One of the most important parts of creating lean muscle tissue is proper nutrition! Yes, lifting can make you stronger, however, the way you treat your muscles and body is essential to making effective progress. Therefore, consuming protein within 30 minutes (“the window of opportunity“) after your lift is necessary to refueling your muscles so they recover faster and allow you to perform well in your next workout. Resistance workouts break down the muscles and it requires amino acids (protein) to repair and build them. Protein also helps build enzymes that allow your body to adapt to endurance sports! Another perk? Protein intake post-workout can help reduce cortisol production- a stress hormone that can break down muscle.
What type of protein should you use?
- Whey Protein- whey protein is the fastest absorbing protein blend and delivers amino acids straight to the blood
stream right after the work out; making it a great option for muscle synthesis! My favorite whey protein is Mint Chocolate Chip by Cellucor because it is extremely smooth and tastes just like mint chocolate chip ice cream when mixed with vanilla unsweetened almond milk. (find at costco or bodybuilding.com) To get the most bang for your buck, try the double chocolate flavor by optimum nutrition on amazon.com for the best deal!
- Casein Protein- casein protein is a slower- digesting protein (it can take up to 7 hours to breakdown) and it provides a constant supply of aminos to the muscle for strength and growth. It provides the highest level of glutamine which is depleted when the body is under stress from a hard workout. Try mixing whey and casein for maximum benefits post workout! Optimum Nutrition has the best deals for this type of protein on amazon.com!
Don’t want to use/buy protein powder? These options below are great as well!
Eggs/Egg Whites- 1 egg has about 7 grams of protein, to cut down the fat use liquid egg whites or 4-5 eggwhites with 1 full egg post workout. Make an omelette out of it with veggies or hard boiled eggs if you’reon the go!
- Greek Yogurt- 12-17 grams of protein in each serving depending on the brand. Add some protein powder for an extra punch of protein or flavor
- Cottage Cheese- 1 cup has 28 grams of protein, opt for the low fat and low sodium kind for optimum benefits
- Lean Beef/Bison- high in iron (good for the bones) and has about 25 grams of protein per 4-5 oz serving
How much protein?
This is a hard question to answer because everyone has different goals. However, if you’re trying to lose weight and become leaner (preserve your muscle with protein to burn more calories!) or if you’re trying to gain muscle (sustain and build more muscle), protein is a very important nutrient for your body. Typically post workout, 20 grams of protein is sufficient men and women is sufficient for maximizing muscle growth in the body.
Why else is protein beneficial?
- Less hungry throughout the day; lower calorie intake
- Better bone density and less risk of osteoporosis
- Better brain function
- Better sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Faster recovery