Summer is here, lockdowns are (fingers crossed) over and that means many of us have been back at the gym, pounding the pavement and potentially refocusing on our fitness.
When it comes to getting back into shape, working out and being consistent are only part of the equation though. If your diet isn’t right, you won’t get those healthy gains that make you look like a superhero.
We’ve all heard stories about people getting fit and muscular on meat milkshakes and the like, but how much protein do you really need to gain muscle? And what’s the secret to getting gains like a Hemsworth?
Just kidding, we all know his muscles come from the fact he is, obviously, the God of Thunder...
Sports Dietician and YoPro ambassador Jess Spendlove, who has worked with National and international sporting stars from the NRL, NBL, AFL, Giants Netball and Super Rugby, tells Yahoo Lifestyle the key to good health and muscle development begins with good protein.
What is protein?
“Protein is one of the four macronutrients and is made up of 22 amino acids, known as building blocks,” Jess says.
“Protein is important for a number of roles and functions in the body, including building and repairing muscles and bones, as well as making hormones and enzymes.”
So if you're working out regularly, how much protein should you eat and when should you have it?
3 tips for hitting your daily protein goals
1. Spread out your protein intake
“One area which I think needs more attention is the regular and frequent hits of protein across the day," Jess says.
"While the meal or snack post workout is important for recovery, we know the ability to gain and maintain lean mass is elevated for 24-48 hours post workout. If you are someone who trains most days this means you are always in a state of recovery, which is why aiming for 4-6 hits of 20-40 grams of protein regularly across the day, is key.”
2. Find different sources of protein
Jess stresses that hitting your protein goals (which are different for everyone) "doesn’t physically mean eating half a chicken breast at breakfast". But rather it means looking for other sources of good quality protein to have during meals and snacks.
Some good options Jess suggests are:
3x Eggs on toast with avocado
High protein yoghurt like YoPRO Perform with oats, berries & natural peanut butter
Tuna and whole grain Vita-weats with tomato & cucumber
Smoothie with liquid or milk of choice, high protein yoghurt and frozen fruit
3. Protein post-workout is ideal
When it comes to post-workout snacks, according to Jess, protein is the clear winner.
“Protein is very important post-workout,” Jess enthuses. “It has a main role in helping repair muscle damage. By ingesting it post workout it also helps optimise adaptation to training, strength gains and manages appetite across the day.”
So how long after a workout should we consume protein?
“Consuming a post workout snack or meal after 30-60 minutes is good,” answers Jess.
So whether you want to be buff like Thor or Captain Marvel, or athletic like Spider-Man, make protein your best friend and you really can’t go wrong..
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