Some people feel like they’ve tried everything in order to build muscle mass, but insist none of it works! Are you one of these people? Well if you haven’t tried using casein protein powder, that might be your answer. Whey protein is by far the most popular shake-supplement, but casein definitely has its benefits.
Whereas whey protein is derived from a by-product of cheese, casein is obtained through milk sources (usually milk from mammals). In fact the majority of the protein in milk is made up from casein.
The key difference between the two is the way in which they are digested. Whey is ideal for pre-workout because it gets to work straight away and is available to your muscles almost immediately. Casein differs because it clots into the stomach forming a sort of gel – this gel is the protein. Due to its viscous nature it is digested far more slowly and enters your blood at a much lower rate – meaning it’s less effective as a pre-workout.
If you’re not taking it just before you hit the gym, you might be wondering when the best time to take casein is. Well there are a whole host of surveys and studies out there, but what we do know is that casein can take up to 6 or 7 hours to fully digest. Now what else do you do every day (or more appropriately night) for a similar amount of time to that?
The bright ones among you will see what I’m getting at – sleep. So if you take casein just before you go to bed then it will extend the release of amino acids throughout the night. That’s what you want, and why casein is most commonly taken within an hour before sleep.
If you’re not providing your body with amino acids, then, as you may well know, your body can break down muscle to access the nutrients it needs. This is important to remember because when you think about it, you’re not getting any nutrients while you’re sleeping! This makes casein the perfect supplement because it prevents this muscle breakdown by keeping your levels of amino acids at an ideal level. Unfortunately whey protein doesn’t have the same effect because it enters the bloodstream at a much faster rate.
A common dilemma is: ‘which one should I take?’. Well the good news is it doesn’t have to be one or the other. They both offer different benefits. What you’re after is a body that behaves anabolically. Whey protein allows this to happen immediately, casein doesn’t. On the other hand, casein allows you to maintain the anabolic effects for a lot longer than whey protein will. A combination of the two can maximise results.
It’s easy to see why whey protein is so more popular – it’s an immediate response, and as humans we aren’t fond of patiently sitting around and waiting for things to happen. If we can’t see or feel the effect, often we don’t believe that it’s actually taking place.
It seems that is just one of those times when we need to ignore our natural human instinct. The fact is combining the use of both whey and casein will achieve the best results. So if it isn’t part of your plan at the moment – why not give it a go? Keep using whey as your pre-workout, but try adding casein either following your exercise or around 30 minutes before you sleep. You might just get the results you’ve been hoping for!