Beginning a fitness regimen can be an intimidating experience. There are thousands of products that all claim to help you get big or get little, depending on your goals. While any number of these products may indeed help you reach your goals, I suggest that your initial supplement purchase be a high-quality protein powder.
Even if you aren't a gym regular, adding a protein supplement can still benefit you. Although the product "protein powder" may not have a tasty connotation, the supplement industry now creates products that taste just as good as that vanilla milkshake from the local burger joint. So, don't be worried about having to choke it down. That was your dad's protein shake.
Now that we've put the taste issue to bed, consider these five reasons you should include a protein supplement in your diet:
Each and every day, whether you're participating in exercise, you'll be required to take in a certain amount of protein.
This protein provides your body with different amino acids, all which have specific purposes that must be carried out in order to maintain good health. Of these purposes, repairing and building up new muscle tissue is one of the most important.
If you find yourself not taking in enough protein, this process of rebuilding muscle tissue will not take place.
Also, protein helps maintain a nitrogen balance (or a positive balance if you're building muscle). This process ensures that you're not losing lean body tissue.
If you're beginning a fat-loss diet, your need for protein only intensifies as you cut out high-carb goodies like bread, pasta and rice. Especially if you find that you don't eat a lot of meat, dairy or fish, protein powder will make a noticeable difference.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that protein synthesis is accelerated when protein is taken in before and after your workout.
So using a fast-absorbing whey protein powder before and after you hit the gym will really pump up your results.
A pre-workout protein shake will prepare your muscles for what's to come while the post-workout shake will top off the amino acid stores to ensure help facilitate the repair process takes place.
Many of us don't get enough calcium. While you don't necessarily have to take dairy products to be healthy, and many people struggle to digest dairy foods properly, meeting your calcium intake needs is a must if you want to maintain strong bones and high energy levels.
Calcium plays an important role in muscular contractions as well. So, if your calcium levels are consistently low, there's a greater chance you won't achieve the results you seek.
Fortunately, many protein powders contain up to 20% of your daily calcium requirements in a single scoop. If you're drinking pre- and post-workout protein shakes, then you're going to meet almost half of your daily requirements without a second thought.
If you're a vegetarian, meeting your protein is a challenge. It can be difficult to cobble together complete protein profiles from grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
These products make meeting your protein requirements much easier. If you're a vegetarian and aren't watching your protein intake, you may not be getting the results you could be.
Invest in a protein powder you feel comfortable using and revel in the outcome!
Meal planning and preparation is a time-suck, but a worthwhile one. Still, there are those who don't have the time or ability to plan our meals for the week. Because of this, some of us turn to fast food or unhealthy choices instead of something wholesome.
This is understandable; it takes time to create many of the healthy, cooked meals that you enjoy. Even if you do take the time to do much of your cooking over the weekend, there will still be instances where you're running late and need a quick snack.
It provides you with a well- balanced meal source of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
If you're not at home when you need the snack, a scoop of protein powder, a third of a cup of dry oats, and a cup or two of water will get you by until you can get home and make yourself a proper meal.
It's easy to get excited about all the fancy supplements appearing on the market each and every day, but before you start investing too much money in those, make sure you've got the basics covered. A protein powder should be topping your 'fitness must-haves' list because it is a basic necessity to any successful diet and exercise plan.
- Cree, M.G. et al. (2004). Ingestion of Casein and Whey Proteins Results in Muscle Anabolism after Resistance Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Vol 36, Issue 12:2073-2081.