There are a number of myths when it comes to protein and working out. The common consensus tends to be we more, more, more and that’s not entirely true. In today’s blog, I want to debunk 5 common protein myths.
5 Protein Myths Debunked …
1. More protein = more muscle – Although it is true that protein helps your body repair and build muscle, that’s not ALL your body needs to build muscle. Obtaining a healthy physique comes down to a number of things including your workout regime, protein, carb, and fat intake, as well as vitamin and nutrient levels. This is especially important the older you get. Resistance training is crucial to slow loss of muscle, mobility, and prevent injuries. Properly fueling your body with all of the things it needs, is the be the best possible way to increase muscle and strength.
2. If I’m working out, I need to be taking a protein supplement – This is not true! In fact, the only time you should be supplementing your health is if you cannot reach the recommended daily intake with whole foods. Your goal should be to meet all of your nutrient needs through proper nutrition first. If those needs cannot be met, then look at integrating high-quality supplements where needed. What you want to ask yourself when it comes to supplements is, “What’s in it?” and “What’s it doing for my body?” Many supplements contain artificial ingredients that can be harmful and/or cannot be absorbed or digested. This will not improve your levels and may cause additional issues as well. When it comes to supplements, you usually get what you pay for so do your research. Grabbing any old protein shake off the shelf is not going to be what best benefits your health. If you do decide to supplement with a health shake, go for one made from whole food sources and does not contain artificial ingredients.
3. Vegans and vegetarians do not get enough protein because they don’t eat meat – It is true that vegans and vegetarians have to work a bit harder to reach their daily recommended protein intake, but it’s definitely possible. Often times you have to get more creative in combining your proteins to make sure you are getting your complete proteins (proteins that contain all essential amino acids). Whereas meats are considered complete proteins, the only non-meat source that is complete is soy (which you want to ingest on a limited basis). There are a number of things vegans and vegetarians can combine to create complete proteins such as vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
4. I need to eat protein immediately after my workout – Protein should be ingested 1-2 hours post work to aid in muscle growth and recovery. However, that is not the entire truth! Those proteins should also be ingested with carbs because your carb source is what’s depleted during your workout … not your protein. Protein is a slow release energy source that is not depleted after an intense workout and in fact, doesn’t provide a whole lot during your workout either because the release is so slow. Carbs are your quick energy source and your only source during anaerobic workouts. Carb reserves can be depleted within 3 hours of strenuous activity and you will still have protein reserves left. As we discussed, try to get your protein and carbs from a whole food source post-workout. A few good post-workout snacks are:
- Apple with almond butter
- Whole grain bread with tuna
- Sweet potatoes and chicken
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Cottage cheese with fruit
5. Eating more protein will keep my weight down – Protein can increase satiety (feeling full), which can produce temporary weight loss. However, to lose or maintain weight everything has to work together. Having a diet that exceeds your protein needs, can trigger weight gain as well. This happens when your body has more protein then it can use. A portion is released, and the rest is stored as fat.
So you may be thinking, well how much protein do I need? The recommended range for protein in men and women is 10-35% of your daily calories. You’ll notice that is a big range and that’s because there are a number of factors including sex, age, metabolism, activity level, health issues, etc. The standard recommendation is 0.8 kilograms of protein per kilogram of body weight. For athletes and those of you working out at NCS, you can take that number from 1.2-2.0 kilograms of protein per kilograms of body weight. From there, let your body tell you if adjustments need to be made. Pay attention to your energy levels, mental clarity, physical strength, sleep patterns, etc.
If you need more specific help with your daily caloric needs and macros, don’t hesitate to reach out to your NCS staff. Figuring out what your specific body needs, will take you really far in your personal health journey.