Oh man, where do I start with this one?
Protein supplements can either by bought already made up in a drinkable/edible form and can cost a small fortune, or can be bought as a powder which is much more affordable.
The current supplement industry is worth billions of pounds and is still growing as we all look for easier and more efficient ways of getting quality nutrition into our body’s. Protein supplements are by far the most common supplement bought by frequent exercisers.
But do we really need them? And what do they even do? (Apart from making us look like we know what we are doing!).
Let’s go back to the basics first.
What is protein?
Protein is a nutrient the body needs to survive and is responsible for the building processes in the body. We need it for growth and maintenance from the skin and hair to our muscle tissue. Essentially it allows our body to grow and repair in all areas.
Where can we get it from?
We get protein from much of our daily food source. Meats, dairy, eggs, and fish all have excellent sources of protein and supply our body with what we need.
How much do we need?
As all of us here are regular exercisers and so we need approximately 1.3-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight each day. Using myself as an example, 83kg’s, would mean I need between 108 and 150 grams of protein per day.
“Ok, very informative, so should I be using protein shakes?”
We need a source of protein after we exercise. We have just broken the body, we need to repair it again, and quickly if we want to improve our rate of recovery.
Exercise = body breakdown > Protein = body repair. Clever stuff this! We’re getting there now.
All we need is a source of protein as quickly as possible after exercise, and according to research, we also need to add some carbohydrates to our protein to maximise quick recovery.
“So, we need protein after exercise, I get it, so should I be using protein shakes?”
I love this next part…
It’s up to you!
Do you want to eat real nutritionally good food straight after exercise or do you want something simple like a shake?
Real food is more complete and will give you more nutrition overall, but takes more time to prepare and is harder to consume after an exercise session. Protein shakes are nutritionally poorer but far easier to consume after exercise and can be prepared instantly.
What does Andy do?
After a good training session, I consume a protein shake ASAP (usually 15-20 minutes after I finish), get a shower, and then have dinner. Best of both worlds. Maybe I over consume my protein intake?!
My wife also uses protein shakes as she talks for at least half an hour after her sessions and it is much easier to sip on a protein shake while talking than to eat a precooked steak.