What you need to know about Protein and Working Out
By Mark Surdut APD AN
When an active guy thinks Nutrition, I bet he is thinking Protein: “Am I having enough?” “How much is too much?” Do I have to skull a shake, between leaving work and hitting the gym, or after?”
The subject of protein and the gym raises many questions.
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Introduction to Protein:
Protein foods such as meat, eggs, dairy, tofu, to just name a few sources, is one of the macros (macronutrients) and along with carbohydrates and fat, form the foundation of a human’s food energy fuel supply.
Protein comes in many different forms and includes powders and liquid forms too, such as protein shakes. A recent addition to the commercial protein market includes ready to eat real food protein “bites” – a pack comprising a portion of, for example, small blocks of hard cheese, meat chunks and nuts. Many nutrients including vitamins, minerals and essential oils can be taken in capsule form. Not protein.
Protein is made of the building blocks called amino acids. Some of these are referred to as essential, which means you must eat them, your body cannot manufacture them itself. Most people need around 50-60g of protein a day, but in our typical Western Australiana diet, we may ingest more than double this. More protein is needed in stressful situations such as following physical injury, where the body needs to recover.
Serious exercise demands more protein than is required by an inactive couch potato
The most important answer to your question about protein is a question!
What are you aiming to achieve? Weight gain/muscle gain (hypertrophy), weight loss, fitness, improved performance…
Basically, if you’re aiming to stay fit and maintain weight or drop a little fat, you can likely maintain your normal protein load. However, as a rule, protein requirements are increased by exercise. Furthermore, if you’re aiming to go hulk-level, bulk up or get much stronger, you may need to ensure you are getting in enough protein, around 1.5 grams per kg bodyweight (and perhaps as high as 2 grams per kg body weight). One particular amino acid, Leucine, plays a critical role in stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS).
Leucine is found in high levels in meat and dairy protein sources. It is the whey protein component of dairy that is particularly high in Leucine. The Healthy Man Meal Replacementcontains whey protein as a primary ingredient. Whey protein is also quick for the body to digest, allowing for good MPS action.
We once thought that vegan sources of protein were very inferior to animal sources. That does not seem to be the case. Eating a varied diet, including a variety of animal and/or vegetable sources of protein in adequate quantities, is what counts. Tofu, or soy protein as an example, remains a great source of protein, and requires a lot less chewing too! However, some blokes find a chunk of chicken breast far more filling. Others prefer protein in the form of a chewy bar. So as always, different strokes for different blokes!
Are you lifting?
Resistance training (RT) which involves the kind of training you would be doing to build muscle (MPS), requires more protein to help combat the breaking down of muscle that occurs too. Soon after an RT workout, eating around 20-30g of protein maximises the response of MPS. However, importantly, the best responses have been reported from spreading protein through a day across a few episodes (or meals).
20-30 grams of protein would be found in half a chicken breast, a small can of tuna or a small piece of steak. Many protein shakes and meal replacements house similar levels of protein.
Enjoy a varied diet. Include a variety of protein sources in your diet, across the day. Protein powders, meal replacement shakes, protein bars, meals including good sources of protein like meats, fish, eggs, tofu and more, are all sensible options. Consider lifting your protein intake if you’re aiming at lifting your weight (or weights).
Eating (or drinking) protein alone will not get your body to where you want it to be unless you apply equal focus to the type of exercise you do, and exercise consistently. Keep your mind healthy too with plenty of exercise, plenty of quality sleep, maintain strong relationships with your mates, and calling out when you’re not ok.
It’s the perfect low-calorie meal replacement for busy blokes wanting to boost weight loss and improve overall health. It’s full of whey and soy protein which means it’ll leave you feeling full and satisfied and keep you going till your next meal.