Why is everyone so crazy about protein?
Well in very simple terms protein is a building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It satisfies hunger and stops cravings by making you feel fuller for longer. If you put protein with carbohydrate-rich foods it slows down the absorption of sugar from your stomach into your bloodstream, which may help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Protein also takes more energy to process, so you burn more calories. It supports muscle repair and growth so is really key for people engaging in strength training and hitting up the weights.
Sounds pretty good right? I thought I'd pick out some key questions I hear all the time and see if I can make sense out of it all for you.
When is best to have protein?
Another question you see asked a LOT on social media, so here's what I've found out. I'm going to keep this as simple as possible, there's loads of great detailed information all over the internet. One of the most useful sources I found was on bodybuilding.
Pre-workout: It seems Whey protein consumed around an hour ish before your workout is the most recommended advice I've come across.
During: General advice seems to be people don't tend to train enough to justify needing a protein boost mid-session, this is Joe Bloggs I'm referring to here.
After: It is universally accepted that protein consumption after a workout, varying in quantities based on your size and goals is the way to go!
How to naturally consume protein
There seems to be a lot of fixation on shakes, bars, balls and all kinds of weird and wonderful ways to up your protein and a lack of focus on how we can really simply consume our protein from normal foods.
Authority Nutrition have done a really simple list called 14 Easy Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake which is definitely worth a look at if you're just starting out and looking for easy, low cost options to up your protein.
Protein rich food
Protein rich foods: Eggs, Milk, Soya, Cottage Cheese, Steak, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish, Yogurt... there's loads as you can well imagine but it really can be straight forward to increase protein in your diet without forking out for powders and snacks. I've nothing against protein bars and shakes, they're great if you're limited on time and need a quick boost but I do think it is far easier and healthier to work on the increase across your core diet.
There are also loads of people on Instagram and fitness blogs who have created healthy protein balls and oodles of protein shakes so don't be afraid to get in the kitchen and get stuck in.
So hopefully this will have made sense of some of the jargon you've been reading so far on protein, any questions just shout!