almonds

Protein, it’s one of the biggest buzz words in the fitness industry and for good reason.  It is a key component and arguably the biggest macro nutrient to contribute to those gains that we are constantly striving for. So what is protein exactly? Proteins are considered long chains of amino acids, which are the important molecules we need for our bodies to function optimally. Without diversity in your diet you risk becoming low in certain amino acids. This results in low energy, difficulty losing weight, unstable blood sugar levels and trouble building muscle. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body isn’t able to store protein, so ensuring you’re getting enough everyday, especially when working out, is integral to overall good health.

Protein and Exercise

When you workout and put your body under stress from weightlifting or cardiovascular exercise you are essentially tearing and ripping muscle fibers apart. Protein is the key to our body having the power to repair these muscles. This results in increased strength, endurance and gains. Protein is especially important to consume after a workout as it replenishes and encourages those muscles to grow. Protein also helps to repair damage internally and externally and supports the immune system. Consuming enough protein creates an environment in your body where it can fight off illness thus letting you avoid any setbacks to your workout routine.

Gary Aujla Personal Trainer

Different Forms of Protein

Protein comes in a variety of different forms to suit any dietary needs. Whether you’re an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan there’s options to ensure you get the right amount of protein. It’s best to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day instead of one or two large servings. A good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with 30% of a high quality protein at every meal. This ensures you’re able to get enough protein throughout the day that is properly utilized and not eliminated. First look to whole foods as your first step to getting those essential proteins but also consider using a high-quality protein powder. Protein powder has the ability to give you that extra protein boost that’s needed after a workout. It is especially useful due to its convenience and versatility. Some other suggestions are:

  1. Beef
  2. Lentils
  3. Wild Fish (salmon, tuna)
  4. Chicken
  5. Black beans
  6. Free-range eggs

chicken

Benefits of a Protein Rich Diet

The advantages of a protein rich diet are vast but these benefits are consistently seen in overall good health. Protein plays a big part in a healthy diet with quality being key. Loading up on protein foods should always be balanced with eating enough vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. You can expect to experience:

  • An increase in building lean muscle mass
  • Reduced muscle loss
  • Increased weight loss
  • Ability to maintain a healthy weight for your body type
  • Hunger is lessened and curbed
  • Recovery time is reduced following workouts
  • Increased immune function
  • Higher energy levels consistent throughout the day
  • Stabilize blood sugar levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Promotes longevity