I'm going to try to write a review of different supplements each Saturday, giving my take on their effectiveness, as well as the generally accepted truth about them. We'll start with the granddaddy of them all, Whey Protein.
Whey protein is the cornerstone of any weightlifter's supplement plan, and I'm no different. The bottom line is that we need protein to build muscle, and supplementing your protein intake goes a long way toward achieving your goals.
Why whey? It digests very quickly, especially in liquid form. Consume a whey protein drink upon waking, and you're helping your body go from a catabolic state to an anabolic state. It helps keep your body muscle-building, rather than muscle-consuming.
Have some whey prior to a workout to keep your body prepared for the muscle breakdown to come, and after your workout to aid in the muscle repair process.
I can't stress enough how important the post-workout whey protein is! It will help stop muscle breakdown, and start the repair process. That means less soreness, faster recovery, and a stronger you.
If I had to get rid of all supplements except for one, whey protein is the one I'd keep.
But it's never that simple, is it? There are so many different whey protein products out there, it's virtually impossible to try them all. Many have all sorts of added ingredients intended to improve your fitness. My recommendation to the newbie: Start with pure whey protein. There are lots of products in this category, and they're all similar. Most contain 23-26 grams of protein per scoop (we're talking powdered mix here).
My personal preference is one scoop upon waking, one pre-workout, and one post-workout. I get about 75 grams of extremely fast digesting protein into my system at critical parts of the day.
Don't stop learning here. There are more factors involved...too many to get into here. Maybe in the future, but for today, I'll leave it at this: Eat (and drink) your protein!