Are Post-Workout Protein Shakes a MUST for EVERYONE?
Yes. When you eat protein is just as important as how much. After resistance exercise (RE) such as weight training, the body synthesizes proteins for up to 48 hours. During and immediately after RE protein breakdown is increased. In fact, for a brief period, the rate of breakdown exceeds the rate of building. The body actually drops into a catabolic state. However, taking in enough protein during the pre- and post-exercise period can offset catabolism (muscle wasting). Protein consumption after exercise results in a positive protein balance within the muscles (helping muscles rebuild), while the intake of no nutrients can result in a negative muscle balance (muscle loss).
Why is it important to get enough protein?
Our bodies need proteins to produce important molecules in our body – like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. Without an adequate protein intake, our bodies can’t produce these molecules - thus inhibiting proper functioning. Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body, and aids in growth and repair, including muscle growth and repair. Consuming protein can also increase levels of the hormone glucagon, and glucagon can help to control body fat. Protein can also help to liberate free fatty acids from adipose tissue – another way to get fuel for cells and make that body fat do something useful instead of hanging lazily around your midsection! Consuming more protein helps maintain an optimal body composition, a strong immune system, good athletic performance, and a healthy metabolism. It also promotes satiety which consequently help you manage your body weight.
How much protein do you need?
How much protein you need depends on a few factors, but one of the most important is your activity level. Often people only focus on the basic recommendation for protein intake, which is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 g per pound) of body mass in untrained, generally healthy adults. However, this amount is only to prevent protein deficiency. For people doing high intensity training, protein needs might go up to about 1.4-2.0 g/kg (0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass. Our hypothetical 150 lb (68 kg) person would thus need about 95-135 g of protein per day. These suggested protein intakes are necessary for basic protein synthesis (in other words, the creation of new proteins from individual building blocks).
What are Proteins?
Proteins are amino acids – the building blocks of life. There are two main categories of amino acids in the body – essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that the body does not manufacture. Nonessential amino acids are those that the body can usually make for itself; and therefore, do not need to be consumed through diet. Some amino acids are conditionally essential, which means that our bodies cannot always make as much as we need (for example, when we are under stress).
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