October 11th, 2023
Protein is a vital nutrient that plays a fundamental role in our overall health and fitness. It not only supports muscle recovery and growth but also aids in preserving and maintaining muscle mass. In this blog, we will explore the importance of protein, understand how much protein our body requires, and discuss the consequences of not getting enough protein. So, let’s dive in!
the Importance of Protein (particularly if you work out)
Protein is often referred to as the building block of life, and for good reason. It is crucial for repairing and building tissues, including muscles. When we engage in strenuous workouts, our muscles experience micro-tears. Protein helps in repairing and rebuilding these muscles, leading to increased strength and endurance. It also aids in the production of enzymes and hormones, which are essential for various bodily functions. By including protein-rich foods in our diet, we provide our bodies with the necessary fuel to optimize performance and enhance recovery.
Protein’s Role in Maintaining Muscle Mass
One of the primary reasons why protein is highly valued in the fitness community is its role in maintaining muscle mass. Regular exercise, especially strength training, can lead to muscle breakdown. Protein acts as a protective shield by facilitating muscle protein synthesis and preventing muscle loss. Consuming an adequate amount of protein can help you preserve your hard-earned muscles, support their growth, and achieve better results from your workouts. It also aids in reducing muscle soreness and improving overall muscle function.
What is the Right Amount?
See below for a handy calculator to figure out the answer to this question for you. As you can see, it can vary greatly depending on factors such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and fitness goals. The general guideline is to consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, for those who engage in regular intense workouts, experts recommend increasing protein intake to 1.2-2 grams per kilogram of body weight. It’s important to spread your protein consumption throughout the day to maximize its benefits. And consulting a fitness professional or a registered dietitian is the best way to help you determine the ideal protein intake for your unique needs.
what happens if you don’t eat enough protein
Insufficient protein intake can have a variety of negative effects on the body. Without enough protein, our muscles may not recover and repair properly, leading to muscle wasting and decreased strength. Inadequate protein intake can also compromise our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness and infections. Furthermore, it can result in decreased energy levels, poor concentration, and delayed recovery after intense workouts. To avoid these consequences, it is essential to prioritize protein intake and ensure we are consuming enough to meet our body’s requirements.
Sources of Protein & should you supplement?
Protein can be obtained from both animal and plant-based sources. Animal sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products are considered complete proteins as they contain all the essential amino acids our body needs. Plant-based sources like legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and nuts are incomplete proteins but can be combined to form complete proteins. Whether you should supplement with protein powders or bars depends on your individual needs and preferences. While supplements can be convenient, we recommended prioritizing whole food sources of protein whenever possible.
how protein needs change as we age
As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, including a decline in muscle mass. The right amount of protein intake becomes even more critical for older adults as it can help slow down muscle loss, improve muscle function, and support overall health. Additionally, protein can aid in maintaining bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Including protein-rich foods in the diet, paired with regular exercise, can help older adults stay strong, mobile, and independent.
If you’re unsure about your protein needs or need guidance on your nutrition and fitness journey, we’re here to help. We can provide you with personalized guidance and support to help you optimize your workouts and reach your full potential. Hope you found that helpful! If you could use some professional help with your workouts, we’ve got you covered through in-home personal training in Toronto, Hamilton, and Collingwood – and virtual training everywhere. Click here to apply now for a complimentary first workout!