When you’re in the gym you will always hear, someone talking about taking protein shakes. But what are they and why can they benefit you with your workouts and aid in achieving your goals?
Protein is our body’s main source of Growth and repair/building muscle, Proteins are also used to make and build hormones, enzymes, nucleic acids, and some components of our immune system. So yes, proteins are very important in our diet. When you work out your muscle fibres breakdown to build new stronger muscle fibres. Protein is required to rebuild muscle cells when we have been training. We get protein mainly from Meat, poultry, fish, legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds and milk etc.
What Protein is:
Proteins are essentially broken down into Amino Acids (see BCAA article for more info.) These amino acids are essentially the ‘building blocks’ of life and are split into 9 essential (our body can’t naturally produce it) and non-essential (our body can naturally produce these). So, to get these essential proteins, we need to get them from a food source such as meats, dairy etc. or even our protein shakes. Essentially, if we want our bodies to repair after training we need to take protein. But the amount of protein we ingest is factor to a few things such as sex, age, body weight and our fitness/gym goals. Protein rich foods have been proven to give you the ‘full’ effect when consumed as you don’t look to snack after eating more protein rich foods.
Why use protein shakes/ treats:
Protein shakes are a supplement used for mainly after training and are for a quick fix for the repair and growth of the muscle. Protein shakes when bought from a reliable and trust worthy brand/ source will provide you with your essential amino acids and some Creatine (see Creatine article for more info). It’s a cheap simple easy way of getting your protein needs instead of having to cook another meal to the ones you are already eating. Now it shouldn’t be used as a supplement to the meals that you are already eating but rather a supplement instead of making another one just for the protein.
Lean muscle gain: Replenishes the body’s protein that it uses for repairing the muscles therefore allowing more protein to be present for more growth and repair of the muscle fibres.
Increased Performance: Most athletes you will see on TV will be promoting protein shakes, and yes, a lot of them take it, as this allows them to get the full potential from their workouts by providing them with energy and the protein required to repair their muscle cells meaning that their muscles will be better endured for their next workout/ sporting event meaning their performance will improve.
Reduced recovery time: Due to the muscles getting their required protein needs they can be repaired quicker and therefore recover quicker meaning you can work out more often and therefore improve yourself at a quicker rate to your full potential.
Now taking protein is good if you follow the guidelines and don’t overdo it. Taking too much protein can put serious strain on the kidneys. We would recommend you follow the recommendations on the tub of protein you have. Also, if you have any health conditions mainly concerning heart or kidneys we recommend you see you GP before consuming Protein shakes/ treats.
By Jack Ringland