Want to get the most out of your weighted workouts? While we all have different fitness goals, we can agree that pushing our limits a little more each time will bring on results faster. However, the answer to higher endurance and noticeable physical changes starts with what you put into your body. Nourishing your body with sufficient protein can support and boost your strength-training efforts.
But how exactly can an increase in protein intake enhance your workouts? And how much protein should you be consuming for maximum results? Let’s jump right in.
Protein and strength workouts go hand-in-hand
To get started, we first need to understand why protein is so important in our diet. Protein is made up of amino acids that serve as building blocks and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. In other words, the amino acids found in protein are essential to repair muscle damage caused by strength training, and in turn, boost muscle growth. However, the protein in our bodies is continually being used up, so it’s advised that we eat enough protein daily to restore these essential amino acids.
But what does this mean in terms of working out and, more importantly, strength workouts? The same study states that when our bodies run out of protein, we could face a decrease in strength, body mass, and athletic performance.
With this in mind, the best approach to achieving your fitness goals is by stocking up on protein. Not only will it keep your cells in good shape and build and repair tissue after a gruelling workout, but it also helps oxygenate your entire body, supplying it with the nutrients needed to stay healthy.
But how much protein do you need?
Your individual protein requirements will come down to how often you exercise, your weight and the intensity of your workouts.
Susan Bowerman, Senior Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition, suggests two methods to help you identify your ideal daily protein intake.
- For method one, you need to calculate your body’s lean mass. Then allocate about 1 to 2 grams of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass. Not sure how to work out your lean mass? Visit a gym and get a body composition measurement done, or step on a special scale that can work it out for you.
- Method two might not be as accurate as method one, but it will give you a rough estimate of how much protein you should be taking in. Just multiply your body weight by 1,5. So if you weigh 65 kg, you should be eating around 100 g of protein a day.
Food and drink high in protein
Let’s face it, we don’t have time to cook up a piece of lean meat with veg every single time hunger hits. We need something that’s fast, convenient, and protein-rich without all the added sugar. And while foods like chicken, fish, beef, beans, and tofu are all great sources of protein, they take time to heat up, sit down, and eat.
Not to generalise, but people love convenience. We love accessing the things we want and need without it having any significant impact on our schedules. Have an online meeting in five minutes? No problem – grab a protein bar. Late for your exercise class and no time for dinner? A protein shake will get you through your workout.
Protein-rich foods and drinks like these play a supportive role in how our bodies function before, during, and after a workout, especially for strength training. They provide a convenient source of nutrients, are always ready to eat (or drink), and can give you enough energy to exercise for longer and increase your endurance.
Whatever your health and fitness goals, make sure to prioritise your protein intake. By making protein a priority every day, you’ll ace your workouts and aid your muscles to repair and grow. Remember to always listen to your body, and if it feels a little weak on your exercise days, fuel it with protein-rich foods and drinks to keep it moving, operating, and recovering optimally.