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5 Benefits of Whey Protein to Athletes

Steve Shoup

Athletes undergo rigorous training on a day-to-day basis that is very demanding on their bodies. Muscle recovery is just as important as the training itself to ensure that they do not get injured and can progress so that the athlete can perform optimally. 

The macronutrient that is most important for muscle recovery is protein, and athletes will need a lot of it. Whey protein is an excellent source of protein as it is readily absorbed by the body, easy and convenient to bring to training and is relatively cheap. Indeed, there are multiple ways on how to use whey protein for optimal results.

In this article, we’ll be covering the five benefits athletes can get from consuming whey protein. 

Whey Protein is High in Biological Value 

The biological value (BV) is a measurement that indicates the proportion of protein from a source of food that will be used up by the body. The higher the BV, the more the protein that is readily available for the body. Eggs high BVs at 93.7% making it one of the best sources of unprocessed protein to humans. According to the USDA, whey protein’s BV is 15% higher than eggs! 

Whey Protein Speeds Up Muscle Repair and Recovery

Whey protein powders have been filtered to remove any unnecessary components. That alone allows whey protein to be quickly absorbed by the body and is a great post-workout shake. Helen Kollias of Precision Nutrition mentions that it takes up to 1.5 hours for the protein to reach the absorption stage in the body. She further adds that whey protein absorbs into the body at 8 to 10 grams per hour.

Whey protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids. The amino acids that are most involved in repairing and building muscle are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Out of the three, leucine acts as the trigger for muscle synthesis. Your typical 25g whey protein serving already has 2-2.5g of leucine. That’s half of what you need to trigger muscle growth!

Helps with Fat Loss

If losing those unwanted pounds improves performance for a particular sport, athletes should consider incorporating whey protein into their diet. Protein-rich foods are great in controlling hunger and that includes whey protein. By suppressing their appetites, athletes would naturally consume fewer calories. High-protein diets have also been shown to increase metabolism which leads to more calories burned. 

Over time, with adequate protein supplementation, athletes can lose fat while maintaining or gaining muscle mass.

Improves Immune System

Any sick day is a day wasted for athletes. Since prevention is better than cure, athletes should look for supplements that fortify their immune systems – and that’s where whey protein comes in. According to Life Extension magazine, whey protein significantly boosts antibodies and humoral immune responses when compared to other protein sources such as soy, egg whites, and beef. 

Whey Protein is Convenient

It’s no secret athletes have rigid schedules. The greatest benefit of whey protein is its convenience and versatility. With just one scoop of protein powder, you get almost the same amount of protein in a 100-gram steak, without the prepping, cooking, and cleaning. Bored of the same drink? Use the powder to make pancakes for breakfast or sludge for supper!



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