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The Deal with Protein Shakes
If you've ventured into the fitness world, you've heard the hype around protein shakes. The magical shakes or powders that help you lose weight and make you stronger, right? Protein is essential to any person, not just athletes, but are protein shakes and powders really necessary?
"Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together and you've got a kingdom." – Jack LaLanne
What You Need to Know About Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps your body grow, repair cells, and basically allows your body to work like it's supposed to. It also helps boost your immune system and is praised for its abilities to help control appetite and promote muscle growth. So — protein is pretty great!
An average person who has a healthy, balanced diet will get enough protein through their food. The recommended amount of protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should get 55 grams of protein daily. If you weigh 200 pounds — try 70 grams per day.
However, an athlete who consistently does intense workouts or weight trains often may need additional protein, usually around double the recommended amount, about 2 grams per kilogram. Adding extra protein into your diet is especially helpful if your main fitness goal is to build muscle. Of course, you do need to keep putting in the work; protein isn’t magic. But, that extra protein is needed to help your body repair and grow your muscles if you're doing activities like lifting weights. Still, the amount you need depends on your weight and activity levels. Canadian Living shows some simple ways to calculate the amount of protein you need based on your daily calories and weight.
Also, consider when you're consuming that protein. With the popularity of pre-workout drinks, you might think before your workout is the right time to get your protein. But, it's actually recommended to eat or drink your extra protein after your workout. This timing will help repair your muscle fibres damaged from exercises like weight lifting and improve your recovery time.
What About Protein Shakes & Powders?
Protein powders and shakes are dietary supplements designed to give you an extra protein boost on top of your regular diet. They're not a magical key to weight loss and won't make you a better athlete instantly. But, studies have shown that they are effective at helping you build muscle. Also, protein, in general, can act as a way to control your appetite, so it can help you consume fewer calories as part of your weight loss journey.
Protein shakes and powders aren't the only way to get extra protein, but they're definitely convenient! You can also add more healthy foods to your diet that pack a lot of protein — like chicken breasts, eggs, fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
As with any new thing you're adding to your diet, you want to be mindful of what protein shakes and powders you're getting. With the popularity of protein shakes, some out there pack more sugar than protein. Check out this list of recommended ready-to-drink protein shakes or this list of the top recommended protein powders.
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