You probably know that Protein is a vital part of your diet, and is a key player in maintaining your energy levels and also in muscle recovery post-exercise – but do you know when to take it and in what dose?
Although the other benefits of protein are endless (increased brain function, improved mood, feel fuller for longer, helps you win the lottery…), this article’s focusing on HOW to use protein to increase recovery and performance.
Protein to set your body up for the day
It’s proven that skipping breakfast is a really bad idea, and also that a good dose of protein first thing makes a huge difference to the way your whole day pans out.
Alertness – the brain relies on amino acids to function and these are delivered by protein, so getting a good dose in the morning helps to get you firing on all cylinders. Satiety – protein keeps the brain satisfied for longer, so that hunger doesn’t start attacking you by mid-morning. Useful whether you’re trying to lose weight, or just have too much to do to let hunger get in the way.
Protein to aid muscle recovery post exercise
Little and often is key. Numerous studies have shown that consuming MORE than 20g of protein in a sitting has negligible extra benefits.*
In brief, these studies suggest that the body has a maximum capacity to use the protein that you’re putting in, so a 20g serving taken immediately after exercise and then another an hour later will serve you better than knocking back one 40g dose.
Protein to improve performance
Again, numerous studies have shown that consuming protein during exercise increases performance, as opposed to carb-based energy sources.**
In these experiments, trained cyclists performed with various different sports drinks, and the time to fatigue was measured. The drinks used were a) a placebo b) a solution with 7.75% carbohydrate load, and c) a solution with an additional 1.94% protein loading. (About 4g of protein in an 8oz serving)
Compared to the placebo effects, solution B saw a 36% increase in performance, whilst solution C saw a 55% increase.
So here are the key points. Eat a protein based breakfast! Mix a ratio of protein in during exercise to help you keep at it for longer, and when you’ve reached the end of your workout/run/cycle, look for a 20g serving that will deliver the best possible recovery aid to your muscles.
FUEL10K was designed to bring you the protein you need in a format that suits your busy lifestyle. The breakfast for breakfast skippers, we have on-the-go options like the Breakfast Drinks, Quark pouches and Porridge Pots as well as more traditionally served protein choices, such as our range of Granolas, Protiflakes and Protibricks.
Thanks for reading – you’ll find FUEL10K in the breakfast aisle at your supermarket, or online here.
*(Tipton KD, Wolfe RR. (2004). Protein and amino acids for athletes. J Sports Sci. 22:65-79; Rasmussen RB, Phillips SM. (2003). Contractile and nutritional regulation of human muscle growth. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 31:127-131.)
**( Ivy JL et al. (2003). Effect of a carbohydrate-protein supplement on endurance performance during exercise of varying intensity. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab. 13:382-395; Saunders MJ et al. (2004). Effects of a carbohydrate-protein beverage on cycling endurance and muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36:1233-1238.)