Focusing on daily Protein for exercise

Are you looking to lose body fat or build a more muscular frame? It’s all good and well to have the goal in mind. However, we need to put our body in the best condition to work towards our goal. Too much time is spent on trying to work out every little detail when we can just start and gradually add in other factors to help us. Whether you are bulking, cutting or maintaining weight, you should have an idea of the calories you need to consume. From there, lots of us try to work out our macros to a fine point and have to stick with them. This can be very challenging, especially for people who are new to health and exercise.

After determining your calories for the days/week, the first macronutrient to focus on is Protein. Yes, Carbohydrates and Fats are important for our health, but not as important as hitting your protein goals to start off with. If the bulk of your macros are protein, you can still split carbs and fats however you see fit and draw energy from these. Start off easy and gradual to maintain dietary compliance with your protein intake and this will help adherence to your plan. 

The next obvious question we would then want to figure out is how much protein do I need to consume? Studies vary on this detail but for the most part the figure seems to be anywhere between 1.2g – 2.2g per kg of bodyweight per day (1.2-2.2g/kg/d). If time is not an issue, you could start on the lower end of the scale and build if you do not see muscle adaptions at a rate you are happy with. 

Now you have an idea of how much protein you need to consume for exercise, but when should you consume this protein? The honest answer is… Spread out throughout your whole day. Some years ago, the fitness industry believed that nutrient timing for protein was the most important rule for muscle adaptation. Were you ever told that you had an hour to consume protein post workout? Science based studies are now giving us more information and It is become obvious now that the time for our “anabolic window” is not as narrow as we had thought. A 2018 study had concluded that Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS), the driving force behind muscle adaption, was still present 4-5 hours post workout, Although, all participants had consumed a protein dense meal at least 2 hours before exercise. 

Generally, people will tend to have food before they workout and if you fall into this category, you won’t need to worry too much about how long you go without the next meal because it is very common to spread food intake in shorter time periods throughout the day. In other words, you will not lose your gains! On the other hand, training fasted is not irregular for some people. If you like to train fasted, then the timing of your protein intake becomes a little more important and other factors need to be considered. It is recommended that your post workout meal in a fasted state is lower on fat and fibre content to help speed of digestion and MPS.

Below is a list of the factors helped by maintaining an adequate daily protein intake in regard to longevity:

  • Increases muscle mass and strength 
  • Positive effects on bone health
  • Can help burn more calories 
  • Helps body recover faster 
  • Can aid maintenance of muscle mass as we age 

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