You may be surprised to know that protein isn’t just for bodybuilding. Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or just beginning your fitness journey, increasing your intake of protein comes with a host of benefits that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.
Read on below as we break those down for you:
What Does Protein Do for My Body?
Let’s start from the beginning: protein is a molecule made from chemicals in the body called amino acids. These amino acids are essential for the body to function properly-they help build muscle, manufacture hormones, enzymes, carry oxygen via blood, and boost your immune system. Your body needs protein as a basic building block to create the structures that make up every cell, tissue and organ, as well as the biochemicals that facilitate cardiovascular function, growth, muscle contraction and healing.
Getting an adequate amount of protein in your diet is essential when working out. It basically helps your body heal up from the strenuous activities you’re putting it through while helping you look more toned and boosting your metabolism.
Most people get their protein from solid food. Those who are really serious about their fitness supplement their intake with protein powders that are whey, casein, or milk-based. Vegans opt for shakes made from milked nuts as a cleaner alternative to the aforementioned.
A Rundown of the Different Types of Proteins
Whey protein is the most commonly used type found in protein powders. One of the advantages of using whey protein is that it’s absorbed by the body very quickly. It’s derived from milk-specifically, the liquid part that separates during the production of cheese.
Casein is likewise derived from milk and is also a common protein powder ingredient. Like whey protein, it’s easily digested and absorbed, though casein digests more slowly compared to whey.
Plant-based proteins such as those derived from soy or nuts are also available on the market. Vegans, vegetarians, or people who choose not to consume dairy-derivatives can try drinking a plant-based protein shake to receive all the benefits of protein in a cleaner, more organic form.
When Should I Take My Protein Shake?
The correct time to take protein depends entirely on what your workout regimen is and which benefits you’d like to take advantage of the most. Having a protein shake for breakfast, or mixing your protein into the food you make in the morning, is a good way to get your essential nutrients in after a period of rest.
Making yourself a protein shake and having it about a half-hour before working out creates something called an anabolic window, which lowers the damage to your muscles for a strenuous workout. Mix in a carbohydrate source such as a banana for that extra burst of energy during training. You can also opt to have a protein shake immediately after working out. From here, your muscles will soak up the nutrients for optimum recovery and growth.
Learning how a protein interacts with your body is essential if you want to be able to maximize your workout gains. It can act as an important supplement that can help your body heal from a strenuous workout, as well as give you the added energy to complete your training regimen. Integrating protein into your workout can reap a lot of benefits as long as you know how and when to use it.