When people hear ‘protein’ and ‘exercise’ in the same sentence, they’re most likely to conjure up images of bodybuilders using protein bars and milkshakes in order to maximise their workouts. Protein is important for anyone who is hitting the gym, playing sports, going for runs or doing any other form of exercise.
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.
Nutrition and Health
It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, protein is essential for exercise. Anyone undertaking any kind of exercise routine is definitely going to need more protein than someone who doesn’t. This is because when you exercise, you are effectively tearing and breaking muscle fibres apart, which then need to be repaired by the body, requiring protein to do so.
So where do people get protein from? From a dietary point of view, day to day protein is gained from eating food such as beans, soy protein products, nuts, eggs , chicken & other such foods. If you are exercising, you can supplement your normal intake of protein with protein bars & shakes although I always advise to get all / mots of it from food.
Repair, Maintain, Grow
Protein is especially important to consume after a workout as during the exercise you are effectively breaking your muscles down. That is why it’s a common sight to see people at the gym eating protein bars or drinking shakes when they have finished their routine to help increase the impact of their exercise.
Research varies on how much you need to consume from 1 – 2 grams per pound of bodyweight. I normally advise around 1 – 1.5 grams per pound of body weight as a good guide line.
Many beginners may struggle to eat as much protein required when first working out as they are normally use to over consuming carbohydrates but once you start to change the ratios around & consume more protein & less carbohydrates , you will soon discover you will feel better , feel less lethargic, get leaner & recover faster from exercise.