Protein & Exercise: Everything you need to know!

Our bodies use protein to build muscles, tendons, organs and skin as well as being used to make enzymes and neurotransmitters that affect how we think and feel.
Whether you’re an endurance athlete, gym goer or just enjoy exercising regularly- it is crucial that you have a solid blueprint on getting your protein intake in check in order to reap its amazing benefits! Here’s what you need to know:
So how much do we need?
Protein intake requirements differ from person to person based on a lot of factors including your activity level, or body shape goals; whether you want to lose fat, gain weight or build muscle mass. For the average individual: Aim for 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your bodyweight. If you are aiming to lose fat, slightly increasing protein intake would be beneficial to support your goal as protein boost your metabolism while helping you feel fuller for longer. If you are aiming to gain muscle mass, aim for 1.6-2.2 grams per kilogram bodyweight. To keep it simple, aim to include one portion of lean, protein-rich food with each meal!
Which is the best time to take protein in my workout schedule?
There have recently been a lot of rumors in the health world regarding nutrient intake and timing. To end this debate once and for all, here is what you need to know. While it may be useful to consume some food after a workout, studies suggest that you don’t necessarily need to do this immediately after walking out the gym doors. What is really important is to ensure that your overall daily protein intake and the nutrients you consume is good enough and fulfilling for your activity levels and goals.
Which is the best type of protein I should eat?
Lean meats like chicken, fish and veal and other animal products, like eggs and dairy, pack a lot of protein and contain ready-to-use building blocks of protein our bodies need. A 100g chicken breast for example contains 28g protein while two eggs contain around 15g.
On the other hand, plant-based proteins like ones found in beans are nutrient rich but incomplete building blocks of protein. If you are following a vegan lifestyle, it’s important that you consume a variety of plant protein-rich sources like grains, beans and legumes throughout the day to make sure you are giving your body what it needs.
Do I have to include protein powders in my diet?
Protein powders can be a convenient & easy way to ensure you are getting in your daily protein intake. It is best suited for people on a tight schedule, on-the-go breakfasts and readily available post-workout meals. Most contain around 20-30g per serving of protein and are great meal replacement options. Your best bets are whey (preferably cold-processed) and vegan protein powders like pea, rice and hemp. Whatever your choice may be, remember that protein powders are still a supplement which means you should use them in addition to including a colorful variety of protein rich foods throughout the day in your diet.
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