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Q. What is the difference between whey protein and mass gainer?
A. The only difference is that mass gainer contains more calories than regular whey protein (with larger amounts of carbs and fats to boost one’s calorie intake). Both serve to aid muscle recovery & promote muscle growth.
Q. What would suit me if I want to build muscles?
A. Depending on how fast & efficient you want to build muscles. If you are someone who doesn’t gain weight easily and want to build a significant amount of muscle mass, a mass gainer would be suitable for you. If you want slow gains with controlled body fat percentage, a whey protein would probably be enough (depends on individual). Alternately, you can use both mass gainer & whey protein to avoid gaining too much fat.
Q. What if I want to build muscle but don’t want to become fat easily from all the calories?
A. Truth is, it’s really difficult to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Building muscle (bulk up) needs calorie surplus (eat more than you burn) while losing fat needs calorie deficit (burn more than you eat). Taking a mass gainer will help you gain mass along with some fat (which is sometimes inevitable) but you won’t be fat and flabby if your workouts and proper healthy eating habits are in place.
Provided that you eat enough to allow muscle growth, with no unnecessary calories from junk/unhealthy food, you wouldn’t easily become fat while bulking. If you really want great muscle definition, you have to bulk up to build sufficient muscle mass as your foundation before you cut (lose fat) anyway. Besides, you can always add some cardio to your routine.
Everyone’s body responds to supplements differently. You just need to know how to look into the mirror, know your own body and adjust what works best for you. Alternately, you can also use only whey protein to build muscle mass even though it might be slower for some people especially for hard-gainers.
Q. What if I want to lose fat? Do I still need protein?
A. If you are someone who has already built sufficient muscle mass and is ready to cut fat, whey protein would still be essential because your body still needs to hang on to the muscles you have already built. This prevents muscle catabolism from all the cardio you do to lose fat. This is important so that after you have lost the unwanted fat, there will still be muscle definition.
Q. Isn’t whey protein only for cutting purposes?
A. Whey protein is essential for both bulking phase and cutting phase. It’s just that some people prefer using mass gainer for bulking purposes (remember that mass gainer is a higher calorie protein shake with added carbs & fat), and some people (who gain weight easily) use only whey protein to build mass because of the fear of unwanted calories (especially for women).
Q. Should women take whey protein?
A. Women who want to build lean mass to reveal a “toned” and “firm” look should consider adding whey protein to their diet. Regardless of what type of exercise you’re doing (weight-lifting/aerobic/cardio), whey protein serves only as a supplement to your daily calorie intake so that your muscles can recover and grow back stronger. When you want lose fat, it is important to add protein supplement to your diet so that you will not lose your existing muscles. That is how you can look fitter, not just skinny.
Q. What if I don’t work out and just take protein/mass gainer? Will I grow?
A. The purpose of protein is to aid muscle recovery (repair muscle tissues) so that the muscles can grow stronger. If you do not workout (to tear your muscle fibers), there is no need for recovery. Since your body does not store protein, it will just be a waste of money.
If you take mass gainer without exercising, there is a chance that your daily caloric input is more than your output, and you might gain fat instead of muscle (and you are just wasting money buying supplements). If you regularly exercise, your body has an extra requirement for protein, so that the supplement is utilised.
Q. Could I take too much protein?
A. This isn't really a risk PROVIDED you are in general good health. If you have any liver or kidney problems, or family history, please check with a medical practitioner first. The body will generally utilize the protein it needs and excrete remaining nitrogen in urine, after the protein has been broken down. This is why it is important to have healthy liver and kidney functions. If you are undertaking a high protein diet, (from supplements and diet), then you need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Q. What is Whey Protein?
A. Whey is essentially a by-product of cheese, which is manufactured from cow’s milk. The curds are set and either cooked or piled upon one another and then cut to release the whey. This whey is the raw material that will eventually make up whey protein powder. The whey protein powder is a collection of globular proteins and it contains four main protein fractions and six minor ones. The four main are: beta-lactoglobulin (approx. 65%), alpha lactalbumin (approx. 25%), serum albumin (approx 8%) and immunoglobulins. These all combine to give whey protein the highest Biological Value (BV) of any known protein. Biological value is the measure of the efficiency of a protein and how well it is absorbed and used by the body for growth and repair. The higher the number, the better. With BV, 100% egg protein sets the standard with 100, with all other forms (except whey) lower. With whey protein, however, BV can be as high as 170. Whey protein isolate has the highest bio availability of any of the different types of whey protein, usually about 30-60% more than concentrate.
Q. Types of Whey Protein?
A. There are three main types of whey protein:
Whey Protein Concentrate
· Low in fat
· 75% pure protein by weight
· Lower cost
Whey Protein Isolate
· Purest form of whey protein
· Contains 90% or greater protein with minimal lactose (<1%) and virtually no fat
· Higher cost
Hydrolyzed Whey Protein
· Hydrolysis is the process which breaks down the protein chains into small fractions called "peptides".
· Easily digested and less potential for allergic reactions.
There are also many blends of the three types discussed above available. Typically the cheapest form of whey will make up the highest content with the remaining content being based on cost. So a blend would be largely concentrate, with only small amounts of isolate. This is why you can find 5 lb tubs pretty cheap, especially when compared to a smaller container of pure isolate.
Q. Why is Whey Protein Important?
A. Protein is the most essential macro-nutrient for any weight training enthusiast. It is critical for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. It's what we are made of after water. The higher quality allows for greater absorption with the amino acids, content being superior to lower quality forms of protein. Higher amounts of the BCAA's (leucine, iso-leucine and valine) as well as glutamine are also found in abundant supply, these are important for energy and recovery after a hard workout. Since protein requires more calories to digest than either carbohydrates or fat, it's important to fat loss goals as well. Additionally, it can be important medically, aiding in things such as type-2 diabetes, wound healing and even cancer.
Q. When should I take whey protein?
A. A main advantage of Whey Protein, because it is quickly digestible, is that it can be taken both pre and post workout. Generally, a larger dosage is taken post workout, so it can begin to aid the muscle repair and growth from your training session. Whey protein can also be taken in one or two of your other ‘snack’ meals throughout the day but should not be used as meal replacement.
Another good time to take whey is first thing in the morning. Overnight, your stores of glycogen can be diminished and your body will be breaking down muscle for energy. If you are bodybuilding or looking to add muscle mass, this is the last thing that you want! A quick whey shake first thing in the morning will give your body that vital protein it requires.
Q. How much whey protein do I need?
A. For any hard training bodybuilder or weight lifter, total protein intake on a daily basis should be 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of body weight. For women, I suggest about 75% of those numbers. You need to take the total number and divide that by six – the number of meals per day you should be eating. Of those six, whey protein can be used as discussed above and anytime you cannot get to a whole food meal. This is important because you never want to go more than three hours without getting in some protein. This means, depending on your school or work obligations, a protein shake may be your only option. Remember the total grams divided by six calculation? That number is what you want to use per shake.
For adults who are not training with weights but may be performing light exercise, I suggest .75 grams per pound of body weight. The reason I suggest that number is if you are trying to get in shape and lose weight, you will want a higher protein intake as well as a lower carbohydrate and fat intake. In this case, choose only lean food sources of protein. If you are doing no exercise whatsoever, drop that number to .50 grams per pound of body weight but remember, if you begin to exercise your needs will go up.
Q. Can I Mix my Whey Protein Shake Up the Day Before?
A. Yes this generally is fine, although I wouldn't recommend any more than a day before. I would also suggest you keep the made up shake in the fridge. This can be convenient to do, especially if we are trying to fit in nutrition around our busy lives. Another option is to carry one or two servings of powder with you along with a shaker cup as long as you have access to water. I've done this for years and it's quick and easy. Still another choice is to pre-make the shake in the morning before you leave and add some ice to it to keep it cold.
Q. I am Vegetarian. Can I take Whey Protein?
A. Whey can help with the protein levels that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet. As mentioned before, the whey is part of the cheese making process and therefore a dairy product. There are no involvements with any animal flesh or meat and therefore is acceptable in the lacto and lacto-ovo vegetarian diets. A lacto vegetarian will eat dairy products but not eggs and a lacto-ovo vegetarian will eat dairy products and eggs, but not meat, fish or poultry.
An ovo vegetarian however will eat eggs but not dairy products. Whey in this instance is not really suitable in accordance with the guidelines of this particular type of vegetarian diet. An alternative option if you do not want to consume dairy products may be to take soy protein instead
Q. Can I take whey if I am a Teenager?
A. It is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 to be taking supplements. Protein is an important part of the diet but in these teenage years, it is better to get your protein from whole foods from the daily diet, rather than supplements. This does not mean supplements are dangerous but natural dietary sources of protein are more applicable up until this age.
Q. Is it right to Take Whey Protein Without Doing Regular Exercise?
A. This can depend on why you are taking the whey. The body does not store protein, so if you are looking to gain muscle mass, consuming whey on its own without exercise will not help you muscle size. Along with a weight training or bodybuilding program, whey is an ideal supplement to provide essential protein and Branch Chain Amino Acids to help build and repair muscles.
This is because the body at this time has an extra requirement for protein and so the whey is effectively utilized. If you are taking whey protein to assist recovery from cancer or help with diabetes or wound healing, then exercise isn't essential to take whey. The protein you consume will perform its appropriate function and then be excreted from the body.
Q. Does Whey Protein Have an expiry Date?
A. All whey protein products have a printed expiration date on the label or container. People have complained of severe stomach upset and other illness from taking out of date powder, this is most likely due to breakdown of the excipients in whey protein powder, such as colorings and flavors. The whey powder itself is usually dated from a couple of years after manufacture and after this, the nutritional values cannot be guaranteed as still being accurate. For these reasons, the expiration date should be adhered to.
Q. Could I take too Much Protein?
A. This isn't really a risk PROVIDED you are in general good health. If you have any liver or kidney problems, or family history, please check with a medical practitioner first. The body will generally utilize the protein it needs and excrete remaining nitrogen in urine, after the protein has been broken down. This is why it is important to have healthy liver and kidney functions. If you are undertaking a high protein diet, i.e. from supplements and diet, then you need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Q. How safe is creatine?
A. Since creatine as a supplement is (relatively) new, it is hard to determine whether or not there will be long term (think 40 years down the road) health effects from associated with using creatine.
However, at this point there hasn’t been one credible study documenting any dangerous or unhealthy side effects associated with regular creatine use.
After almost 20 years with no notable negative effects, we can start to accept creatine as a safe health supplement.
Q. Can women take creatine?
A. Absolutely! Creatine is by no means a male-only product. One concern with women is that they don’t want to “bulk up” with muscle. It’s easy to understand where this misconception comes from, many women see their male counterparts taking creatine to add muscle mass and are fearful that it will do the same to them.
The truth is, “bulking up” is a result of heavy weight lifting, massive amounts of food, and aided by the male sex hormone, testosterone. Three things the majority of women can’t relate to.
Creatine is fantastic for any women looking to increase endurance, help with moderate strength gains, and increase lean muscle.
Q. How can I get creatine naturally?
A. Creatine can be obtained directly from some of the foods we eat like beef and fish (roughly 50% of most people’s stores of creatine comes from food). Through digestion, the creatine contained within these meats is released directly into the blood stream and further transported to the body’s skeletal muscle.
Q. Is it necessary to load on creatine?
A. The short answer here is no, it’s not NECESSARY to load creatine, but it may help you see results faster.
The purpose of a load is to saturate your muscle cells with creatine as quickly as possible. If you were to only take a standard amount from the start, you may not reach full muscle saturation for weeks. Loading for 4-6 days can drastically cut this time down.
The downside of this is that it might not be in your budget to use that much creatine for the first week, and it also has the potential to cause gastrointestinal discomfort (gas and bloating).
Q. Is it necessary to cycle creatine?
A. Same as the question above, the operative word here is ‘necessary’ and no, it’s not necessary to cycle creatine.
The body can become tolerant or accustomed to several widely used health supplements on the market today, leading users to “cycle” them or take the product for a given amount of time followed by a set time without use.
Creatine doesn’t create dependency in users nor does the body become tolerant to it. So though it’s not necessary to cycle creatine, it’s still never a bad idea to allow your body to function on its own every now and again, if only to reestablish equilibrium. For creatine 2-4 weeks off is more than sufficient.
Q. What is the best time to take creatine?
A. For the majority of people it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s taken consistently every day.
Now some of you out there may be consuming some sort of fast acting carbohydrate right after your workout. If this is the case then you can take advantage of the spike in insulin your body has at that time to help absorb the creatine.
The temporary spike in insulin won’t necessarily convert the creatine into creatine phosphate any quicker, but it will aid the body’s process of absorption.
For everyone else, put it by your makeup or toothbrush so you won’t forget to take it every day.
Q. Will taking creatine before a workout give me more energy?
A. No, it won’t. Theoretically it should, and many early users of creatine thought it would. Unfortunately the process of absorbing and converting creatine to creatine phosphate takes time.
The key is already having your muscles saturated with creatine hours before you touch a weight or hop on a treadmill. To accomplish this, it’s essential that you consistently maintain the muscle’s saturation level by never missing a daily serving of creatine.
Q. What is the best type of creatine?
A. For most people this is a simple answer, and its good old creatine monohydrate. This form of creatine still delivers consistently and is backed by hundreds of studies.
It’s still recommended to buy from a reputable manufacturer; the purity of the creatine monohydrate is really the most important thing.
If you feel like splurging, there are several forms of creatine that aren’t as backed by research but are advertised to be better at being absorbed by the body and delivered to the muscles. This can eliminate much, if not all of the stomach discomfort in users prone to these side effects.
Q. Can Creatine help me lose weight?
A. There’s no conclusive data to suggest creatine can directly affect weight lose. In fact, creatine fills up the muscles with water (an important component for muscle growth) and can appear to actually put weight on. A very important distinction with this question is that it relates to weight loss, not fat loss. Let me explain.
Though creatine may add additional weight (from water within the muscle cells), the strength and lean muscle gains will actually increase the body’s metabolism and aid in FAT loss!
You heard it right; creatine can help the body burn fat. So don’t worry about what the scale says, it may go up in number but you’ll soon notice your pants fitting looser and your body looking better.