Protein is a crucial component of nervous and glandular tissue as well as bodily fluids such as blood, enzymes, and hormones. It also takes part in important regulatory processes within the human body.

Protein is also one of many essential elements that make up a balanced diet – especially for people who are physically active. People engaged in regular sporting activities need higher amounts of protein – between 1.4g and 2g per kilogram of body weight per day. Regardless of whether your aim is to bulk or to cut, protein is used either as a building material to synthesize proteins and build muscle or to prevent excessive loss of muscle tissue and help regulate your appetite.

DO YOU NEED PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS?

If your diet provides all the protein your body needs then you don’t need to use protein supplements. However, even with a well-planned diet there are days when you don’t get enough protein. In such cases protein supplements can provide an easy way for you to meet your body’s nutritional requirements.

CONCENTRATE, ISOLATE OR HYDROLYSATE?

There are three main types of protein supplements: concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Protein concentrate is the cheapest option with the least processed protein. Protein isolate contains more protein per 100g than concentrate and in the case of whey supplements, it’s fat and lactose-free. Protein hydrolysate (the most expensive option) is highly concentrated as well and is easily absorbed because of the hydrolyzed proteins it contains. One thing is certain – protein hydrolysates are of the best quality but are also the most expensive.

WHEN TO TAKE PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS?

The best time to consume protein supplements is up to 2 hours after training. A good idea can be to add a source of carbohydrates, e.g. a banana. It is also advisable to take protein supplements after waking up – before breakfast – as well as during long breaks between meals. Using supplements after training helps avoid any catabolic processes and provides the body with amino acids in a form that’s easily absorbed by tired muscles. You need to be careful, however, not to overdo it. More than three doses a day can have a negative influence on your stomach, intestines and kidneys. Supplements cannot replace a balanced meal. The body doesn’t just need protein for muscle growth; water, carbohydrates, healthy fats and a number of hormones all play a key role.