Post-Workout: Just How Much Protein Should You Eat?On by
Alongside the typical banging and clanking of weights at the gym, you will hear one more sound – shaking.
In their relentless quest for more muscle, gym rats often pound protein shakes after their workout sessions for fear of their hard-earned muscle wasting away.
Whether from whole foods or from protein shakes, the decision to eat protein post-workout is justified as protein offers numerous benefits for the gym-goer.
Benefits of Eating Protein After You Exercise
Eating protein post-workout is almost as important as your workout itself. It ensures that all the work you just put in won’t go to waste.
The protein you eat post-workout supports the building and repair of the muscle tissue that breaks down during exercise. So, you will recover quicker.
Additionally, eating protein after working out decreases protein breakdown in the muscles leading to increased strength and muscle mass.
How Much Protein After a Workout?
Although you need protein to maintain and build muscle, you don’t really need to gulp down a whole carton of uncooked eggs Rocky-style for maximum benefit.
The right amount to eat depends on your body weight, workout intensity, and overall diet style. For exact figures, the recommended daily intake is 0.67- 0.78 grams for each pound of your body weight (1.4-1.7g per kilogram).
So for the normal bodybuilder, consuming 20 grams of protein post-workout should do the trick.
Power and endurance athletes may require a higher amount (30-40 grams) after their rather intense workouts.
More isn’t always better.
Consuming more than 40g of protein post-workout results in greater production of ammonia due to higher rates of protein breakdown – and all the extra ammonia must be cleaned up by your kidneys. This puts undue stress on your very precious organs.
What Source of Protein Should You Choose?
There are many sources of protein, so it’s important to know which are best for you.
Whole food sources, such as dairy, meats, and eggs are a great source of protein.
You can have the recommended 20g of protein from three cups of skim milk; a 6 to 7-ounce Greek yogurt serving; 3 large eggs; or a 6 to an 8-oz portion of chicken, beef, or fish.
You should also be able to reach the sweet spot with a handful of nuts and seeds mixed with a bowl of amino acid-rich grains such as quinoa.
Another great way of incorporating protein into your post-workout snack is drinking protein shakes. Protein powders are very convenient; they taste great and are a quick option for busy people. Protein powders are usually made from eggs, whey, soy, rice, hemp, and peas.
The two most common protein powder products are:
1. Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard™ Double Rich Chocolate, $57.99, Amazon
This is a chocolate-flavored supplement whose main ingredient is pure whey protein Isolates.
Whey protein has the advantage of fast digestion meaning that it’s absorbed rapidly into the body. Within 30 minutes, this product is able to deliver amino acids to the muscles, fast-tracking their growth and repair.
Combined with ultra-filtered whey protein isolates, each serving offers 24 grams of all whey protein and 5 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), which are valued their muscle-building qualities.
It also contains huge amounts of the amino acid leucine that stimulates protein synthesis in muscles. This supplement is available in more than 20 flavors; hence you have plenty of ways to spice up your workout recovery.
2. BulkSupplements Pure Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Powder (1 Kilogram), $18.96, Amazon
This supplement contains 99.99% pure Creatine monohydrate that has been micronized to remain suspended in solution for longer.
Its main compound Creatine helps to send direct shots of energy to muscle. This increases your energy reserve thereby extending your workout time.
Creatine Monohydrate also helps to increase overall strength and muscle mass, for so long as you take it alongside exercise and a healthy diet. It has no added flavors and won’t induce bloating.
At just $18.96 per 1Kg bag, it’s among the most inexpensive options available. Although protein powders offer great convenience, it does not mean that they are always the best bet for your post-workout protein.
Whole food sources are still the best way for getting the vital nutrients such as protein, required for optimal health and performance.
The takeaway here is that your post-workout diet should have solid food as the base and protein powders as — you guessed it — supplements when it’s convenient.