Know Your Way Around The Whey: Get The Most Out Of Your Protein

Jake Thorp
Jake is a competitive crossfit athlete and 85 kg weightlifter based out of Albany, NY. He is the in-house weightlifting coach at Crossfit Beyond as well as a crossfit L1 trainer there. He has recently graduated from the College of Saint Rose and has a bachelor's of Science in Molecular biology. He has been involved with the fitness industry for over five years, between personal training, corporate fitness, crossfit, and weightlifting. During his free time he trains and competes throughout the northeast region, and enjoys experiencing the great outdoors as often as possible. Find him on Instagram @hammerofthorp for movement demos and training tips.

In our ab-obsessed, aesthetics-driven culture, we are constantly looking for the next powder or pill that will give us the edge in the gym to keep us sexy, or perhaps just provide us a quick fix for our nutritional gaps.

GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Supplement Warehouse,, hell even CVS is hopping on the workout supplement bandwagon. People are so quick to pull out their credit card because this formula will “up your bench in two weeks” or “get you shredded in half the time,” but do you really know what these supplements are doing? How they are affecting your body? Do you know why you’re even buying it?

It’s certainly in your best interest to have an idea of what these supplements are doing and what they are used for. The more you know, the more you will get out of it, and you won’t be pissing away your money. This week, we will be discussing:


Look inside any high school or college athlete’s cupboard and you will likely see an obnoxiously big tub of whey protein. Why? It serves a great purpose in muscle gains, maintaining a lean body mass, and repairing damaged muscles.

  1. Concentrate

    Whey concentrate is the most basic structure of whey protein that is formed when it’s processed from milk. Whey concentrate is like your well liquor. It will do the trick, but it hasn’t gone through as fine of a process, and it still has decent levels of fat and carbohydrates. It’s usually the most affordable form of whey protein.

  2.  Isolate

    Whey protein “isolate” is, in the simplest of terms, protein from milk isolated from all other components of milk into a fine powder that is easily dissolved in water (or whatever your solvent of choice may be for your protein shake).

  3. Hydrolyzed

    Hydrolyzed whey is still whey protein isolated from the other components of milk, however it is further broken down into its free-form amino acids. This is what they use for baby formula, and it’s an excellent choice for people who have sensitivities or are allergic to dairy. It’s easy to metabolize, so though it may come at a higher cost, it’s a very effective form of whey.

Whey protein shakes are a very convenient way of getting easily digestible protein through our gut and into our bloodstream for muscle growth and repair at any time of the day. Many people, especially if they are training on a regular basis, do not get enough protein throughout the day from eating foods alone, so whey protein is an excellent, if not one of the best, supplements to have on hand to satisfy our nutritional needs.

Many people routinely drink it immediately after their workout to take advantage of that “anabolic window,” but don’t be afraid to have it any time of the day.

Pressed for time in the morning and can’t make breakfast? Have a shake. Starving to death before and during your workout? Sip on a shake. Cravings making you feel some type of way late at night? Make a shake. It’s safe and will benefit your training and recovery.

Which form of whey do you find most useful? Comment below!