Most people know that when you’re working out – whether seriously, as an athlete, or just casually, dropping into the gym now and then – that getting in shape and keeping fit is not just about how much cardio you do or how many weights you lift, it’s also about what you put into your body; how you fuel up and with what kind of food.
There are also many people who start with grand fitness plans that quickly come crashing right down and they give up because they weren’t aware of the dietary requirements needed to complement their workout regimens. So, instead of eating properly and in the right amounts, they reward themselves by digging into the pizza at the back of the freezer they’ve had their eye on for a while after a run on the treadmill and lifting a few weights.
Just like anything, working out is all about progress. If you’re not making any gains, it’s tempting to just give up and go back to your unhealthy ways, thinking that fitness and exercise is not for you. One of the most important things you can do when embarking on a workout plan is to look at your protein intake, and what kind of protein you’re consuming, especially if you’re looking to make serious gains.
Protein as the workout building block
Protein is the foundation upon which muscle is made, sustained and repaired. If you’re not getting enough of it, particularly when putting your body under the strain of exercise, you’re not going to make much progress, and you could suffer from injuries. This is why you must increase your protein intake during this time and a popular option is to consume protein powder before, during and after a workout.
You simply mix up your chosen protein powder brand into a shake and take it to the gym with you — no need to worry about having to go to the trouble of making protein-stuffed meals and packing them up. Your protein shake will have high levels of a protein made from whey, casein, soy, hemp, pea and more.
Protein powder has the essential amino acids necessary to maintain your existing muscle mass and help it to grow, and there are choices there for vegetarians and vegans too, with the same kind of high-quality protein as comes from animal sources. Other sources of protein powder coming onto the market include one from water lentils, also known as duckweed, which has the added bonus, for vegans, of having vitamin B12, which is usually hard to find from plants.
Additionally, protein powder contains important fibre, vitamins and minerals and vital trace elements the body needs, but you may not be getting from your usual diet. It’s a complete nutritional pack wrapped up in a bottle you can swig from any time you like, including when you want an additional boost of energy to keep your workouts going.
Losing weight with protein powder
Another advantage of using protein powder is it keeps you fuller for longer due to the protein and fibre content. This means you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy foods that might lead to weight gain. There’s also a growing body of evidence to suggest protein powders can help people to gain muscle, while at the same time losing weight and getting to their desired shape.
And when the workout is done and the body starts to recover, repairing muscle fibres torn while lifting, which is how muscles grow, it needs high levels of good nutrition more than ever. So, when you consume a protein shake after exercise, you’re aiding your body in this process and speeding up your recovery. This allows you to get back to it sooner and with more power than ever.