We all want to make the most out of our workout sessions. Otherwise, all that sweat and effort would be for nothing. One of the most popular and effective ways to get optimal results during your workouts is with protein. This is a vital building block of the body’s muscle fibers and can be taken in various forms both before and after strenuous exercise. Many gym-goers, however, prefer to use protein shakes post-workout to supplement their needs. Here’s why:
Weight Loss Help
Having a protein shake helps to satisfy intense feelings of hunger that can crop up after a hard workout. Instead of indulging in sugary treats and empty carbs, which can derail your weight loss goals, the protein in a shake will help to keep you on the right track by quashing hunger and lowering the stress hormone, cortisol. Protein helps slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. When glucose absorption is slowed down insulin levels are lowered which makes it easier for your body to burn fat.
Speedy Recovery Time
Feeling the ‘burn’ is perfectly normal during workouts, but this is actually signaling that your muscles are getting torn and damaged in the process of exercise. Consuming protein afterward is essential to rebuilding and rejuvenating them. Taking protein in a shake—within thirty minutes of exercise—provides the quickest recovery method, sending the necessary nutrients and amino acids into the bloodstream to aid in muscular cell repair.
Protein shakes also give your body a quick pick-me-up by helping to replenish the energy-filled glycogen stores within your muscles, liver and even blood. They help to refuel and regulate many basic bodily functions, such as stabilizing blood sugar levels and increasing metabolism. Additional energy is provided by the carbohydrates in the shakes, as well as any fruit or juice used in making them.
Convenience and Efficiency
Even if you’re fortunate enough to have time to hit the gym, you may not have much time elsewhere in your day. Protein shakes are a great way to refuel your body on the go and you can either purchase ready-to-drink shakes at your local supermarket or whip up a quick shake at home using a protein powder mixed with milk or juice. Several gyms nationwide now feature juice bars where you can cool down with a custom-made protein shake after your workout, so there’s no need to bring one with you.
Some things to consider:
The average man’s daily protein requirement is about 56 grams, with the average woman’s being roughly 46 grams. However, people such as athletes and pregnant or breastfeeding women will need significantly more. Bodybuilders and others wishing to gain substantial muscle mass should aim at using 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. There’s also some contention over what goes into the best protein shakes. Many will say whey protein is the best, while some side with casein protein and others stick with soy. Overall, protein is protein, and unless you’re lactose intolerant there isn’t a terrible amount of difference between them. What matters is that you’re getting the right quantity to accomplish your workout goals.
Author Katie Hewatt is a personal trainer and a contributing writer for the protein supplement experts at Prograde, a company whose protein powders are backed by a clinical study and contain 24 grams of purified protein