How to Take Protein For Maximum Benefit
Protein is one of the major components of our diet and is all hailed for its muscle building and repairing benefits. Though all of us need protein at all stages of life to maintain tissues of our hair, organs, enzymes and bones, it only starts getting our serious attention when we start working out. According to the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR), the protein content in our diet should range between 10-35% of daily calories, depending on the individual’s needs. People working out need to stay on the higher side as their muscles are constantly being repaired and built.
A protein regulated diet doesn’t come cheap and you should know how and when to take this macronutrient to avail its full benefit.
How much protein to take in a day
It is absolutely necessary to work your muscles to grow them other than taking proteins. Without complementing your diet with an adequate amount of workout, your muscle will not grow. As there’s a limit to the exercise one can do in a day, there’s a limit to your protein intake as well, as consuming anything beyond it is not going to help you and will in fact get stored as fat. As too much of anything is harmful, too much of protein can cause calcium loss, dehydration and strain kidneys. It is recommended to take 0.8-2g protein for every kg of body weight depending on your lifestyle; and to distribute it in doses of 15-25g protein per meal to allow muscle synthesis throughout the day.
Dietary sources of protein are meat, eggs, lentils and dairy products. However, if your food is not fulfilling your daily intake quota then you need to add supplements to your diet. Whey and Casein forms of protein are the most popular choices, with whey with its simple structure being recommended during workouts for easy and quick absorption.
Right time to take protein
Protein is best utilised when taken in intervals throughout the day.
- The most important time is right after the workout. You have just worked your muscles; they are torn and need repairing. Have an easily absorbable protein like whey immediately after the workout.
- The next best time to take protein is before sleeping. Your body is going to fast for a few hours and taking protein that goes on absorbing slowly (like casein) while you sleep is a good way to recuperate those muscles.
- Have protein in breakfast. This makes up for the night’s sleep as well as sets you up for the day. Eggs, peanut butter or a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder are ideal choices for this time.
- Have it before workout so that the muscle breakdown is not severe during workout.
You may also use this calculator to give you a rough dosage estimate of each macronutrient you should be taking every day.
Don’t forget to eat sufficient calories from healthy fats or complex carbs, as only then your body will be able to derive energy from those sources and use protein for muscle synthesis. Lack of calories will make your body use up your muscle reserves to fuel itself. Fats also help in maintaining testosterone levels, which in turn makes your workouts and muscle production better.