Protein: Muscle Nectar
Proteins are long complex molecules that aid in the reparation of muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is useful for transporting fluids, producing hormones and enzymes as well as helping with immune responses. Protein is essential for post workout recovery. However there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
On average, the human body can only absorb 20-25 g of protein in one sitting. Any excess will be converted into excess calories and then fat, counter productive to muscle gain.
|Function||Reparation of muscles, tendons and ligaments|
|Daily Intake||10-35% of total calories|
|Major Sources||meat, eggs, fish and dairy|
How Much Protein Should We Consume?
One way of monitoring your protein intake is your daily intake of protein should be between 10-35% of total calories.
Another method would be 0.8 g per kg of body weight. Athletes however should increase their intake to 1.2-1.7 g per kg.
Why athletes need more protein
- Athletes have more lean muscle mass requiring more protein
- Athletes lose a small amount of protein in their urine, non-athletes do not
- Athletes burn a small amount of protein during physical activity due to higher level of intensity
- Athletes require more protein post workout for muscle recovery
When should we consume protein?
Protein is used during muscle recovery. Therefore, the best time to give it to your body is after physical training. It is not beneficial to consume protein prior to your workout since it is not a good source of energy. *See page on Carbohydrates.
Proteins are very complex molecules and therefore take much longer to be absorbed. This means that once you have finished your workout, you want to get your protein as fast as possible before your body goes into recovery mode (generally speaking you have a 1 hour window post workout to consume appropriate amount of protein. i.e. 20-25 g on average).
Where do we get our protein?
The best sources of protein are meat, eggs, fish and dairy since they contain all nine essential amino acids required to form a complete protein chain. Alternative sources of protein such as nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains do not contain all nine amino acids and therefore contain incomplete proteins. These sources must be properly combined in order to attain sufficient protein intake.
Protein does contain calories (4 cal/g) however is not an efficient use of energy. The body will only resort to protein as a source of energy if there is insufficient carbohydrates during high intensity exercise. Generally speaking, high intensity exercise is for the training of fast twitch muscles for strength and power. Burning protein while training is counter-productive. *See page on Carbohydrates under Nutrition