Protein is important for anyone (and not just the pros) who is hitting the gym, playing sports, going for runs or doing any other form of workout. To put it simply, protein is one of the main nutrients that every person needs to maintain a healthy body. It helps to repair any internal or external damage, supports the immune system and contributes to an overall feeling of wellbeing. At a cellular level, proteins are used for just about everything, from transporting messages, carry out the instructions of DNA and defending, preserving and repairing essential life functions.
Mechanism of a Workout
During your workout, you are actively tearing and breaking apart muscle fibers. This is done to help your muscles grow and get stronger, but it can take a serious toll on the body over time. As discussed, protein is good for building up tissues and fibers, making them stronger and increasing elasticity over time. Due to this, eating protein after a workout actually increases the impact of exercise while also helping to repair muscles, maintain them, and push them to grow. Those who are exercising regularly but find they aren’t building any muscle can chalk this up to a low-protein diet. If you want to maximise the benefits of a long or intense workout, you need to get carbs and protein into your system as fast as you could.
Consume Protein 30 Minutes After Exercise
It is advisable to consume protein 30 minutes after exercise for prime muscle recovery. This is when your muscles are best able to receive the fuel they need to recover. It is important to take note that protein doesn’t act alone in feeding your muscles. Your body prefers a combination of carbohydrates and protein in a 3-to-1 ratio for best recovery. Apart from that, protein’s role in exercise recovery is affected by how quickly you can refuel after your workout. Intense exercise puts stress on your body, causing a breakdown in muscles. When you consume protein directly after a workout, it will optimize muscle repair and promote muscle growth. In addition, carbohydrates and protein are the nutritional dream team for workout recovery. Your body’s stored form of energy, called glycogen, can be depleted during exercise. Other than that, having carbohydrates in your recovery snack will replenish the muscle glycogen lost during exercise and restore energy. Nonetheless, finding the right combination of carbohydrates and protein doesn’t need to be a challenging task. Many of the food pairings you eat every day meet your after workout energy needs.
Recommended Protein Drink
Protein drinks can be a quick energy source after a workout. Many of the protein powders have all of the protein you need after your workout in a single scoop. They can also be expensive, however. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, look no further than childhood favourite, chocolate milk. One cup of chocolate milk has the perfect 3-to-1 combination of carbohydrates and protein. Based on our 60-Day Metabolic Tune Up Programme, it is recommended that you drink Quadplex. This drink is affordable and has 4 main ingredients essential for muscle recovery. They are protein, vitamins and minerals, branch chain amino acids for muscle recovery and health, and pre/probiotics. If a protein shake doesn’t fit in with your routine, you can easily get the protein and carbohydrates you need by pairing foods together for a post-workout snack. For example, four simple snack options that provide portable carbohydrates and protein are yoghurt and fruit; peanut butter and wheat crackers; lean meat and cheese roll-ups; and hummus and pita bread.
If you do decide to add protein powder to your recovery routine, be sure to read the nutrition facts and ingredients. Some ingredients added to nutritional supplements can interact with prescription medications. If you are unsure about a supplement or are currently taking prescription medications, consult a physician or health care provider before adding a supplement.
Photo Credits: Legion Athletics, Unsplash