The What, Why, Who, and When of Protein Supplements.
B efore we dive into the down and dirty of protein supplements we first need to understand what Protein is. Most simply stated it is 1 of 3 macronutrients found in nearly every food. The other 2 being Fat and Carbohydrates which you'll see
on the food label below. If you look at the %DV you'll notice that both Fat and Carbohydrates both list a recommended value while Protein does not. This is because the protein needs differ based on the individual and their lifestyle. So lets discuss what Protein actually is and what it does in the body. The most important thing to understand is that Protein is found in every single cell and tissue in the body. It's found in bones, muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood. It also helps makes enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals your body produces to stay alive (pretty important right!) Without protein our body simply can't survive.
Protein can be further broken down into its basic building blocks called Amino Acids. These Amino Acids are classified as either Essential or Non-Essential based on the body's ability to produce them. While the body can produce Non-Essential Amino Acids it does not have the ability to produce Essential ones. These must be consumed through our diet. This is where protein supplements may come in handy. So the question is... Do I need to supplement? and Why?
The simple answer is maybe. The truth is that it really depends on your activity level, and goals. While the basic recommendation for protein consumption is 0.8g per kilogram of body mass this may not be enough for your particular needs. These recommendations are meant to prevent protein deficiency. For someone who is looking to optimize there performance their needs will be slightly higher, somewhere in the 1.4g-2.0g per kg of bodyweight.
If you're consistently training hard 5-6 days per week your protein requirements will be higher than the person who trains 2-3 days per week. The 2-3 day a week person will without a doubt be hire than the person who skips the gym entirely to binge on Netflix. The point I'm trying to make is that everyone is different. In order to calculate your needs you can use this simple formula:
For example a 200 pound individual might look something like this:
200 pounds / 2.2 pounds per kilogram = 91 kilograms
91kg x 1.4g/kg = 127 grams of protein = Low end of protein needs
91kg x 2.0g/kg = 182 grams of protein = High end of protein needs
If math isn't your thing you can jump to our calculator which will provide you with an optimal range of protein consumption that you can adjust depending on your goals and lifestyle.
So now that you have a basic understanding of what your protein needs are let's discuss why someone may need to supplement protein in there diet. I mean, couldn't we simply get all of our protein needs from eating whole nutritious foods like beef, fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy products. The simple answer is Yes! However, it's not always convenient.
Convenience! We all know that life can get busy. Finding time to exercise, cook, work, and have a life can be challenging. This is where protein supplements come in handy. For example let's say today you decided to skip lunch with your co-workers and hit the gym instead. You only have an hour for lunch so time is limited. You know you don't have time for a quality meal and a workout. Why not have a quick protein shake to finish off your workout. Or you've just got home from the gym and it's time to take little Timmy to basketball practice. You know you don't have time enjoy a chicken breast and salad but your stomach has been growling since you left work. How about a protein shake as a snack to hold you over. It's quick, convenient, and has minimal calories when you compared to a Double Quarter Pounder. Simply fill up your shaker bottle with water add a scoop of protein mix and enjoy a double rich chocolate shake as you pull away from the gym satisfied and full.
Weight Loss! Numerous studies have shown that dietary protein can be a powerful catalyst in reaching your weight loss goals. By consuming more protein at meals you may be able to improve and maintain an optimal body composition (more lean body mass, less fat mass). You'll also have a stronger immune system meaning less sick days away from the gym, and better athletic performance meaning you'll be able to work harder and burn more calories when you do workout. It's important to understand that maintaining lean body mass is important because the more lean body mass that we have the more calories we burn at rest. More calorie burnt means more weight lost!
Building Mass! While this may sound like something a bodybuilder needs there are other people who could benefit from gaining Muscle Mass or Lean Body Mass (LBM). As stated above LBM helps burn more calories throughout the day which ultimately leads to weight loss. Elderly people can also benefit from an adequate intake of protein. As we age we can lose up to 8% of LBM each decade starting in our 30's. An adequate intake of protein along with resistance training can help reverse this trend. For the aging population this allows them to maintain their independence in activities of daily living.
We've already talked a little about what protein is and why using a protein supplement might be necessary. We've also touched on Who should use protien supplements.
It's anyone who fails to meet their individual protein requirements through diet. Those looking to lose weight or add muscle. Remember if your training hard and you can't get enough protein through your diet then a supplement is an excellent way to get the protein that you need.
Finally, lets talk about when you should be ingesting protein. If you've already taken the time to determine your protein needs then we can begin to layout out a protein schedule.
Using our 200 pound individual from the example we decided that the optimal range of protein fell somewhere between 127-182g of protein. Let's assume our person is pretty hardcore and they're training 6 days per week. It would be beneficial for this person to be on the high side right?
A protein schedule for this person might be to eat 6x per day consuming about 30g of protein at each meal. In order to make this happen this person would have to consume a lot of lean meat, eggs, and dairy.
Is it impossible for this person to get all of his needs from whole nutritious foods? No, however being able to replace 1-2 of these meals/snacks with a protein shake and a peice of fruit or a salad is convenient.
No matter your goals we've seen that protein is important for all walks of life because Protein is found in every single cell and tissue in the body. Without protein our body simply can't survive.
In terms of pre and post workouts it is going to be important to ingest some protein before and after your workout. The good news Is Route 250 Health & Performance understands those needs and is in the works of installing a first class Juice bar to deliver all your pre and post workout needs. We will handle your workouts you can handle the rest.