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Research has indicated that combining whey protein and creatine monohydrate may be more effective at building muscle mass, increasing muscular strength and delaying sports-related fatigue than if each supplement were to be used independent of each other.
Bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts and those who adhere to healthy nutritional practices understand that supplementing with whey protein has a profound effect on muscle building, immune function and sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) prevention.
Whey is densely composed of essential and conditionally essential amino acids, facilitates protein synthesis and boosts the immune system.
Whey protein is a milk derivative that has a large quantity of branched-chain amino acids compared to vegetable protein sources such as soy. Branched-chain amino acids are critical in the repair and maintenance of cells and the preservation of muscle tissue.
Most athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts don’t consume enough dietary protein through solid food sources to adequately recover from intense workouts and to build muscle to the desired degree.
Whey protein supplements are typically sold in liquid or powder form and are most commonly consumed as a shake or beverage. Whey protein powder can be added to food such as pancakes, oatmeal and baked goods to enhance the protein content.
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Creatine monohydrate is a dietary supplement that has been used for decades by strength athletes, sports competitors and bodybuilders to increase muscular force and power, increase muscle size and reduce the onset of muscle fatigue during intense physical activity.
Both scientific and anecdotal accounts have confirmed that creatine monohydrate enhances muscular endurance and power output in its users.
Creatine works in the body by increasing intramuscular stores of phosphocreatine and creatine, which increases protein synthesis (muscle building), prevents depletion of adenosine-triphosphate (APT) and helps reduce the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Additionally, supplemental creatine monohydrate causes a phenomenon called intracellular hydration, which means that cells at the muscular level are become super-hydrated with water. This results in a noticeable and measurable increase in muscle size and girth.
Creatine monohydrate is sold in powder, capsule and liquid form and can be added to whey protein powder. The most cost efficient way to buy creatine monohydrate is in flavorless, power form. Typically, 1-5 grams are taken daily, depending upon the desired result.
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Whey and Creatine Synergy
Studies have suggested that using a whey protein and creatine monohydrate supplementation may have a synergistic effect that results in drastic improvements in muscle building, muscular strength and retention of muscle mass than if the supplements were used alone.
It is important to consider that the benefits of combining whey protein and creatine monohydrate supplements should be used in conjunction with an exercise program that includes resistance training.
Resistance training places stress on the muscular system and produces the stimulus necessary for muscle building and strength development to occur.
Brink, W. (April 2009). Optimizing muscle health with whey, creatine, and glutamine. Life Extension Magazine. Date accessed 06 November 2013. www.lef.org/magazine/mag2009/apr2009_Optimizing-Muscle-Health-With-Whey-Creatine-Glutamine_01.htm
Smith SA, Montain SJ, Zientara GP, Fielding RA. Use of phosphocreatine kinetics to determine the influence of creatine on muscle mitochondrial respiration: an in vivo 31P-MRS study of oral creatine ingestion. J Appl Physiol. 2004 Jun;96(6):2288-92.
Brose A, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA. Creatine supplementation enhances isometric strength and body composition improvements following strength exercise training in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 Jan;58(1):11-9.