Many nutritionists, health professional and sport performance specialist will tell you that protein is essential to see real results from your workout efforts, with an emphasis on the quality of protein; because good quality protein is imperative for improved training performance. Studies would suggest that consuming a high quality protein drink during or immediately following a workout can help muscles grow quicker and stronger in the long run. Why? Because good quality post exercise protein improves protein synthesis and offsets the negative effects of protein breakdown caused by a strenuous workout.
Benefits of Protein
Protein synthesis lasts for about 48 hours after exercise, so it becomes imperative to consume protein immediately after your workout; ideally within 2 hours. Beyond this time frame, even an hour or two outside this window, protein synthesis decreases considerably; reducing the potential benefits of your workout. The benefits of adding a high quality protein drink to your workout include improved recovery, improved immunity, improved usage of fat stores and decreased muscle soreness.
High quality protein containing elevated levels of branched chained amino acids are the ideal choice for post workout protein. This is likely due to the fact that these protein isolates are more easily absorbed and will then facilitate muscle growth, repair and improved energy levels. Multiple studies would suggest that the isolates in whey protein help boost blood amino acid levels and help increase lean muscle mass. When purchasing protein powder, look for a high amount of Leucine; those who consumed leucine experienced 33% greater protein synthesis than those who consume a protein with less amount of leucine.
Adequate Protein Consumption
The next logical question would be, “how much protein should I consume?” Well, the amount depends greatly on a variety of factors including age, body type and activity level. The suggested serving size is 1g of protein for every pound of lean body weight; which is the total of organs, bones and muscles, so all tissues in the body, other than fat. To obtain your lean body mass, consult a personal trainer, they will be able to give you a full body mass index, including lean mass.
For a very long time, vegans have stayed away from protein powders; and, although, they do not consume any meat products and protein powders are animal derived, there are options that accommodate them as well. When purchasing a raw or vegan protein, look for all the essential amino acids, to ensure that you are getting a nutritionally complete product.
Regardless of what you choose as your post-workout protein, ensure that it is of high quality; inferior proteins rob you of the potential benefits of consuming a protein product.
About the Author: Bianca Osbourne is a professionally trained natural foods chef, recipe developer and freelance health writer; she writes about food for health and vitality on her website Vitality Guide For Women. She aims to present health recipes, in a down to earth, approachable manner.