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When you train, you break down and damage your muscles. In this phase your muscles are said to be catabolic.  But when your body repairs the damage it super compensates so that your muscles get stronger and bigger. In this phase your muscles are said to be anabolic. This is the whole objective of weight and resistance training – you stress and break down muscle so that it grows back stronger after each session.  The basic building block of muscle repair is protein. In order for your body to fully repair the damage done to your muscles it must have a consistent supply of protein. If there’s not enough protein available the process of repairing your muscles aren’t optimised. So eating is just as important as training in order to keep the muscle anabolic.

This is why it is recommended that competitive athletes eat five to six small balanced meals each day and take protein supplements. In this way, muscles are given a consistent supply of protein, optimising the process of rebuilding and repair. Maximum muscle growth can’t occur unless you get this equation right.  For athletes seeking maximum muscle gain and muscle recovery, it’s recommended that total protein intake is approximately 2g per kilogram of body weight per day. Whole foods like beef, chicken and fish provide the best source of protein. But many athletes find difficulty in preparing and consuming the necessary quantity of whole food to achieve their required protein intake. In recent years, protein powder has been identified as an excellent way to supplement protein requirements.

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Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production and is the most common protein supplement available in the market. It comes in two main forms:

  • Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is typically between 70-85 percent proteins, low in lactose, low in fat and has the most active peptides retained.
  • Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is more expensive than WPC because it has been processed one step further to remove more fat and the lactose. WPI typically contains between 90-97 percent proteins. 

Both WPC and WPI are excellent post-training protein supplements because they can be absorbed quickly by the body and transported to the muscle.


CASEIN PROTEIN (Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein)

Casein protein is an extremely slow digesting protein that some people mistake for being inferior. However, casein protein is a rich protein source that will feed the body at a steady rate, which makes it ideal as a dietary supplement during the day or at night to feed the body while you sleep.

Casein protein products are the most affordable of the protein products. It is also a product that is the least refined of the proteins resulting from milk.  A very well refined protein supplement is whey isolate and will have amino acids added to the product.  Casein protein moves more slowly throughout the digestive tract than whey proteins move.  This typically allows for better absorption of the amino acids and makes a wise choice for meal replacement especially for this reason.  Allowing for slower absorption of amino acids equals to feeling full longer.  A protein that rips through the digestive tract can leave the consumer having hunger sensations long before the person taking casein protein.  What goes through the body faster has less of a long lasting effect.

Casein is a protein that is found in milk and used independently in many foods as a binding agent. Technically, it is part of a group called phosphoproteins, collections of proteins bound to something containing phosphoric acid. Casein may also be called caseinogen, particularly in European foods.  Casein is a salt, meaning it has no net ionic charge, of the element calcium. It has a number of interesting properties that make it useful in foods and cooking. Many people believe proteins are healthier if consumed when not denatured – one of the major lines of reasoning used in supporting a raw food diet. Denaturing occurs when a protein loses its inherent structure, due to high heat or acid for example, at which point it no longer acts in the ordinary manner. Casein, because of its structure, is not susceptible to denaturing.

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Casein can be found in two main types: edible and technical. Edible casein is widely used in both medicine and food, both for nutritional value and as a binder. Technical casein is used in an enormous range of products, including paints, cosmetics, and many types of adhesives. A not-insubstantial number of people have a casein allergy and may find themselves experiencing negative reactions both to casein-containing food products and to products such as nail polish that contain casein.  Many people who are either allergic to casein and have linked it to milk, or who are vegan and therefore avoid animal products altogether, are not aware of the prevalence of casein in foods. For these people, it is important to note that, although a product may be labelled Lactose Free, it may easily still contain casein for other reasons. Soy cheeses, for example, often contain casein derived from milk, which may stimulate allergic reactions in people who assume that they are dairy free.  Casein has also been linked to negative effects in people with autism. While in most people, casein is easily broken down by the digestive system into peptides known as casomorphins, and then further processed into basic amino acids, some evidence suggests that in autistics, this process does not occur fully. The resulting casomorphins, which fail to break down completely, may have an effect on the body similar to that of morphine or other opiates. For this reason, some experts on autism recommend that people suffering from autism avoid casein in their diets.

There are three basic types of protein supplements:

  • Lean Muscle Proteins: High protein, low carbs, and low fat. Whey protein is the ideal choice immediately after training.
  • Gainer Proteins: High protein, high carbs, low fat ideal for those who struggle to gain weight. A high quality gainer will use complex carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin or rice powder.
  • Meal Replacement Proteins: Slow digesting protein blend, complex carbs, essential fatty acids, vitamin and mineral mix.  MRP’s typically use slow digesting proteins to keep you feeling fuller for longer and to provide the muscles with constant nourishment. A high quality MRP will be low in sugar with a reasonable amount of fibre. MRP’s are a convenient and quick meal option for those who typically skip meals, such as breakfast, or find they are short of time.

We are fitness fanatics and gym junkies. Thanks for stopping by and reading our guide.

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