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  • 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!

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