Make all your hard work pay off
A high-quality source of protein after your workout can help build muscle strength. For maximum effect, consume protein within two hours of your workout.
Including a good-quality protein is imperative for improving performance, whether in your favourite sport or in your workout at the gym.
According to a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming a food or shake containing high-quality protein during and/or immediately following exercise can help muscles get stronger.
Good-quality post-workout protein can help increase protein synthesis and offset the negative effects of protein breakdown caused by a workout session.
Research shows that protein synthesis lasts for about 48 hours after exercise, so it is important to consume post-workout protein immediately—within two hours after a workout. Outside of this time frame, even by one or two hours, muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis will diminish, thereby reducing the benefits of the workout.
Some of the benefits of adding protein post-workout include
High-quality protein isolates containing high levels of branch chain amino acids are the protein of choice for post-workout use. This is because isolates are more easily absorbed and will help with muscle growth, repair, and energy. Multiple studies suggest that whey protein isolates help boost blood amino acid levels and help to increase lean body mass.
Look for a protein that has a high amount of leucine. Researchers found that when individuals were given double the amount of the amino acid leucine (3.5 g versus 1.87 g), they experienced 33 percent greater muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed a lower-leucine drink.
The amount of protein we need depends heavily on a variety of factors such as our age, our body type, and how active we are. I recommend 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body weight (the total weight of organs, bones, and muscles—all tissues in the body, other than fat, are considered part of lean body mass weight). To find out your lean body weight, have a personal trainer test your body fat percentage.
For people who participate in intense workouts, recommend ingesting 30 g of carbohydrates and 15 to 20 g of protein immediately post-workout.
Vegans should look for proteins that contain all the essential amino acids. Vegan protein formulas with a complete amino acid profile may be your best bet.
Whatever you choose as your go-to post-workout protein source, be sure it’s a high-quality protein. And be sure it’s on hand—or in your gym bag—so you can reap the benefits of all your hard work.