The Right Kind of Protein at the Right Time

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for anyone training or trying to lose weight, but does it matter when you eat it? Yes it does, and more than we first thought. Here’s what you need to know.

The Right Kind of Protein At the Right Time?

(Updated)  – Protein is an important building block for our body. Muscle, hair, skin and connective tissue are mainly made up of protein. In addition, protein is a unique and powerful player in all of the cells and most of the fluids in our bodies. Many of our bodies’ important chemicals such as enzymes, neurotransmitters and even our DNA are also affected by the protein we intake. We use up protein constantly with all these purposes, so it is important to continually replace it. The times of day that we partake of protein and our activity level will affect how efficiently the protein is put to use.

For the average person, experts agree that we should be eating a minimum of our body weight in pounds multiplied by .37. This means that a person weighing 150 pounds should be eating 55 grams of protein a day. Keep in mind that many foods have a high protein content and it is not as hard as it may seem to reach this minimum recommendation. Hard training athletes should significantly increase this to fuel muscle growth and repair. Many experts recommend such athletes consume 1 gram of high quality protein per pound of body weight. If that’s you, it’s diet examination time!

Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts all have substantial amounts of protein. When eaten with other foods that create a balanced meal, our bodies will function ideally from this nutrition. In addition, using organic options when possible, such as natural beef or organic fruits and vegetables will keep your body free of contaminants. These contaminants could be preventing your body from working at its maximum capacity.

Natural, grass fed beef also has another advantage as a protein source; it’s chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids that help in burning fat and improving cardio-vascular health (not endurance). Traditional, corn and soy fed beef does not deliver this powerful advantage. In addition, while traditionally fed beef is normally given prophylactic antibiotics to guard against infection, the natural, grass fed variety receives no such medication, helping to keep you free of antibiotic resistant microorganisms.

When to Eat the Protein?

For those involved with heavy weight lifting or endurance sports such as long distance running, protein requirements will be increased. Protein is a key element in building the muscles back up after an intense workout. By eating foods or supplements rich in protein within 45 minutes of the workout you will help your body from using reserves of fat and glucose, and give the muscles what they need to grow and recover.

What’s The Best Post Workout Protein?

A fast acting protein source is best immediately post-workout. Whey is the fastest acting of the protein supplements. The added protein will build your muscles at a quicker rate. In fact, research and the experience of professional athletes and trainers suggests that protein and  nutrition timing may be one of the most important aspects of increasing your muscle mass and metabolic rate.

What Kind of Protein to Eat Before Bedtime?

Eating a lot of protein at the beginning of the day may make more sense because our activity during the day will require it’s muscle building qualities. For “Joe Average”, it is wise to avoid a lot of protein when you will be sedentary, for example near bedtime. If, however you’re anything but average, and are engaged in high intensity weight training, having a serving of slow acting protein, such as that found in casein, at bed time is an excellent strategy to ensure your muscles recover and grow at their most productive time.

Are you getting the right kind of protein at the right time? If you feel a lack of energy or particularly weak after intense workouts, you should consider trying more protein in your diet. If you’re training hard, but seeing little results, a protein deficiency or timing problem may be the issue. Protein is the body’s tool for building muscles and enhancing the chemicals that make our body work efficiently. Working it into your diet is not hard but you’ll notice a difference right away.

The Preceding was a Guest Post by Cam Jarvis