Protein is found in tissues and cells throughout your body. Protein from food sources is an essential macronutrient as it aids in muscle repair, synthesis and can be used for energy.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 20 types of amino acids; 9 of these amino acids are essential, meaning that they must be obtained from the diet. While not as big of an energy contributor during exercise as carbohydrates and fats, protein contains approximately 4 kcals per gram, which can be used as a fuel source.
Should I take a protein supplement?
We encourage you to determine whether or not you are getting enough protein in your diet by keeping a food journal. Record how much protein is in each food that you consume (#myfitnesspal is a great app that you can use!) to determine whether you are getting enough protein.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that the average individual consume 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight per day for general health. For example, for a person weighing 135 pounds (divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kg: so 135 lbs/2.2 = 61.4 kg), the protein recommendation is 49.1 grams per day. What does this look like?
- 1 chicken breast = ~ 31 g protein
- 1 cup of almond milk = 1 g protein
- 1 cup 2% milk = 10 g protein
- 1 egg = 6 g of protein
If you lift weights and exercise, your body requires more protein per day to help balance the break down of muscle protein that occurs with exercise. Your protein requirements therefore go up; for those adding lean mass and strength, 1.7g/kg is recommended. A Registered Dietician can help you determine whether or not you are meeting your daily nutritional requirements and help make a plan based on your dietary goals and needs.
If you are not getting adequate protein in your current diet, there is a lot of good evidence to support protein supplementation for those who exercise. One of my favourite protein powders is #kaizen Naturals Vanilla. It is gluten-free, sugar-free, non-GMO and tasty! I like to blend it with spinach, banana, a hint of cinnamon and honey with ice. If you are vegan, they also have whey-free options. What’s your favourite protein smoothie for post-Nadora Glute Strengthening exercises?
Registered Physiotherapist and Kinesiologist