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Tag Archives: protein powder

  • Super Moist Banana Protein Muffins

    This Super Moist Banana Protein Muffins recipe is very easy and tasty. This recipe calls for BSN Lean Dessert Protein Powder (Banana Nut Bread flavour), it doesn't only add flavour but an extra load of protein as well.
  • Protein Powder and Toning - Will Protein Supplements Help Tone?

    Traditionally, protein powders were marketed to bodybuilders seeking to gain significant amounts of muscle mass. Although protein powders are certainly very effective in accomplishing this goal, can protein powders also be effective in helping you to tone up?

    Many men and women alike wish to tone up without adding "bulk". Before we get into how protein powders can (or can not) help you to accomplish this goal, let's actually define what the goal is.

    What is toning?

    Toning is a term synonymous with sculpting, defining and shaping. Although we all understand what the end result of toning is, the processes behind accomplishing this goal is often not completely understood. Toning is effectively the combination of two processes:

    1. Fat loss
    2. Muscle Gain

    The degree to which these two processes are required depend on the individual. For example, someone who is naturally strong yet quite overweight may need more fat loss than muscle gain. Meanwhile someone who is very skinny may require minimal fat loss and more focus on muscle development.

    Because the processes required to accomplish a toned physique will vary greatly between people, the actual training and nutritional approach will vary greatly too. The focus on resistance training, cardiovascular training and diet will vary greatly.

    Protein Powders and Toning

    Now that we've defined exactly what toning is, let's consider how protein powders come into the equation.

    Protein powders are simply the protein extracted from foods and made into a powdered form. They help to boost your protein intake, which is particularly useful if you are unable to consume adequate protein through dietary methods.

    Further, protein powders have the unique ability to be absorbed extremely quickly by the body relative to food. This makes them particularly useful to aid in recovery after a high intensity workout.

    If your toning goal is more muscle gain dependant (we're not talking bulk though), protein powders are almost a necessity.

    Immediately before and after your weight training session, consuming a serve of high quality protein powder can provide your body with the essential nutrients required to develop muscle mass. Without consuming a protein shake, you will not obtain optimal muscle development results.

    During the day time, you will have a heightened requirement for protein due to the focus on muscle development. A protein shake in the morning is very important (having gone all night without eating). For this reason, a slow absorbing protein in the night time is also a good idea to deliver a steady protein source into your body.

    During the day, if you are unable to obtain adequate protein from food alone (which is often the case), it is a good idea to be consuming a protein shake to bump up your protein intake.

    Don't be concerned that you're going to bulk up (whether you are male or female). Muscle growth occurs very, very slowly. It can take years to gain significant bulk for a male and even longer for females due to differing hormone levels. Remember, protein is only an extract from food - you're simply consuming a higher quality protein source, since it has been processed in a way to optimize absorption.

    If your toning goal is more fat loss dependant, protein powders can be very effective in a number of manners.

    Following an intense training workout (whether cardio or weights), you will require a high quality protein source to facilitate recovery. Without recovering effectively, your body will secrete stress hormones as a protective mechanism which can actually inhibit fat loss.

    Also, protein powders can be a very effective tool during the day to utilize as a convenient low calorie meal. One scoop of protein powder is generally about 100 calories, so this can help you keep your calorie intake down and thus facilitate weight loss.

    Protein powders, when used correctly, can have a profound impact on your toning goals. It's important to be smart about your protein powder intake so you obtain optimal results. You may wish to speak to your personal trainer to help advise you more specifically.

    If however you've made the decision and are now looking to purchase a protein powder, look for a whey based protein powder. Whey protein powders are of the highest quality. Here are some recommendations from our store:

    Toning geared toward muscle development:

    Before/After workout protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey

    Breakfast: Optimum 100% Whey

    During the day: Optimum 100% Whey

    Before bed: Optimum Casein

    Toning geared toward fat loss:

    Before/after workout protein powder: BodyScience Hydroxyburn Pro

    During the day: Dymatize Elite Gourmet

  • Which Protein Powder is Best for Bulking Up and Gaining Muscle?

    So you've decided to go ahead and purchase a protein powder to enhance your results in the gym. Great! But what exactly is the best protein powder to gain muscle and bulk up?

    The more involved you become in the bodybuilding industry, the more you realise that there is never one simple answer. The question of the best bulking protein can be answered in so many ways simply because there is no "best" protein powder for everyone. Having said that, there are great quality protein powders and there are poor quality protein powders. But it's not just a question on the quality of the powder - it also comes down to how you're actually going to use the protein supplement in the first place.

    As you're probably aware, there are a vast array of protein powders with a multitude of different ingredients contained within them. For example, there are protein powders that contain:

    • Pure whey protein isolate
    • A mixture of whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate
    • Soy based proteins
    • Egg based proteins
    • Other animal and plant based proteins
    • Blends (comprised of a mixture of various protein sources)
    • Added carbohydrates
    • Added fats
    • Added enzymes to aid digestion
    • Unique "proprietary blends"
    • ...and the list goes on

    Personally I will always advise my clients to stick with the basics for a number of reasons, including three very important ones:

    1. The basics are what have been trialled in unbiased, peer reviewed and respected scientific studies
    2. The basics are often the best value for money
    3. The basics have solid evidence to back their effectiveness

    Coming back to the "best" protein powder for bulking up, we need to consider when this protein powder is actually going to be used.

    Before and After Your Workout

    Probably the most important time to consume a protein powder is before and after a weight training session. During this time, you require a high quality, fast absorbing protein powder. This ensures that high quality proteins are readily absorbed and available in your body to begin the recovery process immediately upon the completion of your training session.

    If you're after the best, then go no further than a hydrolysed whey protein isolate. The hydrolisation process ensures that the proteins are absorbed quickly. Whey protein is also the best quality protein powder available on the market having a very high biological value.

    The Optimum Hydrowhey is a perfect example of a high quality hydrolysed whey protein isolate (WPI) powder. Be sure to supplement with a high GI carbohydrate (such as dextrose) to enhance protein uptake! Also have this in water as milk will slow down it's absorption!

    First Thing in the Morning

    When you first awake in the morning, you have effectively gone a very long time without obtaining any good quality protein (or other macronutrients for that matter). Personally I feel it unnecessary to supplement with a hydrolysed WPI as you don't require "super-fast" absorption having been in a rested state for a prolonged period of time. However, you do require a high quality powder, so a whey protein based powder would be ideal. Opt for a WPI/WPC mix such as the very popular Optimum Whey Gold Standard. This is a more cost effective protein than the Hydrowhey, but still of super-high quality. Consuming this in milk is fine.

    Last Thing at Night

    If you want to enhance muscle synthesis and minimise catabolism during the night time when you are not eating, you're best off taking a slow absorbing protein. Casein protein takes around 7 hours to absorb, so you're effectively consuming a protein that will gradually be digested into your body. This is important to avoid excess muscle breakdown as a consequence of being in a starved state at night time. A very good quality casein protein is the Optimum Casein. Have this in milk.

    During the Day

    Building muscle requires a heightened number of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It can be difficult to source sufficient protein from food alone, so sometimes you do require the assistance of protein shakes throughout the day to obtain adequate levels. Dymatize Nutrition have just released a brand new protein that does exactly this. It is a blend of high quality proteins that provides a nice mix of faster and more sustained release proteins. The product is called Dymatize Elite Fusion 7.

    I hope this post has helped shed some light on the confusing area of protein powders! Be sure to read some of the other posts that go into greater detail on whey proteins and supplementation in general!

  • Natural Whey Protein Powder Comparison - Dymatize vs Optimum

    If you are looking for a whey protein powder without the artificial sweeteners, then you've probably come across Australia's two major natural products:

    Both of these products are big sellers within our supplement store and I have had the pleasure of trying them both. As a result, I felt it appropriate to compose a comparison article on the two very similar products.

    Both Optimum and Dymatize are big (BIG) international companies renowned for high quality products. Although both products may seem similar at first glance being free from artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium, the two products cater to two very different markets within the health and fitness industry.

    Let's take a closer look at how each product performs in various categories!

    Natural Protein Powder Price

    Why not begin with product price? Optimum is a more expensive brand internationally. They have a very good reputation for high quality products and their natural whey protein powder is no exception. On the other hand, whilst Dymatize also has products of an exceptionally high standard, they cater for customers at a lower price point. Consequently, the Dymatize Natural Elite Whey is about $13 cheaper than the Optimum Natural Whey in our supplement store at the time of writing.

    If you have consumed a variety of protein powders, you'll be well aware that price isn't everything. Price is not always a reliable indicator of how well the product suits you and your goals.

    The Size of the Natural Whey Tubs

    Although these tubs are typically marketed as 5lbs tubs, supplement companies will often adjust the tub volume slightly to attract more business. This is the case here as the Optimum Natural Whey is 5.11lbs (2,324g), being 2.5% larger than the Dymatize Natural Whey at 5lbs (2,268g). Admittedly, not a significant difference as the cost per gram equals 0.0387 and 0.0338 cents/gram respectively. Optimum is still more expensive gram for gram.

    Moving onto serving sizes, the Optimum Natural Protein contains 74 serves (31.4g each) and the Dymatize Natural Protein contains 68 serves (33.35g each). This equates to $1.22 and $1.13 per serve respectively. Again, Dymatize being cheaper in this regard.

    The Nutritional Composition of Each Natural Protein Powder

    Let's look at each individually, starting with the Optimum Natural Whey:

    • Serving size: 31.4g
    • Energy: 130 cal
    • Fat: 1.5g
    • Carbohydrate: 5g
    • Protein: 24g

    And the Dymatize Natural Whey:

    • Serving size: 33.35g
    • Energy: 125 cal
    • Fat: 2g
    • Carbohydrate: 4g
    • Protein: 24g

    Let's manipulate the Optimum Natural Whey Serving size to 33.35 so we can compare these figures head to head:

    • Serving size: 33.35g
    • Energy: 138 cal
    • Fat: 1.6g
    • Carbohydrate: 5.3g
    • Protein: 25.5g

    Based on this data we can conclude that:

    1. The Optimum has significantly more calories based on weight
    2. The Dymatize is slightly higher in fat
    3. The Optimum is higher in carbohydrate
    4. The Optimum is higher in protein

    If we consider current pricing, the Optimum equates to 5.1c/gram of protein, while the Dymatize Natural Whey comes to 4.7c/gram of protein.

    The reason why the Optimum Natural Whey contains more carbohydrate is because it contains both fructose (fruit sugar) and stevia (a natural sweetener). Meanwhile the Dymatize Whey contains no sugar and stevia as the sweetener.

    Both protein powders contain digestive enzymes including Lactase.

    The proteins contained within each product are similar in nature:

    • Optimum Natural Whey contains (in order) whey protein isolate (both cross flow ultra filtration and ion-exchange), cross flow ultra filtration whey protein concentrate, whey peptides
    • Dymatize Natural Elite Whey contains (in order) ion-exchange whey protein isolates, cross flow ultra filtration whey protein concentrate, whey peptides

    Ion-exchange proteins can have a lower bio-availability as compared to other whey proteins. Consequently they are generally regarded as less desirable proteins.

    How the Natural Protein Powders Taste & Mix

    When I first tried natural protein powders, I wasn't sure what to expect. Actually, I was expecting a bitter and somewhat unpleasant taste. Well, I was very surprised upon trying both of these products.

    The Dymatize Natural Elite Whey was the first natural protein powder that I had ever tasted. Initially, it tasted quite different due to the presence of stevia (of which I had never knowingly tasted before). While it is sweet, it isn't quite like sugar and has a distinct taste to it. Initially it was nice and then the taste grew on me. My favourite of the three flavours (chocolate, vanilla, berry) would have to be the chocolate.

    Meanwhile the Optimum Natural Whey did not take any time to become accustomed to. The first taste of this product and I was hooked! It tastes fantastic. The reason why is because they have utilised fructose as a sweetening agent which replaces the more distinct stevia taste that you obtain with the Dymatize product. I was particularly impressed with the vanilla in the Optimum Natural Whey range, it is a particularly good flavour.

    Both brands mixed into milk and water exceptionally well using a spoon and shaker bottle. The Dymatize tends to mix better than the Optimum.

    Conclusion of the Natural Proteins

    There is no doubt in my mind that both of these products are excellent. As mentioned within the introduction, both products do have their place in the market. Here are my conclusions as to the benefits of both products:

    Optimum 100% Natural Whey Protein Powder Benefits:

    • More better quality whey protein isolates (as not all WPI's are ion-exchange derived)
    • Better taste

    Dymatize Elite Natural Whey Protein Powder Benefits:

    • More cost effective
    • No fructose sugar added
    • Mixes more easily

    If you are considering purchasing either of these exceptional products, please be sure to visit our supplement store where we offer them for the best value within Australia! The links to each product are below:

  • Drinking a Protein Shake After a Cardio Workout

    It is very common to question whether or not you should consume a protein shake after a cardio workout. Protein shakes are typically associated with a post-weights workout drink to enhance muscle growth. But what about a cardio session?

    Rather than dealing with whether or not you should have a protein shake after your cardio workout, let's actually consider what a protein shake is. A typical post-workout protein shake (whey based protein powder - for example, whey protein concentrate and/or isolate), if highly refined source of dietary protein extracted from cows milk. The benefits include:

    1. A higher quality source of protein
    2. A purer source of protein
    3. A faster absorbing source of protein

    Whilst it is common to assume that a protein shake is necessarily designed to build muscle (after all, protein shakes and bodybuilders tend to go hand-in-hand), you may be missing out on many benefits by not consuming a protein shake because of this assumption. These high quality, fast absorbing proteins are highly effective in:

    1. Boosting the immune system
    2. Enhancing recovery
    3. Enhancing your fitness
    4. Enhancing fat oxidation (or fat breakdown)
    5. Obviously, enhancing muscle development

    Of course, your training needs to be specific to your goals - a protein shake will not aid in you accomplishing your goals if your training is not appropriate.

    Following an intense bout of cardiovascular exercise, your body will be in a state of recovery. A protein shake will encourage the recovery process by providing your body with the appropriate nutrients needed to repair damaged cells. A faster recovery will encourage a greater fitness improvement response. It will also facilitate fat loss and minimise muscular breakdown after your workout.

    Of course, protein powder in isolation may not have the greatest benefit in a post-workout shake (be it cardio or weights). By combining this with a fast-acting carbohydrate source, insulin release is encouraged which enhances protein uptake into cells. Examples could be dextrose or waxy maize (including BSN Volumaize).

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