Why Protein Should be Your Workout Companion

August 10, 2012 · 22 comments

I did not start incorporating protein into my workout routine until about 2 years ago. I heard about post workout nutrition but assumed it was for athletes and bodybuilders. Protein supplement education has come a long way, and now as a personal trainer I understand the science and benefits behind it. Despite numerous blog and video posts, I still get asked, “Should I be incorporating more protein into my post-workout diet and when should I be ingesting it?”

If this sounds like you, here is a quick guide to using protein to help reach your goals.

Why do you need protein after a workout?

You need protein after a workout to rebuild and repair the muscles that you just worked. Ideally, you should be consuming it within 20 minutes of finishing up. Depending on your calorie needs and how intense your workout actually was will decide how much you should be having. A good post workout protein guideline to follow can be found here.  By not consuming protein after your workout, you will not reap all the benefits you potentially could be gaining from your efforts. For maximum toning and tightening effects from working out, you need to feed your muscles after a workout.

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How much do I need to eat? Should I eat back the number of calories I just burned?

I prefer to time my workouts so that I’m scheduled to be hungry by the time the class or workout is over. If you workout for an hour or less, 100-200 calorie snack should be sufficient. For women trying to lose weight, I usually tell them to keep it under 200 calories. We all overestimate how many calories we burn and if losing weight is your goal, don’t aim to eat back the calories that you burn to speed up shedding pounds. If you are looking to gain muscle mass and bulk up (I’m talking to the men), then go ahead and eat back your calories.

The Gym/Work/Home or Work/Gym/Home dilemma

If you are not going to be able to eat a meal within 20 minutes of working out, bring a snack with you! Powders can be put into empty water bottles and placed in your bag. Fill it up with water when you finish and drink while you get ready for work in the locker room or commute back home. Bars and pre-made shakes are also awesome for this reason. I love the Premier Protein shakes when I shower and get ready for my day at the gym. The have 160 calories and 30 grams of protein. You can find Premier Protein at Costco, Walmart and Sam’s Club. When I’m able to make it home, I’ll sometimes have greek yogurt with fresh fruit or make a homemade frozen smoothie.

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So who should be doing this?

You should be consuming protein after a workout if you want to see results. Plain and simple. If you’re strength training to tone up your arms or get six-pack abs, you need a recovery snack or meal. Like I said before, if you are trying to lose weight, try timing your workouts with your meals and factor in the calories you consume post exercise into your daily allowance. If you need more ideas where to get it, check out this blog post for surprising sources of protein. Not only is the protein going to help you reach your goals quicker, but it will also provide you with energy post workout to push through the rest of your day.

When do you need an extra energy boost?

As you know, I am hosting a contest through the end of August called “Energy for Every Day.” If you haven’t tried adding protein to your life, now is your chance. Winners will receive a gift pack worth $250 from Premier Protein, including a $200 cash prize to keep you active and on the go. Think of that running or camping gear you’ve needed, plus more fun swag!

To enter, you’ll need to leave a comment on the video below and share that moment when your energy crashes and you need an extra boost. Answer the following question in the comments section of the video, “I need protein most when… ______________” and be sure to check out Premier Protein on Facebook.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel in the meantime to make sure you don’t forget and miss the next video when it goes live!

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Premier Protein. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christie August 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Love the premier protein bars as well!!! I randomly bought them at Sams club last time I went with my mom. I always keep them in my backpack for a great pick-me-up.

I need protein most when I am recovering from a workout. My body basically CRAVES it. I love refueling my body with a carb & protein post workout. I feel great after and full of energy.

Take care!!

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2 Cindy August 10, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Thank you for this post! I’ve been struggling with what to eat after my workouts–thinking that if I ate I’d basically ruin what I just burned off. Not too long ago an trainer at the gym told the class that we needed to have protein after the class–so I asked her more about it and found out that was my missing piece to the puzzle!! I like the Matrix Cookies & Cream protein powder mixed with unsweetened chocolate almond milk! YUM!

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3 Ashley August 11, 2012 at 1:25 am

I need protein when I’m tired!! Then it keeps my energy up.

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4 Julie F August 11, 2012 at 3:30 am

I need protein the most around 3pm when I’m in my afternoon slump! I’ve never tried Premier Protein, but I have a co-worker that loves the shakes.

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5 Miranda @ Biting Life August 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

I really liked this post! It was super informative. I kind of thought that having protein after a workout was only for intense exercisers or bodybuilders, too. Good to know!

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6 Lauren August 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

As an athlete, I need protein most throughout the day at work! I’m getting ready for my second year of teaching in a tough NYC school and I need a lot of energy and sustenance to keep me going teaching and constantly dealing with managing my classroom! My morning workouts are great stress relievers, but I NEED tons a healthy protein snacks throughout the day to keep me going!!! I’m going to check Premier Protein out!

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7 Charlie (therunnerbeans) August 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

This post could not have come at a better time, I’ve been reading about protein and protein shakes on a lot of blogs and wasnt really sure when and why people were using them. thanks for clearing things up!!
I need protein (usually in the form of greek yoghurt) in the afternoon slump, around 4-4.30 at my desk!

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8 nicole schulien August 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I need protein most when I get home from work and am tired, need to make dinner, walk the dog, and help the kids with homework.. I’m starving and am most likely to grab junk and eat way to much of it.

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9 Danielle August 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm

hmm did my comment go through? Just wondering and testing again.

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10 Sarah August 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm

this is the first comment I see from you danielle! I am not sure – but will check the spam.

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11 Yasmine August 14, 2012 at 4:08 am

I did not know where to ask you since I deactivated my facebook for Ramadan, so I will comment randomly on here. Anyhow, I was wondering if you can try low carb chocolate from simply lite. It SOUNDS TOO GOOD to be true. its low carb, no sugar added, no trans fat and gluten free. The one i am eating is 36% cacao with a net effective carbs of 2g. so is it too good to be true?

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12 Olivia August 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Sarah your site is absolutely amazing! I love it when you add in tips for those at college in your posts and videos, because while there are so many great blogs out there, us college students cant really afford delicious foods like almond butter (omg drool…) and also dont have stove tops, although im lucky enough to have a fridge and a microwave, and i also bought a single serve blender for protein smoothies in the morning. And of course all the drinking… and therefore late night burger eating.. not good haha, but thankfully since i cant afford a car i have to walk everywhere (hello burning calories!). Love your blog x

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13 Tara August 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I need the most protein in the morning after my workout. I find the more protein I have at breakfast the less hungry I am all day!

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14 Amy August 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Sarah! You are totally right about needing protein to keep up energy levels! I find that when I eat protein my energy is just so much better then if I ate carbos or fat. I need protein most after my workout and as energy boost mid afternoon. Thanks for the chance!

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15 Trish August 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm

That is my bigges problem. I take Physique 57 morning class and then get ready in the locker room. I <3 protein shakes (i'm trying the new one from TIU) but i like them cold. Can i go for a think thin bar? How much protein would i need?

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16 Lesley August 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I need protein most between 4-6pm, when I’m transitioning from work to home. My kids get really hyper when my hub & I get home and suddenly there are a million things that need to happen at once! I try and grab a handful of almonds to keep me going until dinner.

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17 Josh Ardolf August 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I need protein most when it’s the middle afternoon on a workday doing carpentry work or right after a workout. Protein makes me feel good inside/out and gives me great energy! I have been buying the Premier Protein (Chocolate Shakes) for over a year now and I can’t go a workout without them, the taste is amazing just for 1g of sugar, and a total of 30g of protein is packed in the small shake, you can’t beat it!

-JA

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18 Alexis August 23, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Great post! I need protein most after a workout and even when I’m on the go throughout the afternoon. Big recommendation for college students between classes and/or work!

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19 single serve blender reviews November 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for this great info! Like Olivia, it was our hobby to make smoothies rich in protein with our blender and we do feel bright and full of energy on our workout. And now I was able to know how important it is.

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20 Anthony March 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

Sarah, you need protein consistently throughout the day. Consuming it immediately after a workout is fine, but, it won’t do anything for muscles that take hours to start rebuilding after exercise. That protein from the shake has made it’s way through the body at that point. Regardless, great site..

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