Protein is an essential nutrient that serves countless crucial roles in the body. Because of this, proteins are known as the workhorses of the body.
Protein is required for the maintenance and growth of muscle, healthy bones, and a strong immune system. It is also needed to produce important molecules in our body — like hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
Consuming high quality protein throughout the day is vital for optimal health. Certain factors can increase the protein demand in your body, especially exercise.
This is because exercise stimulates the rate at which your muscle protein is recycled.
When you eat protein, you supply your body with the amino acids it needs to repair, maintain, and build muscle. You can maximize post-workout muscle repair and recovery by eating a protein-rich snack.
Muscle tissue is in a constant state of muscle protein breakdown and synthesis. This cycle, known as muscle protein turnover, increases with exercise. Consuming high-quality protein post-workout can help repair, remodel, and build damaged muscle.
You can get the protein you need from whole foods or a protein supplement.
Whole food sources of protein include chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, beans, and tofu.
For various reasons, it’s not always possible to get adequate protein through food alone. A protein supplement is a convenient way to help you meet your daily protein goals in these situations.
Skipping protein post-workout might mean that your muscles don’t get the amino acids needed for proper recovery. But as long as you are eating enough protein throughout the day, missing one meal shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s just best to make it a habit to consume protein within the hour after finishing a workout.
Muscle protein synthesis peaks at some point within 3 hours of completion of the exercise. This will vary from person to person, depending on age, gender, body composition, and intensity of exercise.
To keep things simple, try and eat within 1 hour of exercise completion.
Research suggests that approximately 0.3 grams of protein per kg of body weight can maximize protein synthesis post-workout.
For a person weighing 65 kg, this works out to approximately 20 grams of protein. However, the muscles reach a point of saturation where excess protein does not provide further benefit.
But rather than be converted to fat, excess protein will most likely be broken down into amino acids and used for other physiological needs.
Amino acids can serve as energy, and they can be used to make various important molecules required by the body — including antibodies, blood proteins, hormones, and enzymes. And even though the body is capable of converting protein into fat, this is unlikely to happen.
Protein promotes the repair, maintenance, and growth of muscle tissue. As discussed earlier, muscle protein is in a constant protein turnover cycle. Muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown, and muscle mass is built.
Taking in adequate amounts of high quality dietary protein throughout the day provides the amino acids needed to repair damaged muscle fibers and promote muscle growth.
The ideal post-workout snack contains a healthy blend of carbohydrates and protein. This cherry vanilla shake provides a nutritious balance of protein and carbs, optimal for post-workout muscle recovery.
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- 2 scoops (30 grams) vanilla protein powder
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Simply combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
While protein is essential, it’s important to eat a balance of all three macronutrients — protein, carbs, and fat. Too much protein can be dangerous for people with kidney disease. Always check with your doctor before adding a new supplement to your diet, especially if you have current health conditions.
Consuming high quality protein post-workout is needed to repair and remodel muscle tissue that was damaged during exercise. In addition, it also stimulates the growth of muscle tissue.
It is generally recommended to consume protein in combination with carbs within 1 hour of working out. You can get the protein you need from whole foods or from a protein supplement. Supplementing with protein powder is an easy way to boost your protein intake, especially if you’re limited on time. Planning ahead can help ensure that you are taking in enough protein post exercise to maximize muscle recovery and even treat body aches.