Protein, protein and more protein. It’s all everyone seems to be talking about when it comes to muscle growth, muscle recovery and maintenance, for good reason. Let’s understand first that we don’t grow muscle mass like Arnold Schwarzenegger by simply adding more protein to our diet, it takes a lot, A LOT of consistent effort, hard work, drive, dedication and sacrifice. If it was that easy, a lot more people would look like that. I just want to get that out of the way, because that’s what some people tend to be worried about when we talk about increasing the protein intake.
Even if you’re not working out on a consistent basis, doesn’t mean protein can help you live a healthier and better life. Protein isn’t just for the ”strong” among us, it benefits everyone. Remember, back in the day meat/protein made up most of people’s diets, no matter who they were or what jobs/responsibilities they held.
What does protein do?
The number 1 thing protein does to our body is supply us with the nutrients our muscles need to recover, keep them strong and healthy. Carbohydrates and fats are great for energy production but there’s only one nutrient that has such an impact on our muscular structure and that’s protein. Worst case scenario protein could be used for energy as well but that only happens when fat and carbohydrates storages are completely depleted. If you live a ”regular” lifestyle that will never happen to you (so don’t even worry about it).
When you feel sore after every single workout you do, you want to think about adding a significant amount of protein to your diet. If you’re someone who works out regularly, the rule of thumb you can use is 1,7-2 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight or 0,8-1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Why is protein so important?
As we saw earlier, protein stimulates our recovery after an intense effort or workout, but it can help your muscles stay healthy as well. If you don’t work out regularly your muscle mass is way more likely to deteriorate and become weaker. You don’t just need muscle mass to work out and look good naked, think about all of the daily tasks you do throughout the day. Picking up a heavy box/object of the ground, carrying your kid because he/she is too tired, playing with your (grand)kids, walking your dog, grocery shopping, playing your favourite sport and going for a cycle with the family. Just to name a few activities where you will definitely benefit from having a healthy amount of muscle mass.
If you do workout, protein intake is even more crucial, that’s why the recommended intake of protein is higher.
An extra benefit of eating more protein is that it tends to satisfy us more after a meal, which will lead to less snacking and binge eating later on throughout the day.
To summarize the main reasons why protein intake is so important:
- increase Muscle recovery
- increase Muscle strength
- increase Muscle size
- Increase Muscle endurance
- Maintain muscle strength, size and health
- helps maintain a healthy bone structure
- satisfies more
- reduces cravings and snacking
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