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Protein – Its’ role in our exercise program.

§ October 8th, 2010 § Filed under personal fitness, wellness § 10 Comments

Do you eat enough protein to support muscle repair after exercise?  If we eat too much fat, we are likely to store it as excess fat.  To aid muscle repair after exercise, we need to supply our body with protein.  However, if we eat too much protein, we won’t store the excess as more muscle.  If we don’t eat enough, we won’t recover effectively and fully benefit from our training.  So, it’s about striking a balance.  The optimum way for our muscles to absorb protein is to give them a steady and regular supply.  A 14oz steak in the evening and no other protein for the rest of the day isn’t the best way to supply the body with the protein it needs.

The amount that the muscles need to repair and grow back stronger varies depending on the activity levels of the individual.  Approximately ½ gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day is sufficient for someone who is moderately active.  However, many of us who train regularly don’t achieve anywhere near this.

So, the first part of the challenge is to plan our diet so that we consistently consume ½ a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day equally spaced out throughout the day.  So, if you weigh 170 lbs, aim to eat 85 grams per day.

1 Salmon Fillet = 40g, 1 Chicken Breast = 30g, 1 Egg = 7g, 185g Tin Tuna = 48g

Look at the list of ingredients on some protein shake powders.  A good quality powder will have low fat and low sugar.  It’s a shame that many of these products are mainly marketed toward bodybuilders because they can be a great help to those of us looking for a steady supply of protein throughout the day without wanting to get bigger.  They can be taken between meals to keep the steady supply of protein to the muscles going.

In the medium to long term we could look to progressively increase our protein intake above ½ gram per pound of bodyweight per day to achieve different training benefits.  But for now, let’s aim for ½ gram, do it consistently for 2 months and then review.

Of course, there are lots of other areas of diet and nutrition that need to be right to help us achieve our goals.  Many of these will be covered in future blogs.  If you would like to discuss any other area in the mean-time, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise and support you.