because whey clears your system so quickly, you would need to replenish your protein supply every 90 minutes to keep it available to your system – not a viable solution for almost anyone. Not to mention you’d be missing out on a lot of the digestive enzymes and other nutrients found in protein-rich fish and meats.

Other Proteins From Natural Sources
So at other times during your workout days and throughout your rest days you should be consuming protein from natural sources. Examples include steak and eggs or bacon and eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch (since it’s also good cold), and alternating fish and beef for supper. Eggs, chicken, fish and beef all have good BV values, absorb at a moderate pace and contain the other ingredients that help to support your protein intake and synthesis within the body. Include low-carb, high-fiber vegetables with your lunch and supper, especially raw vegetables, to balance out your nutritional needs.

Your longest fast each day is, of course, while you sleep at night. But while you are sleeping, your body is still burning calories, healing the micro-tears from your workouts and re-balancing your body. Since this is obviously a time when it’s best to have protein available for as long as possible, you want one that has a high BV buts is absorbed much more slowly than whey or even most of the other proteins.

Casein Protein
Fortunately casein protein fits the bill perfectly, remaining active in your system for up to 4 hours. Supplement your diet with casein each night using either a casein supplement or by eating a cup or two of low-fat cottage cheese – either way you’ll keep your body efficiently using protein, burning calories digesting it and be protecting your existing muscle mass from themogenic processes while you sleep.

So as you can see, the best protein for weightlifters and bodybuilders depends on the day and time and includes whey, egg, beef, fish, chicken and casein proteins. It will take a bit of planning to start this type of healthy nutrition plan, but soon it will be automatic – and if you only wanted the easiest way to do things you wouldn’t already be weightlifting or bodybuilding, would you? 😉

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9 Responses to Which Protein Is Best For Weightlifters And Bodybuilders?

  1. Steve Wilson says:

    Wonderful blog! I am pleased to have read very inspirational stories and information in here. Rest assured i will be one in movement of spreading the word of fitness. You have inspired me and more people to work hard at our healthy living program. Cheers my friend.
    Steve Wilson recently posted..Learn Freestyle Swimming Techniques in SE1My Profile

    • Thanks for the kind words, Steve! Having the energy to enjoy all things in life and avoiding the aches, pains and illnesses make living the fitness lifestyle and eating healthy well worth the effort at any age!

  2. Sohaib says:

    Great post Doug, and a very inspirational blog indeed. I went through a major change myself, and I’ve gotten into bodybuilding a lot this past year. You can use supplements like whey and casein protein, but you can also get adequate protein from natural foods. I didn’t need any!

    • Thanks Sohaib – both for your comments and for the kind words about my blog. And you’re right, protein can be gained from proper nutrition, as long as you’re getting the anti-oxidants and vitamins you need to support your system. For most people, though, protein supplements are the only way to max out their results.

      For example, to get the maximum protein uptake and glycogen into the muscles, not only do you need to ingest protein immediately following the workout, but you need an insullin spike at the same time since it’s insullin that transports the nutrients to the muscle receptors. For best results use real foods (lean beef, chicken, fish & black beans) for your main protein intake and protein supplements pre- and post-workout and at bedtime.

  3. Jacob says:

    Protein provides energy and resistance power to all the bodybuilders. So,it is one of the essential part of workout and bodybuilding. The right choice of protein should be made for bodybuilding. Your post guides well.

  4. Do not abuse workout supplements though, it must always be paired with proper diet and exercise.
    online pre workout nutritional supplement recently posted..Special DealsMy Profile

    • You’re quite right, John – supplements are called that just because they’re to be used to ‘supplement’ proper nutrition, not to replace it. If a lifter is already following healthy nutritional guidelines, taking extra amounts of supplements won’t help any further, and can throw everything off-balance.

  5. It’s not just the quality of the protein drink that matters, it’s the time you consume the protein drink. You should aim to take protein just before and after a workout to provide nutrition for your muscles and to help maximize muscle protein anabolism

    • Good point – thanks! Personally I use a shot of amino acids an hour or so before my workout, another one to sip during the workout, and whey protein following the workout. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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