So if you’re a weight lifter, bodybuilder, or endurance athlete especially but the truth is everyone need enough protein. Getting plenty of protein is essential to build and maintain large muscles. Sources of protein include foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk, milk products, eggs, beans, tofu, and other soy products. Small amounts of protein are also found in whole grains and nuts.
For those times when making a meal is difficult (such as immediately after a workout), protein shakes are an easy alternative.
How exactly does protein promote muscle health and growth? And exactly how much protein do you need for maximum benefit?
Consuming extra protein following an intense workout has been found beneficial. This is because protein works to restore muscle glycogen-the fuel used for exercise, which gets depleted during strenuous exercise. Protein is essential for increased muscle growth, supports muscle repair, and protects muscles from the stress and possible damage caused by vigorous training. To sum it up, protein helps the body recover from intense exercise. So if you’re going to work out, you need protein.
Research is ongoing in this area, but protein supplementation can also be helpful for weight management as well as reduce the risk of infection, heat exhaustion, and muscle soreness.
Each country has different nutrition recommendations. The United States Department of Agriculture’s guidelines for the amount of daily protein is .36 grams of quality, low-fat protein per pound of your body weight (or .75 grams per kilogram of your body weight or 1 gram per pound of muscle mass). This comes to about 45 to 56 grams of protein each day for a healthy adult of average weight. Protein should account for 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calorie intake.
Athletes require more than this, but no more than twice the recommended amount, and endurance athletes require less than strength athletes. How much you need depends on the kind and intensity of your exercise, the type of protein you eat, how carbohydrate-heavy your diet is, and what your energy levels are.
Most people get adequate amounts of protein from their diet. Those who restrict calories during periods of excessive exercise or those who are vegetarian or vegan are most at risk for inadequate protein intake. And obviously, people who are more active need more protein than those less active.
For extended periods of time, high-protein diets may cause health problems, especially for someone with chronic kidney disease. So understanding the amount you should consume and not overdoing it will ensure your muscle and overall good health.
Many athletes choose to forego a meal after working out and instead reach for a protein shake. While supplements aren’t as good as the real thing, they can still be beneficial. Protein shakes contain protein from one or more of the following sources: milk, casein, whey, egg, or soy. What’s the difference in these different protein sources?
Whey protein is found in milk. It is absorbed quickly by the body but is only in your body for a short period. It’s a good choice after an intense workout.
Casein protein is the main protein found in milk. It is slowly absorbed by your body and is therefore in your body for a longer period of time. A casein shake can be used in place of a meal or eaten at bedtime.
Soy protein is plant-based, but is similar to animal protein sources. It is known for containing antioxidants and can also be used in place of a meal.
Regardless of whether you go meal or shake, finding a way to consume protein following your workout will give you the upper hand in muscle and strength gains. So what are you waiting for? Protein power awaits!