What Exactly to Look for in a Protein Supplement
The distinctive giant tubs of protein powder can be found everywhere from the mom and pop corner store around the way, on your favorite shopping website, and even within the airwaves within our televisions as we watch our favorite sports heroes being endorsed by protein supplement companies on commercials—but what’s really in those shakes everyone’s talking about? And while we’re at it, what really is protein, anyhow?
Protein: It’s a macronutrient that is not only helpful, but crucial to building muscle mass and sustaining energy. It can be found in animal products, but it’s also found in plant material such as beans and nuts. Proteins are compiled of essential and non essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are the nine amino acids that your body cannot create on its’ own and must be found in food in order to support human life. These are:
Non-essential Amino Acids are the eleven amino acids that can be found within the body already and are created only on an as-need basis. These are:
Now that we know what protein is actually made of, let’s talk about a little term called BCAAs
BCAAs stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids. BCAAs are literally the very cornerstones of protein as they can take credit for almost half of your muscle mass and are mandatory for any type of muscle growth to even begin to take place.
Well, the BCAAs are responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis, which is the repairing of damaged muscle fibers by creating new ones that are much stronger and better equipped to handle tension that comes with working out. This is a completely normal process that occurs in those who are building muscle, and it begins the very moment your body recognizes there is a damaged muscle fiber. BCAAs are one of the best things to consume because they enable your body to begin this instantaneous repairing process, and without them, your body could enter the catabolic state-also known as the breaking down of muscle tissue- and eventually ends up using your own muscle protein for energy.
You’re versed in the why, so let’s discuss the what
When you’re shopping for a protein supplement, there are a few crucial components that you’ll want to look for.
1.) Whey, Egg, and Milk/Casein Proteins
Whey Protein Hydrolysate/isolate/Concentrate
Whey is a word you’re probably familiarized with, and it’s no surprise why. Whey can be found in most protein supplements on the market right now and increasingly popular among not only protein powder consumers, but with those who are being mindful about their health in general. Whey contains copious amounts of the necessary BCAAs and also absorbs into the body immediately, providing consumers with a burst of those necessary amino acids.
Calcium Caseinate/Micellar Casein
If you’ve been looking into this already, you might be familiar with seeing calcium caseinate or micellar casein on some nutrition labels. The two are slightly different because of their processing, but for the most part are interchangeable. Calcium caseinate/micellar casein is simply a milk protein. It’s an insoluble protein, which means that it’s literally the solid protein parts that come from milk. We learned previously that Whey is a substance that quickly absorbs into our system, but for calcium caseinate/micellar casein, slow and steady surely wins the race. It’s digested much more slowly and provides a slower, constant release of amino acids. Time released proteins are imperative to any workout because it basically means that your muscles are going to be taken care of for a much longer period of time. Last but not least, it also helps with food portion control as it creates a feeling of fullness, helping boost you further towards your fitness goal.
Milk Protein Isolates
It’s easy to see where this type of protein is derived from. It’s got a minimum of 90% protein, and less than 3% of fat. This is one that is quickly released into the bloodstream and has also been found to work best when consumed post-workout or right before bedtime.
Egg White Protein
In addition to its high bio-availability and substantial amounts of vitamin A, B, D, and E, it’s also incredibly low in carbohydrates, cholesterol, and fat, which is also very important.
Keeping your protein intake high keeps you in an anabolic state, which promotes muscle growth and recovery . With PRO7™, you can be sure that you’ll receive all 7 types of the highest quality proteins which will enable you to stay in that anabolic state longer, and recover much faster.
This is essentially the amount of protein and nutrients that you’re receiving within one scoop. For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase a product that only carried, say, 10g of protein per scoop, right? You would definitely want one that is packed as full as possible in each recommended serving size. PRO7™ packs 24g of protein into each serving, completely eliminating any type of concern for this.
Taste is actually one aspect of finding the right type of protein powder for you that you may not think about from the get-go, but its’ actually one of the most important things you’ll want to look for. Once you’ve made sure that you’ve found all of the components listed in this article, you’ll want to be sure that you find something that you actually enjoy drinking. (My personal favorite is the Super Stuff’d Cookie) Initially, you might be able to stomach the flavorless, gritty or off tasting shake from other brands, but by the second or third day, your protein powder with the less than desirable taste might find itself beginning to collect dust and you’ll end up spending more money on yet another supplement with a different taste.
So you see, when embarking on your fitness venture, there really is much more to consider than simply eating right, exercising regularly, and getting any regular protein supplement off the shelf. The goal here is muscle gain and fat loss, and by making sure you’ve checked off each of these key components to look for in a protein supplement, you’ll undoubtedly be able to reach that goal much more safely and quickly. Each piece of information that we’ve explained here has its’ own purpose that’s just as unique as the individual using it, and Stronghold Nutrition has specially created their supplements with exactly that in mind.
Today we are going to start our series of ingredient breakdowns, to familiarize you with each ingredient in our products. Our first ingredient is L- Citrulline Malate. Each ingredient in this product is designed to work in synergy with one another. Let's get started.
L Citrulline Malate
L-Citrulline is amino acid, and is a key intermediate in the urea cycle. It is very helpful in ridding the body of both ammonia and lactic acid. Additionally, it helps to promote the release of nitric oxide (NO). NO plays a key role in vasodialation, which in turn gives you a better pump and increased performance during your workout.
Why use Citrulline Malate instead of just L-Citrulline?
The inclusion of malic acid increases the bio-availability of citrulline, along with many other compounds. The malate anion plays a key role in the citric acid, or Krebs, cycle, which is a series of metabolic reactions in organisms that produce high-energy phosphate compounds (ex. ATP).
With Conquest™ you'll receive a full 6g dose of L-Citrulline-Malate!
Today we will go over the second ingredient in our pre workout, Acetyl L-Carnitine, better known as ALCAR.
Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR)
ALCAR is an acetylated form of L-carnitine. L-carnitine is a derivative of the amino acid, lysine, and is involved in energy metabolism and mitochondrial protection. It is required for mitochondrial beta-oxidation of long-chain fatty acids for energy production. In addition to providing L-carnitine, it provides acetyl groups, which may be used in the formation of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is the chemical that motor neurons of the nervous system release in order to activate muscles!