why do we need protein after a workout
High-quality protein provides all the essential amino acids your body is unable to synthesize. Food-based protein sources are preferable to supplements, as they also contribute necessary nutrients such as carbs, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Animal proteins, including meat, fish, poultry and milk products, are rich in high-quality proteins, and you can also get them from mixing plant-based protein foods, which may be lacking one or more amino acid; for example, peanut butter on a whole-wheat bagel or beans with rice. Milk products can be a good choice for post-workout nutrition because they contain a large proportion of branched-chain amino acids. These amino acids are particularly effective at stimulating new muscle synthesis and can help reduce fatigue and enhance muscle fiber recovery.
Thereвs more to losing weight than just working out. And while you should be proud of yourself every time you leave the gym or roll up your yoga mat, the work doesnвt stop as soon as your exercise does.
We hate to break it to you, but if youвre not putting just as much thought into your post-workout eats, you might be wasting your time. So pack on the protein! Thereвs no better way to recover after a sweat sesh and preserve muscle mass, and on top of that, a protein-rich diet can increase both your calorie burn and your satiety. But make sure youвre not ingesting too much or too little. We tapped Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness Nutrition Studios, to tell us just how much protein you need after a workout. When you hit the grocery store with his magic number in mind, donвt forget that all proteins arenвt created equal. Look out for as you shop for your post-pump food. Just ripping open a protein bar or spooning out some Greek yogurt isnвt going to cut it if you want to get cut.
According to White, you need to pile on at least 20 grams of protein after a workout, but youвve got to watch that number carefully because itвs easy to go overboard. Thatвs why White caps optimum protein intake at 30 grams в any more, and your body may start unraveling all the reps you just did, storing the protein as excess fat. Donвt let that scare you away from including protein-rich foods in the rest of your meals; 20-30 grams is just a fraction of. So if youвre ingesting the right amount of protein after exercising, make sure you incorporate other protein-rich foods throughout the rest of your snacks and meals to hit your daily goal. 20-30 grams may sound like a lot, but incorporating that much into your diet is easy в especially compared to the workout you finished right before. There are endless options to get you there, so feel free to switch things up each time you step off the treadmill.
One way to get your protein is in liquid form. You can knock out 8 grams with just one low-fat chocolate milk from Horizon, and if youвve got time to make a protein-rich smoothie, you can whip one up with Aloha chocolate protein powder, peanut butter, and frozen bananas. The powder packs 18 grams of protein alone! When it comes to eating your protein, the numbers will quickly add up if you combine any of these quick and easy choices. A 3-ounce can of StarKist tuna has 16 grams of protein, string cheese ranges from 5-10 grams, and a hard boiled egg is usually 6. Greek yogurt, beef jerky, and granola bars are high in protein as well. Enjoying just one of these snacks with a shake will help you reach that 20-30 range. If youвre overwhelmed by all of the protein powders at the store, donвt worry.
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