Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in your body, including building tissue, cells and muscle. Everyone needs protein in their diet, but if you do endurance sports or weight training you’ll need to increase your protein intake, and to factor it into your training routine at specific times to reap its muscle-boosting benefits.
For sporty individuals a daily dose of around 1g of protein per 1kg of body weight is recommended. After exercise, protein is particularly important since muscles need it to recover and grow. A portion of protein (15-25g) is recommended within 30 minutes of exercise, when your muscles are particularly receptive to protein synthesis.
What to eat
Proteins are made up of a collection of 20 amino acids. Of these, eight are classed as ‘essential’ and need to be sourced from food, while the other 12 are classed as ‘non-essential’ and can be produced inside your body. ‘High-quality proteins’ such as eggs and meat offer more muscle-building amino acids than other protein foods, so are considered more valuable sources of protein, particularly if you do lots of exercise.
Like simple and complex carbohydrates, proteins are absorbed at different rates in the body. Whey protein is digested quickly so is a good option just before and after exercise. Casein, the primary protein in milk, releases its amino acids slowly, so is particularly useful in the morning, between meals and at bedtime. Protein shakes and powders contain these proteins and are helpful before and after sports, but you can get the protein you need from natural sources too.
Here are some foods to get your protein fix, Click “Continue Reading” to see them