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.
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.
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.