You might cycle your supplement intake to avoid building up a tolerance, which then prevents the supplements from being as effective as they could be in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Whey protein is a supplement that can help boost your overall protein intake and provide essential amino acids around the time of your workout to promote muscle growth and repair. However, while cycling some supplements makes sense, cycling whey protein is not necessary. Always talk to your doctor before using any supplements.
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About Whey Protein
Whey protein comes from milk that is boiled and has the curds removed. The remaining liquid is strained and dehydrated to create a powder that may be sold as “natural” or flavored. You can mix whey protein into shakes and smoothies, baked goods, pudding, yogurt, cereal or soups.
Benefits for Athletes
For athletes, whey protein offers an easily digestible form of protein with all the amino acids your body needs. It is particularly high in branched-chain amino acids that may help improve your performance and recovery from exercise, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, or ISSN. Whey protein can also enhance immunity due to its high content of a compound called glutathione.
You should try to consume protein around the time of most workouts to help support repair and recovery. Denying your muscles protein may lead to a negative protein balance in which protein breakdown from the exercise is greater than protein synthesis. When you have this negative balance, your muscles cannot grow and may actually have greater trouble repairing for your next workout. The ISSN recommends that athletes get anywhere from 0.63 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, depending on the type of sport and your goals. Some bodybuilders consume more – as much as 1 to 2 grams per pound of bodyweight -- but science does not support the need for such amounts. Whey protein can be part of your daily protein intake. You do not cycle chicken, bison or eggs, and you do not have to cycle whey protein either.
You might cycle the amount of protein you consume daily as a dietary strategy to build more muscle and stimulate protein retention in your body. Over the course of two weeks, for example, you might consume less protein than usual for about five days and then boost protein intake for five days. If you follow this dietary plan, you might cycle off whey protein during your lower protein intake days because you are consuming enough protein through whole foods.