You’ve more than likely seen hardcore fitness fanatics sipping on milky-looking protein shake, eating a protein bar or munching on a chicken breast after working up a sweat at gym. Why is this? Protein is essentially muscle food, and the only way our sore muscles can recover and grown after a hectic workout is if we pump ourselves full of it! Let’s take a look at the relationship our muscles have with protein. How protein assists post-workout recovery, and a few common sources of protein:
Our Muscles and Protein
There are two types of protein filament present in your muscle tissue: actin and myosin. Both are comprised of chained amino acids, which essentially form a ‘wall’ of tissue making up the muscle. To repair muscle tissue, and add amino acid blocks to grow muscles, we need our bodies to create more actin and myosin by joining amino acids together.
For our muscular systems to do this, we need to provide our bodies with substantial amounts of amino acid rich foods and dietary supplements. When we consume meat, eggs and other protein-rich foods and supplements, our digestive systems breaks these down into amino acids – used by our bodies for, among other things, muscle building and recovery.
How Protein Assists Recovery
Since our muscles are made up of filaments, which are made from amino acids – and we need to eat protein-rich foods to consume amino acids – it’s safe to argue that protein doesn’t assist muscle recovery: protein IS muscle recovery. Without adequate amounts of protein present after a muscle-tearing gym session, muscle repair will take much longer and could even be stunted.
Animal proteins, sourced from meats and eggs, are arguably the best proteins for muscle recovery – however many exercisers are either vegan or vegetarian. Luckily, there are many types of proteins one can consume that are sourced from plants. Let’s take a look at a few common proteins available – as well as protein sources for vegans, vegetarians, and lactose-intolerant individuals:
Types of Proteins Available
There are two main types of proteins available that we can consume. These are complete proteins and incomplete proteins.
Complete proteins feature all of the essential amino acids we need for muscle growth and recovery. These proteins are found in red meat, poultry, fish, dairy and soy foods.
Incomplete proteins, on the other hand, are missing one or more of the essential amino acids, and should be consumed alongside a protein supplement or amino acid supplement. These types of proteins are found in grains, nuts, vegetables and beans – all perfect for vegan or vegetarian exercisers.
Here are four easy ways to increase your protein intake immediately and help your muscles recover faster:
- At meal times, eat your meat before your carbs and vegetables.
- Don’t forget to include dairy products like cheese and yoghurt.
- Choose eggs for breakfast over cereals.
- Supplement your eating plan with protein bars & shakes as snacks.
- In a hurry? Eat a spoon of peanut butter as a snack.
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Article Submitted By Community Writer