If you are wondering whether that post-sweat protein shake is as important as people say, you're not alone. You push through that final rep and feel a sense a pride as you finish your workout. Now it is off to shower, but not until you reach for your protein shake that you stashed away earlier.
Is the post workout protein shake a nutritional rumor? Why is protein so important? And is the hour after a workout the magic cutoff for the protein's efficacy? As personal trainers we do recommended post workout snacks that do contain protein. Here’s the breakdown of why…
What Happens To Muscles When You Workout?
Lifting weights feels tough most of the time, as it should. You’re strength training, meaning you're causing micro-tears within the muscle fibers. These micro-tears that occur during strength training will stimulate the body's repair response via nutrient delivery to the muscle tissues. Your body does this to fix the harm (mirco-tears) and excite muscle growth.
By strength training exercising and breaking down your muscle fibers, you are giving them a chance to grow back stronger. So post-workout is the time for muscle fibers to recoup and increase in strength.
Protein's Role In Building Muscle while Strength Training
Here's how protein fits into the process mentioned above. When you workout, the protein in your muscles breaks down (re: micro-tears). To fix and rebuild this muscle damage during strength training, your body must undergo a natural process called protein synthesis, where it produces more of what is needed for your muscles to heal.
If you're seeking to build muscle, you want to have the total amount of protein synthesis exceed the sum of protein breakdown. And since your body can only produce so much protein on its own, supplementing with protein-rich food after your workout will help make sure you're getting enough to ease muscle growth during strength training. Ask your personal trainer for some clean and healthy protein recommendations.
Timing Your Protein Intake
You want to have protein easily available to help reconstruct and heal the tissue damage when strength training. However, there is some disagreement about the timing, but the prevailing theory appears to be that sooner is better. Research shows that the very first couple of hours after you complete resistance and strength training, your body is most receptive to utilizing protein for muscle repair and growth.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Your body can only use a certain amount of protein at one time and anything outside that amount will pass through your system. Also overconsumption of protein can mean under consumption of carbohydrates and fats. It’s all about the nutritional balance that your body needs to function at its best.
Your personal trainer can help guide you to some great protein options for optimal strength training results. Make sure to ask us at your next personal training session or ask us when you come in for your initial consult. SRQ Health & Fitness Studio wants you to meet your health and fitness goals, which includes so much more that lifting the weights in the gym with us!