Why the right kind of protein makes a difference. You need to fuel your muscles and with the correct kind foods to provide enough energy needed to train well and to help your body to recover following exercise too.
What amazes me as a fitness trainer, is the amount of clients I see in the evening, who, I can tell by their eyes, within the first 15 minutes of seeing them, that their nutrition isn’t right. I ask them when they have last eaten and they reply ‘lunchtime’ which, I find out was over 5-6 hours ago. Not enough people eat the right foods for their body to be in it’s optimal state.
One of the key meals to get right is breakfast.
I see more and more people who train hard in the morning and haven’t eaten a quality breakfast. They are training their bodies without any pre or post workout nutrition at all.
What will happen in your body?
Having no breakfast or the wrong kind of foods at this key time in your day will certainly make your progress slow. Exercise can be a big stressor to the body, so adding more stress to the body will outweigh it’s benefits, if you don’t get your nutrition right. So it’s important to get into optimum health first, and it’s very important to eat the correct kind of proteins.
Why is pre and post-workout nutrition so important?
When we train hard, we affect our tissues at the micro level, and we use food for fuel. This is what makes us stronger, leaner, fitter, and more muscular, but in the short term it requires muscle repair.
Repair and rebuilding occurs through the breakdown of old, damaged proteins (protein breakdown) and the construction of new ones (protein synthesis) – a process known collectively as protein turnover. Muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly (or unchanged) after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. We’re doing a lot more breaking-down than building-up, at this time.
The relationship between these two parameters (rate of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown) represents the metabolic basis for muscle growth.
Muscle building/hypertrophy occurs when a positive protein balance can be established during recovery – in other words, when we make sure we have enough raw materials available for protein synthesis to occur, so that it doesn’t fall behind protein breakdown.
Why the kind of protein really makes a difference.
If you’re a morning exerciser or if you want to perform at a higher level at your favourite sport, then it’s a good philosophy to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a Prince and Supper like a Pauper.
If you are a typical cereal and milk breakfast eater, you are more likely to become sleepy and go into fat storage mode, throughout the day. As many cereals are ladened with sugar which increases insulin. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and could stop your body from burning fat.So what’s the best breakfast then you might ask?The best breakfast is a high fat, medium protein and low carbohydrate meal. I tend to go for scrambled egg, avocado and smoked salmon, which keeps me going most of the day!
Or try something like fried wild salmon cooked in coconut oil and served with steamed vegetables and add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. This type of breakfast will not spike your sugar levels or force your body into fat storage.
This will help stabilise your blood sugar levels and stop you from snacking on a your favourite muffin and drinking your coffee, mid morning.
Muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly (or unchanged) after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. We’re doing a lot more breaking-down than building-up.
So what other type of proteins should we be eating post workout?
In order to get the right nutrient timing we must think differently, if you’re eating for performance or eating for fat loss. You need to deliver the right nutrient mixture to enhance recovery from tough sessions in the gym, to improve muscle growth strength and power.
What is nutrient timing?
Nutrient timing consists of three phases you need to maximize during a 24-hour growth cycle.
- Energy Phase:
This ensures you have enough available energy to get through your workouts and these can come from all macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats.
- Anabolic Phase:
0-45 minute window post workout. With the right combination of nutrients, muscles can repair. Include proteins such as grilled chicken with roasted vegetables at this stage or oatmeal, natural whey protein, banana and almonds, all which help to aid muscle recovery.
- Growth and Recovery Phase:
from the end of the anabolic phase to the beginning of the next workout. You need to be smart with lifestyle choice and food choices. Again here if you want to achieve fat loss, don’t snack like a hamster in between meals.
How much Protein should we consume in a meal?
As protein helps with thermogenesis (helps you burn more calories when ingested) it not only fills you up quicker, but also, when it’s digested the thermogenic effect can be around 10-35% so its quite understandable, how eating high protein meals can help with fat loss. But you cannot absorb more than 30-50g per serving, so don’t try to eat a whole buffalo in one sitting because your body wont absorb it.
What about post workout? How much protein should we take?
Studies have shown that delaying nutrient (protein and carbohydrate) consumption for athletes after a workout can greatly reduce the rate of glycogen restoration and protein synthesis. In fact, the rate of glycogen is reduced by 50% if nutrients aren’t consumed immediately after a workout (Maecholm et al. 1977, Blom et al 1987, Ivy et al. 1988)
The Journal Of International Society Of Sports Nutrition recommends eating 1.4g-2g per kilogram of your own bodyweight a day to help improve adaptations to intense training.
But unless you are a high performance athlete training most days, you won’t need to go running to the shops and grabbing your protein shake, you can get enough protein from your daily meals, just include foods like, turkey, fish, chicken, beef, eggs, quinoa, vegetables and pulses in your diet.
References :Science of Fat Loss: 10 Habits to Maximise Health and Fat Loss by Phil Richards Fuelling Fitness for Sports Perfor-mance by DR Samantha Stear.The Journal Of International Society of Sports Nutrition
Article courtesy of Jamie Lloyd Fitness