As a high-performing athlete, you must consume protein to help your muscles recover and rebuild stronger. However, not all types of protein are created equal. The two key types for athletes are whey and casein, and although they are both derived from cow's milk, they provide different benefits and should be consumed differently. Jim White, registered dietitian and American Dietetics Association spokesman, breaks them down so you can use them correctly to maximize your muscle-building.
Whey is a high quality protein that makes up 20 percent of the protein found in milk. Because it’s easily digested and absorbed, your muscles can get a quick hit of muscle-building protein—a great benefit for any athlete.
How to Take It
Since it's fast-acting, whey is the best option after a workout, when your muscles need protein the most. White recommends consuming 20 grams of whey protein mixed with approximately 60 grams of carbohydrate within 30 minutes after a workout. This will provide the amino acids your muscles need to rebuild and increase in size and strength. “[The protein] is easily absorbed, especially after your workout,” he says.
Try these top whey protein products:
Gatorade Recover 03
EAS Myoplex Strength Formula RTD
Casein makes up 80 percent of the protein in cow milk, but it differs from whey in how the body digests it. According to White, "It’s extremely slow digesting so it ensures you have a source of protein on long-term basis." This reduces muscle breakdown throughout the day, helping to sustain the muscle building effects of weight training.
How to Take It
Because it is slow acting, casein is not an ideal post-workout protein. Consume it throughout the day, or as White recommends, take some before bedtime to prevent muscle breakdown during sleep. Similar to whey, stick to around 20 grams so your body can digest and use the entire amount.
Try these top casein protein products:
Cytosport Complete Casein
Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein
For more information on Jim White, visit jimwhitefit.com.