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Do I Need Protein Supplements To Build Muscles?
Many of you are wondering if protein supplements are necessary to build muscles. To gain strength and build some muscle mass, protein intake is important. Protein is made up of amino acids and these amino acids help in muscle recovery after a workout.
Lifting weights during a workout, will cause your muscles to have tiny micro tears. Amino acids will be broken down from the protein that you consume from your diet and they are used to repair the tears. They repair the tears by filling them up, making them bigger and stronger.
The best source of protein that we can get for muscle building is from our daily diet. Yes, you heard that right, from our food! We can get all the nutrients and energy needed for our body through eating the right food. Having a balanced diet with the right amount of protein daily is essential for the recovery and growth of your muscles.
So here comes the big question – Do you really need protein supplements to build muscles? Daily protein requirements may be slightly higher for bodybuilders, gym enthusiasts and athletes and therefore, if you can’t seem to get enough protein from your diet throughout the day, you might want to consider taking some protein supplements. This will help you to achieve the extra protein or nutrient that is needed by your body.
Some find it easier and less time consuming to just make themselves a protein shake and drink after a workout rather than cooking and eating a chunk of meat.
Have you noticed that there are many types of protein supplements available in the market? If you’re a beginner or if you’re new to this, choosing the right one your body needs can be pretty confusing. Fret not, we’ve got you covered! Below is a list of the types of protein supplements available in the market.
Types of Sports Supplements
As mentioned earlier, protein supplements are useful if you want to gain muscles but aren’t able to meet your daily protein requirement through your diet. In this section, you will learn the different types of protein supplements and how you can decide on what your body truly needs.
There are three different forms of protein:
- Protein concentrates: Prepared by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid. The end product will contain about 60-80% protein and the rest with carbs and fats.
- Protein isolates: Fats and carbs will be removed by an additional filtration process, thus, concentrating the protein which will contain about 90-95% protein
- Protein hydrolysates: This is produced by further process using heat and acid, breaking the bonds between amino acids. Your body absorbs hydrolysates more easily and quickly.
1. Whey Protein
Whey protein is the most common protein you can find in the market. Produced from milk and is rich in Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) which aids in muscle growth and recovery of the muscles. These are also called essential amino acids needed by the body to support muscle recovery.
Whey protein can also be consumed by those who lack protein in their diet. However, look for those with the lowest sugar content as some may contain a high level of sugar.
How much protein do I need?
There are different opinions on how much protein people need in a day. However, it is best to go by body weight as everyone has a different body weight. Some are suggesting that the average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. So if a person weighs 60kg, 60kg x 0.8g of protein is 48g of protein needed in a day given that the person lives a sedentary lifestyle.
However, the amount of protein required in a day may need to be increased if you are physically active like cycling, running, swimming on a daily basis. A person with an active lifestyle is suggested to consume 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
Those who regularly take part in weight training activities or commonly known as muscle builders/powerlifters are suggested to consume 1.6-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
When and how should I take whey protein?
Questions frequently asked by many. Whey protein can be taken any time of the day however to get the most of it, the best time to consume for optimal muscle growth is within an hour after your workout. This is known as the “anabolic window” or “protein window”. This is when your body is ready to accept nutrients, particularly protein.
There are many flavors available as it doesn’t really taste good on its own. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are said to be popular flavors. Don’t forget to always read the labels and contents before buying them as some may contain unwanted additives like refined sugar.
Whey protein can be mixed with cold water, room temperature water or cold milk. If you love smoothies, you can even add whey protein to your smoothies, making it more filling. While most people can consume whey protein, those with lactose intolerance should be more careful. Some might even be allergic to it. Yikes! But don’t worry, there are other alternatives to whey protein which will be introduced and explained later on.
Where to get whey protein from?
Gold Series 100% Whey Protein – GNC Live Well
Packed with 24g of fast-acting whey isolate and hydrolyzed peptides with whey protein concentrate to support lean muscle. Contains more than 5g of BCAA to promote muscle recovery. Also contains 4g of glutamine and glutamine precursors to replenish loss of glutamine. This whey protein also has 100mg of digestive enzymes including aminogen and lactase to ease up on digestion and to maximize amino acid absorption. Besides that, GNC’s whey protein has only 1g of sugar per serving.
Casein protein is also found in milk, just like whey protein. However, casein is different as it is a slow-digesting protein that people often take as a protein supplement. It is also known as a “time-release” protein. This means that protein is being released slowly into your body to help with recovery and muscle repair. Basically, casein protein helps in reducing muscle soreness.
When and how do I take casein protein?
Amino acids are released slowly and therefore, many bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts normally take this before bedtime to reduce muscle breakdown while they sleep as well as to help them with muscle recovery.
Due to its richer and thicker consistency compared to whey protein, it is suggested to add in more water compared to the amount of water typically added to a scoop of whey protein. Just use a shaker cup or a shaker bottle to mix them and voila! You get a smooth consistency. Like whey protein, casein can also be added to your smoothies, perfect as a pre-bedtime protein shake!
Where to get casein protein from?
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein – WDC Nutrition
Contains 24g of anti-catabolic Micellar Casein which means it protects muscle mass from being broken down in your body. ON Gold Standard 100% Casein has nearly 5g of naturally occurring BCAA and nearly 5g of glutamine and glutamic acid per scoop. Also contains 1g of sugar per serving.
3. Branched Chain Amino Acid supplements (BCAA)
BCAA are made up of a group of essential amino acids namely leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids are considered to be essential amino acids because the body cannot produce them on its own unlike non-essential amino acids. Because of that, it is important to consume them through our diet.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard of BCAA powder. But what is it for? BCAAs help in boosting muscle recovery, increasing muscle growth, reducing muscle soreness and improve exercise performance by boosting energy.
When and how should I take BCAA supplements?
BCAAs can be taken either before, during or after workout. The powder can be mixed with water or a sports drink. BCAA supplement comes in tablet form well so it’s more convenient to carry around and to consume.
However, it is learnt that it is best taken before or during workout as it can be also used as a pre-workout supplement to boost your energy levels. Try experimenting within your own workout routine to find out how BCAAs work best for you! This way, you can decide which is the best time to take BCAA supplement.
Should I take BCAA supplement if I take whey protein?
Good question. BCAAs can be found in other protein supplements such as whey protein which is why taking BCAA supplement might not be necessary. However, due to the benefits of BCAAs, some athletes and bodybuilders who have intense training choose to add a BCAA supplement into their protein shakes.
Where to get BCAA supplement from?
MusclePharm BCAA – Malaysia Supplements
MusclePharm BCAA contains 6g of BCAA per serving. It offers a unique patent-pending ratio 3:1:2 which is 3 Leucine, 1 Isoleucine and 2 Valine that is specifically tuned to deliver the ideal amounts of these three amino acids during all phases of muscle development and maintenance.
Contact No.: +60123477899
4. Creatine supplement
If you’ve heard of creatine, chances are you may not know exactly what they are or why you need them. Creatine is found naturally in muscle cells and our diet, particularly red meat such as beef, pork and fish as they are excellent sources of creatine.
I’m sure it can be pretty difficult to ingest all the meat throughout the day to get sufficient creatine especially for muscle builders and gym enthusiasts. That’s why creatine supplements are easily available in the market, creatine monohydrate being the most popular form.
Want to know the benefits of creatine? Keep reading! Creatine helps muscle cells to produce more energy. By taking creatine supplement, your muscle phosphocreatine stores increase which will help your body to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the key molecule your cells use for energy.
Therefore, due to ATP production, creatine is excellent in boosting high intensity workouts meaning that it will give you more energy to perform high intensity training like heavy weight lifting. Creatine also helps to increase muscle strength as well as improve muscle recovery rate.
It is known for creatine to increase water content in your muscles. In other words, creatine draws water into your muscles, making your muscles look bigger.
When and how should I take creatine supplement?
Creatine should be taken consistently if you want to increase muscle creatine levels. There are two phases when taking creatine supplement: Loading and maintenance phase.
Loading Phase :- Some bodybuilders and athletes start off with the loading phase in which they take approximately 20g of creatine per day for 5-7 days. This 20g of creatine is broken down to 4 servings of 5g taken throughout the day depending on when you workout.
Maintenance Phase :- This is when 3-5g of creatine per day is sufficient to reap the benefits of creatine. You can take creatine either before or after workout. Still, the best time to consume creatine supplement whether it is in pill or powder form is after your workout. If you’ve read through this article, you would have learned about the “protein window” when your muscles are more ready to accept nutrients.
You might ask if the loading phase is necessary. Here’s your answer. The loading phase isn’t necessary as you will still get the same results as you would if you start off with taking 5g of creatine a day, only that it will take a little longer to maximize your muscle creatine stores. It is suggested to take creatine with a glass of water and advisable to stay hydrated all day.
Where to get creatine supplement from?
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine – Muscle Mania Club
MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine contains 5g of the world’s highest quality and most clinically researched form of micronized creatine monohydrate which is said to be a better absorbing form.
Contact No.: +60123322330
5. Pre-workout supplement
A pre-workout supplement is a supplement that bodybuilders and athletes take before workout as an energy booster to give energy throughout their athletic performance. Something a lot of gym enthusiasts would want – energy!
It comes in a powdered form which you can mix with water and drink before exercise. Depending on the brand, pre-workouts have different contents and they have their own formula. Some have included nitric oxide boosters into their pre-workouts such as L-arginine and L-citrulline which acts as “vasodilators”.
If you don’t know what nitric oxide is for, here’s a brief explanation. Nitric oxide is a molecule that your body naturally produces which helps in relaxing the inner muscles of the blood vessels, making the blood vessels wider for better blood circulation.
Some studies suggest pre-workouts that contain nitric oxide boosters can boost oxygen and nutrients into muscles, improving athletic performance.
Besides that, caffeine is also one of the ingredients used in pre-workouts. As we all know what caffeine does – boost energy and helps you to focus and therefore, most pre-workouts contain caffeine. However, the amount of caffeine contained in pre-workouts ranges from mild to high levels which can cause some serious health issues in some people like high blood pressure, insomnia and anxiety.
Creatine is another popular compound that most pre-workout supplements have. As explained earlier, creatine gives you more energy for high intensive training which is why some pre-workout supplements contain creatine.
If you are taking a pre-workout that includes creatine (3g) then a creatine supplement is not needed after all. Here’s a reminder, always read the ingredient labels thoroughly before buying them so you know exactly what you are putting in your body.
When and how should I take a pre-workout supplement?
Pre-workout powder normally comes in many flavors and can be easily mixed with water in a shaker. It can be taken 30 minutes before you start training. If you are new to pre-workout supplements, it’s better to start off with half of the recommended dose to see how your body’s reaction.
Where to get a pre-workout supplement from?
Cellucor C4 Original – ProteinLab Malaysia
This pre-workout is known as America’s number 1 selling pre-workout. Whether you’re just starting a fitness journey or you’re striving to reach that next level, C4 Original will help you reach the next level. The C4 formula includes ingredients to help promote energy, pumps and performance. It contains caffeine like most pre-workouts however this contains just the right amount which is 150mg. Besides that, C4 Original also contains 1g of creatine nitrate as well as other ingredients like Beta Alanine and Arginine AKG which are amino acids to improve performance.
6. Electrolyte drink
What happens after running a marathon or after an intense high performance workout? You will feel dehydrated, drenched in sweat? This is where electrolyte drinks come into play. Electrolyte drinks or sports drinks are drinks that contain electrolytes/minerals that are lost through sweat.
Common electrolytes are magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride and calcium. Electrolyte or sports drinks would normally contain all these minerals to help replace them as they are lost during exercise.
Electrolyte drinks are beneficial to athletes who tend to sweat a lot during workout as they help to replenish fluids, energy and electrolytes lost through sweat.
When and how should I take electrolyte drinks?
Electrolyte drinks normally come in powder form or they can also come in readymade form. Powdered form also comes in a few flavors to choose from and can be easily mixed with water and shaken well before drinking. It can be consumed before, during and after training. It is recommended to drink a little every 15-20 minutes during training.
Where to get electrolyte powder from?
MusclePharm Combat BCAA + Recovery – Muscle Mania Club
MP Combat BCAA + Recovery supports your lean muscle maintenance and helps to replenish your electrolytes after training. It contains 10g of BCAAs and EAAs as well as 1000mg of electrolytes. It contains no sugar, calories or proprietary blends.
Contact No.: +60123322330
It all comes down to what kind of goals do you want to achieve whether it’s building lean muscles, muscle recovery or the energy or pump that you need for your intensive training. Key to buying good sport supplement products is to always read through their ingredient labels and beware of counterfeit products. We don’t want ingesting anything harmful to our bodies!
Note: This is for educational purposes only. All sports supplements are recommended to be used by athletes over the age of 18. Any supplement should be used carefully and after discussion with a healthcare professional. If you have any medical illness that requires medical attention, please seek professional advice from your healthcare providers.