The Importance of Protein
What does protein actually do and why is it important to exercise? This is a question that some people ask when they’re scrolling through Instagram and see a bunch of fitness bloggers promoting different types of protein powders, bars and shakes. We’re here to help and explain what protein does for your body during exercise, and how it can take your workout to the next level!
It helps your muscles recover
If you’ve absolutely smashed yourself at the gym, you’re going to be sore the next day. Unfortunately, that’s just a fact of life!
A function of protein is that it helps to repair the tissue that you’ve damaged during your workout, primarily muscle tissue. Consuming protein immediately after you’ve exercised can help to reduce the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness the next day, especially if you’ve been doing intense strength or heavy endurance training. Although the amount of dietary protein needed for recovery can change based on boy weight and type of training, the evidence that protein aids muscle recovery is conclusive, so eat up!
It helps to build muscleNot only responsible for recovery, protein also helps to build muscle. If you’re undertaking an intense strength training program then you should aim to have between 1.4-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight in a day, so an 80kg individual should be aiming for 160g of protein a day to maximise gains.
Hard work is obviously the main reason that your muscles are growing, but consuming adequate amounts of protein can help to really get the most out of your sessions
It can be used as an energy source
This is only in extreme circumstances, but if your carbohydrate and fat stores have been depleted then your body uses protein as an energy source. Since your body can’t store protein like it can store carbs and fat, when protein is being used as the primary energy source it breaks down muscle to do so. This only really happens in endurance athletes, but it’s still important to note as it plays an important function and shows that it’s important to have enough protein in your diet
How to get your protein
We’ve established that protein is important for building, repairing and maintaining muscle mass, but how do you actually get enough protein into your system?
You could go for a protein shake or supplement if you’re concerned about how much protein is in your diet, or you could just change your diet.
Both are good options and depending on your lifestyle one clearly might be right for you. If you want to include more protein in your diet you should load up on foods like eggs, chicken, oats, quinoa, tuna and so much more! There is so much food out there that is absolutely loaded with protein, so it shouldn’t be too tough to shoehorn more of it into your diet!
Hopefully now you have some indication of how important protein can be if you’re doing exercise, so go and get a shake or eat some chicken to get your daily intake!