Everyone knows that protein is an important nutrient that the body needs in order to survive. Do you also know that protein is important because it helps to build strong muscles, promotes muscle growth and aids in recovery following workouts? And that protein is also a great source of energy?
Bodybuilders know this, and they have been taking advantage of the benefits of protein supplements for years. In fact, bodybuilders have understood the need for protein in their diets long before the creation of protein supplements. Have you ever seen television programs or movies with bodybuilding characters who drink a glass of raw eggs? This isn’t too far from the truth. Eggs are loaded with protein, and bodybuilders and other athletes have been using them for muscle recovery for a long time.
Protein promotes muscle recovery following workouts, and it is also good for building muscles, so you will find many bodybuilders drinking protein-packed smoothies and shakes before and after training sessions. Of course, they also realize the value of healthy dietary sources of protein, and these supplements are included as a part of their overall health, training and diet plans in order to maintain a healthy body.
Why Does the Body Need Protein?
In order for our muscles to grow and remain strong, we need protein. Protein is a macronutrient, and there are three macronutrients, fats, carbohydrates and proteins, that you absolutely must have to live. Protein is made up of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen, which create amino acid chains. There are a total of 22 amino acids, eight essential and 14 non-essential.
What are Essential Amino Acids?
Essential amino acids are given this name because they are the amino acids that the body needs but cannot create on its own. Therefore, these amino acids must come from dietary sources. The eight essential amino acids are isoleucine, lysine, valine, tryptophan, leucine, phenylalanine, threonine and methionine, and they can be found in a number of delicious, healthy foods.
What are Non-Essential Amino Acids?
Non-essential amino acids are so named because they are necessary amino acids that the body is able to produce. You can also get these amino acids in protein supplements and dietary sources of protein. The 14 non-essential amino acids are arginine, histidine, proline, cysteine, glutamine, glutamic acid, alanine, asparagine, proline, tyrosine, aspartic acid, glycene, serine and hydroxyproline.
Choosing the Right Protein Supplements for Bodybuilders
When it comes to making any sort of changes to your diet, you need to do plenty of research. If you have decided that you want to use protein supplements as a part of your diet and workout regimen, you need to learn about the different types of supplements and the benefits that they offer. You also need to make sure that you are going to use supplements that won’t cause any types of allergic reactions or other adverse health conditions. Before beginning any sort of diet plan, you should consult with your physician.
Here are some tips for buying protein supplements:
Read the ingredients. You need to know everything that you are going to be putting into your body. Make sure that the protein supplements that you purchase are all-natural and don’t contain ingredients that you are allergic or intolerant to (such as milk products).
Check out the manufacturer. Make sure that any protein supplements that you purchase are made by a reputable company that is well-known in the bodybuilding industry. You don’t want to purchase anything that is going to go into your body that is made by a company that you know nothing about.
Shop around. You don’t need to spend a fortune on protein supplements. They are available on the internet, and in pharmacies, department, grocery and health food stores, so you should be able to find competitive pricing on quality products.
Types of Protein Supplements Available on the Market Today
There are a number of options available these days when it comes to protein supplements, so even the fussiest eater will be able to find something that will suit their tastes. In addition to protein powders, there are also liquid protein supplements, protein capsules and protein shots.
Protein Powders – This is an incredibly versatile form of protein supplement, and is great for bodybuilders and other athletes who use protein shakes and smoothies as meal replacements and for muscle recovery after they train. Protein powders are available in many delicious flavors, including chocolate and vanilla for shakes, berry and fruit punch for smoothies and slushies and unflavored for adding to recipes.
Liquid Protein – Ready-made protein shakes and smoothies are available. These are portable drinks that can be taken anywhere, including the gym, and are terrific for before and after working out to promote muscle growth and recovery. They also make excellent meal replacements. Liquid protein supplements can also be used to create your own drinks and can be added to certain recipes. Many liquid protein supplements are milk-based, so if you are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, you need to check the ingredients carefully before making your purchase.
Protein Shots – Small and portable, you can use these protein supplements anywhere. Protein shots come in a number of delicious flavors.
Protein Capsules – This is pretty much self-explanatory. Protein supplements in capsule form are available in various dosages and are easy to take with a glass of water.
Dietary Sources of Protein
In addition to using protein supplements, you should include protein in your diet, which can come from a number of delicious sources. Meat, fish and poultry are all great dietary sources of protein, along with eggs, milk products such as yogurt and cheese, brown or wild rice, nuts and more. When you create a diet plan that includes these foods as well as protein supplements, you can be assured that you are getting the protein that you need to promote muscle growth and provide the energy that you need for working out.