Every cell in the body contains protein, and whether running, jumping, shopping, or just hanging out, protein is doing important work by repairing damaged cells and making new ones. Protein is essential to keep cells alive, and even though it is not a super source of energy such as carbohydrates and fats, it keeps the body functioning 24/7.
Protein is the building block for muscle, and since the body can’t save it for later like carbohydrates and fat, it’s important to keep a constant stream coming, so the muscles stay strong and healthy. Protein construction is a never ending process, so if it doesn’t get a new supply often, the body will break down muscle from elsewhere in order to rebuild damaged areas – stealing from the biceps to pay the triceps.
In order to keep this thievery at bay, it is important to ingest protein throughout the day, and the two key times to get a protein fix are 30 minutes after waking up and 30 minutes after working out.
Wake up and smell the protein:
We hear it all the time, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and come to find out protein is a critical component. If there’s any time the body is craving to get some much needed replenishment, it’s after being deprived of protein for the whole night. The body is hungry for nutrients, and protein is a fast way to break the fast. It’s also an instant metabolism boost, because eating protein requires extra energy to digest, which means the body burns more calories digesting it than carbohydrates and fats.
Equally as important is getting some protein after exercise. Following a training session, the body is damaged at the cellular level, and it needs time to repair this damage in order to get stronger. For the body to do this, it needs a little help from its friend, protein, so it can get the raw materials to rebuild and recover. By taking in protein (20 grams or so) within 30 minutes after exercise, the body gets the nutrients it needs to recover without breaking down its own muscle tissue.
High Quality Protein Sources:
Eggs, turkey bacon, soy protein, raw nuts, or cottage cheese. Fish, beans, lean beef, and chicken are great alternatives as well, but may not be so appetizing for breakfast. The quickest and easiest “whey” to get protein is by chugging down a protein shake, as it is absorbed faster than solid foods.
Timing is everything:
A serving of protein 30 minutes after waking up and 30 minutes after working out will help to keep the body strong and healthy by preserving muscle tissue and giving the metabolism a boost. Power to the protein!