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best supplements
alistair overeem
protein supplements
caveat emptor
protein whey
amino acids
food options
whole food
digestive system
Best Supplements For MMA Training #1: Protein
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Caveat Emptor

The supplement industry is notorious for its bullshit-weaving capabilities. Truth is, price is not always the best indicator of quality - and the supplement industry is probably one of the best examples of this. Next time you think about forking out cash for a 200 dollar tub of protein, think about what you're paying for.

High quality, no-filler protein with good absorbability, mixability and taste OR a fancy label, a couple of REVOLUTIONARY (read: unnecessary) ingredients and the millions the company spends on marketing?

In this series of articles, we'll explore what supplements to buy and what to look out for when buying supplements for MMA.

Which Type of Protein Is Best For Me?

There are 3 main types of protein supplements available.

1. Mass Gainers

These are basically whey protein mixed with a bunch of nutrientless carbs and a few additional, yet pretty irrelevant extras. Why would you drink those carbs when it's a lot more fun (and cheaper) to buy a pure whey protein powder and eat a pack of Smarties? Do not waste money on Mass Gainers.

If you use them for a post-workout shake, buying pure whey protein and maltodextrin separately is a much cheaper option and just as effective. I get my Malto for $10 a kilo and that's even cheaper than whole food options like honey.

2. Whey Protein

Whey protein is a crucial component for any training regimen. It is one of the most bioavailable forms of protein and is rapidly absorbed by your digestive system. You can see the value of this in a post-training scenario: whey protein is broken down quickly and the resultant amino acids are driven straight to your hungry muscles.

You're likely to come across 3 types of whey protein - concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate - and wonder what the difference is aside from the price tags. Maybe the more expensive it is, the more likely you are going to transform into Alistair Overeem overnight? If only...

First, let's not waste time on hydrolysate. It's expensive and just not worth it.

Next, the difference between isolates (WPI) and concentrate (WPC). Whey is essentially a by-product of cheese production and has to undergo filtration processes to remove fat and lactose. WPC basically has a protein content of around 80% (and therefore a higher fat and lactose content) while WPI is processed even further to obtain a protein content of approximately 92%.

While they're both still excellent choices, I personally prefer WPI since I don't like to consume a lot of lactose in my diet and find it beneficial to minimise fat intake post-workout. You'll find that WPC is a lot cheaper though and might be more economical in the long-run if you don't have problems with a bit more lactose and fat in your shakes.

3. Casein Powder

While casein and whey are both derived from dairy, that's where the similarities end. Casein is the Orange to whey's Apple. The Night to whey's Day. You get the picture.

While whey is absorbed and digested very quickly, casein can take between 6 and 8 hours to completely digest. While supplementing whey helps in protein synthesis (a key aspect of muscle building), supplementing with casein slows protein degradation (muscle catabolism, or more simply, muscle wasting). There are theories that the body goes into a catabolic state during sleep (although Intermittent Fasting supporters refute this claim) and hence consuming casein pre-bed is an excellent way to prevent catabolism and maximise your performance.


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