What happens when you don’t take protein supplements after a workout? How much is too much for you? Many of these questions come up whenever the conversation is having protein for a workout.
Unlike carbohydrates and fat, protein can’t be stored in excess in our bodies for use at a later time. This means that after a workout, little or no protein is left in the body to help in rebuilding tissues. For this reason, many fitness companies work hard to produce supplements of protein for a workout, especially before and after exercises. Depending on what you intend to achieve and the type of exercise you are undertaking, you’ll need adequate intake of protein in your body.
What Happens When You Don’t Take Protein for a Workout?
Well, let’s tackle the main question mentioned above to reduce your curiosity and increase your knowledge on protein and exercises. Your muscle tissues break down whenever you workout at the gym, therefore immediately after workouts, amino acids are sent to the damaged muscles to help in growth and repair. What does this tell you? That if you fail to take any protein immediately after a workout, especially when you’ve just had extreme exercise, your muscles may fail to recover bringing about muscle degradation.
A good recommendation would be to take in roughly 20 grams of protein 30 minutes after your exercise to give your body sufficient nutrients to start the recovery process that will prevent muscle loss. However, don’t take in more than 20 grams of protein because it’s not as beneficial as you would have assumed.
Consequently, if you’re working out with a main aim of losing weight, then probably having a post-workout protein wouldn’t work in your favour.
Just How Much Is Too Much?
To your second most curious question; how much protein do you need to take after a workout? When it comes to giving your body the best nutritional benefits and repairing your damaged muscles, definitely you want to have the best. But just how much do you need? Well, 20 grams will work just fine for your muscles. No need to go beyond 20 grams with the expectation that your damaged muscles will repair more quickly.
Additionally, for the best results, incorporating protein in your meals three or four times every single day would help just as much especially if you keep frequenting the gym for workouts. So avoid consuming huge amounts of protein before and after a workout even if you are involved in extreme exercises because the excess protein is normally excreted as waste or they get stored in the body as fat.
Depending on whether your exercise is for power or muscular endurance, a good recommendation would be to consume roughly between 1.2 grams and 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight every single day.
Eating Before a Workout
It’s also a good idea to take protein just before a workout. This might work very well for you during the workout. Amino acid levels stay in your blood for as long as three hours even after eating though this depends on the size of meal you have.
Take food rich in protein within an hour or two prior to your workout to reap out the benefits of having a protein in your body. Don’t take this as a necessary requirement though; it’s not a must to eat a protein-rich meal before training. Perhaps you don’t have time to eat before the workout, or eating doesn’t work well with your stomach before exercise. However, ensure you eat at least something enriched with protein immediately after the workout.
Sources of protein
It’s important to take your protein from whole foods instead of taking supplements even if you are headed to the gym for a workout.
So where can you get your daily dose of protein? Excellent food sources of protein include nuts, fish, low-fat milk, eggs and cottage cheese. They provide sufficient amino acids required for your body to recover from workouts. Other foods you could opt for are lean beef, chicken and beans.
Other Alternative Sources
In our recent culture, it’s really hard for people to go to the gym without a smoothie of protein supplement. Walk into any gym around you; you’re likely to hear clattering of shaker bottles. There have been a number of misconceptions about the role of protein in the performance of an athlete.
For this reason, most people prefer the quickest ‘whey’ after a workout to get protein; a shaker bottle. This may be an alternative, though it doesn’t replace the balanced meals fully packed with proteins.
Challenging Myths about Protein for a Workout
There are various myths people have concerning protein and working out. Let’s challenge a number of those myths;
Most of you may feel you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet daily. This is however not true. Protein for your body varies depending on your age, size, gender and percentage of fat in your body. You may require roughly 1 gram protein per kilogram of body weight.
Many people also feel that it is necessary to take protein powder for better results. Supplements are just for convenience and they can never out-weigh regular protein foods.
Ideally, protein consumption after a workout is important and needs to be taken in large amounts. As explained earlier, even the average gym-goer doesn’t require high amounts of protein in the body. To be on the safe side, stick to at least 20 grams after workout.