If you’re an athlete or a regular gym goer, you might be aware of the fact that you need protein to help build and maintain muscle. In fact, the need for protein increases with your level of intensity and duration of workouts. However, there are still conflicting recommendations on when and how much to consume.
It is common for athletes and regular gym goers to supplement their diets with protein supplements. These products have become increasingly popular thanks to the growing interest in fitness and self-care. While the dietary guidelines for individuals vary depending on their age and activity levels, the average dietary recommendation for adults in the United States is between 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
This amount should be spaced out evenly throughout the day. Athletes who engage in intense and regular training should consume a larger portion of the recommended daily allowance. For example, endurance and strength athletes should get 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
The effects of protein supplementation are greater for untrained individuals than for trained ones. Whether this is true or not is unclear. But there are also other factors to consider. Specifically, the need for more protein increases with age. As we age, our muscles naturally lose mass, leading to fat gain. When combined with an inadequate diet, this can lead to the development of chronic diseases.
One of the most effective ways to prevent this from happening is to include protein in your diet. Some of the most common sources of protein are lean meats, dairy products, and legumes. Whole foods, such as cereals, nuts, and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, can also be consumed to provide a well-balanced dietary intake.
When consuming protein, it is important to consume it during both the pre- and post-workout period. Research has shown that the post-workout period can be more beneficial than the pre-workout period for developing muscles. Protein has been found to enhance the recovery process for exercise-related muscle soreness. Another benefit of protein is its ability to help burn calories more efficiently.
Athletes often use branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue after workouts. Additionally, there are reports that these amino acids may help regulate brain neurotransmitter production. Although a number of studies have been conducted, evidence is limited for their benefits.
If you plan to take a protein supplement, make sure to consult your dietitian. This is particularly true if you are planning to consume a high-protein product. Oftentimes, these supplements come with additional components, which can be detrimental to your health. Moreover, some products contain substances that can damage the kidneys.
Depending on your age, exercise level, and other health conditions, you might need more protein than the recommended daily allowance. Similarly, people who are recovering from an acute illness might need more than the recommended daily allowance.
For optimum athletic performance, it is essential to eat a variety of foods. Whole foods, such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, are good sources of protein. Lean proteins such as beef and poultry can also be a good source. You should also include protein in your meals during the day.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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