Gaining strength and building muscle is literally an uphill struggle.
On one hand, you’re trying to get the proper nutrition. On the other, you’re trying to do all the necessary workouts to get big and SWOL. In order to get all the gains, you’ll need to be doing both.
But there lies the problem: screwing up one can cancel out the other. You can work out all you want, but you won’t see the gains you’re looking for unless you get your nutrition right.
Specifically, when you’re building muscle, you need a ton of protein. This isn’t always easy to get from food, so that’s why the fitness world has been blessed with whey protein supplements.
Whey protein helps provide your body with the protein it needs in order to gain strength. If you’re trying to gain weight, you simply need it in your routine.
But what are whey protein, whey protein isolate, grass-fed whey protein isolate, and all the others out there? We’ve got the answers to help clear things up and choose the best one for your goals.
Read on to learn more about gaining weight with whey protein.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is a protein found in milk, most frequently in cow’s milk (and sometimes goat’s milk). It’s one of two proteins in milk, with the other being casein.
Milk contains about 20% whey protein (80% casein). To get the powdered supplement you find today, the two proteins are separated. The whey comes out in liquid form and is then processed into a powder through spray-drying.
Once the whey protein turns into a powder, it can be filtered to produce two different varieties: whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. Whey protein isolate is a more concentrated and heavily filtered form; plus, it has very little lactose and can be more easily digestible for those with lactose intolerance.
There are a few different options of whey protein isolate, including undenatured grass-fed whey, cold-processed grass-fed whey, unflavored grass-fed whey, and certified grass-fed whey. You can find other forms, but grass-fed whey protein is the healthiest and most environmentally friendly option.
Whey protein concentrate, on the other hand, is filtered less and contains a higher percentage of lactose as well as other compounds. It also contains fewer grams of actual protein per serving. For your weight gain goals, you’re better off finding a good whey protein isolate.
Whey Protein’s Benefits
Because of its high protein concentration and complete amino acid profile, whey protein has a number of health benefits, especially in the fitness world. Not only does it promote muscle strength and protein synthesis, but it also aids in muscle recovery, too. It helps you build your muscles while you work out and gives you the tools to work out even more.
A good grass-fed whey protein isolate is pretty much the best thing you can give to your muscles after working out. For maximum benefits, have a shake within 20 minutes of completing heavy weight training.
Gaining Weight with Whey Protein
Whey protein is relatively low in calories and carbohydrates, making it a great tool for weight loss. But many people don’t know you can also use it if you’re looking to gain weight or muscle mass.
When we take a quick look at its nutritional profile, it makes sense that you can expect to build muscle with whey protein. Whey protein contains a complete set of all 9 amino acids, which are known as “the building blocks of protein.”
To better understand how whey protein can help your weight gain efforts, let’s take a look at the root causes of weight gain. For starters, you need to be consuming more calories than you burn off in a day.
Now you’re probably thinking “but you said whey protein is LOW in calories!”
You’re right, but that’s why you need to incorporate other weight gain efforts into the equation. You’ll need to make sure you are getting calories in from other sources, too. The best ones to look out for are fatty meats and fish, but you can also eat lower-fat meats and supplement them with a good fat source such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and avocados.
More “Wheys” to Get Gains
If you’re looking to gain weight and muscle mass with your whey protein supplement, you should plan on doing more than just having a shake every day. To perform at your best, you’ll need to approach the situation from multiple angles.
Eat Plenty of Protein and Calories
The more protein you can get into your diet, then the better off you are. This is especially true when you’re trying to gain weight, since protein is the number one thing that helps you build your muscles.
Plus, as mentioned before, weight gain is going to require a calorie surplus. In other words, you need to be eating more than you’re burning off.
Consider Michael Phelps, who eats three fried egg sandwiches, three slices of French toast and three chocolate chip pancakes just for breakfast, PLUS a bowl of grits and a five-egg omelet. Does Michael Phelps skip meals and replace them with whey protein? No, he certainly does not.
Also, how does Gaston get “roughly the size of a barge?” He eats five dozens eggs every day and who knows what else.
Although these are definitely LOFTY goals here, you get the point. Your whey protein will nourish your muscles and help you get gains, but you’ll need to also be eating a sufficient amount of calories, too.
Weight Train Regularly
Don’t expect serious gains if you’re not willing to work for them.
Our bodies are built to adapt to whatever conditions we put them under. In other words, if you were to spend your days hauling heavy bags of concrete, then your body would start building the muscles necessary in order to make it easier. On the other hand, if your muscles aren’t feeling any need to grow, they simply won’t.
The good news is this: you can get those gains without an incredibly strenuous lifestyle or line of work. Through resistance training (such as free weights, lifting machines, etc.), you can start to build those muscles in a controlled environment. Then, once you’ve conquered a certain weight set, you can add more to grow your muscles even bigger.
Get Multiple Servings of Whey Protein
When you’re trying to gain weight by supplementing your diet and exercise with whey protein, feel free to add an extra scoop or two in order to help you reach your goals. This will help you get tons of protein without having to stuff yourself with a Michael Phelps-sized meal.
Regular Whey Vs. Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Not every whey protein powder on the market is created equal. To get the most out of your supplement, you should be looking for a grass-fed whey protein isolate.
Greater Health Benefits
Most standard whey proteins come from factory-farmed cows that are mainly fed corn. In addition to the ethics issues, this poor and unnatural diet leads to an inferior nutritional profile from the milk.
Biologically speaking, cows are meant to be eating a plant-based diet filled with plenty of grass. At optimal nutrition, they produce milk filled with bioactive compounds, which can boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and provide a number of other health benefits.
Such bioactive compounds as beta-lactoglobulin, cysteine, lysozyme, and lactoferrin have all been found in grass-fed milk. In order to maximize the benefits of any whey protein supplement, you should look for The Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein.
No Antibiotic Resistance
Conventional whey proteins often come from cows that are fed tons of antibiotics in order to increase their milk production as well as their size. While this is certainly good for business, it’s terrible for the human body.
When factory farmers feed cows antibiotics, this can lead the cows to develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.” Then, when humans consume the milk (whey), they can ingest these “superbugs” and absorb them into their own system.
A person who has antibiotic-resistant bacteria can become seriously ill. Then, once antibiotics are prescribed, the “superbugs” are resistant to it, leading to a life-threatening infection.
Organic Farming is Better For the Environment
When you’re shopping for a grass-fed whey protein isolate, you should also be considering the source. Look for organic and ethically sourced whey protein for maximum health benefits with minimal impact on the environment.
For example, even some grass-fed cows are kept in confined spaces and not allowed to roam freely. To ensure you’re supporting the best farming practices, you should be looking for organic, grass-fed, and sustainably-farmed whey protein.
It’s the only “whey” we’ll ever see a better world. Okay, that’s the last whey protein pun.
Supplementing with Whey Protein
It’s no wonder that whey protein is so popular in the fitness community: with its high protein content and complete amino acid profile, it’s your best friend for gaining gains. Now that you know more about whey protein and grass-fed whey protein isolate, start incorporating it into your fitness regimen today.
For more health tips, check out our other articles.