How much protein do you need after exercise? You may already know this answer, but I want to make sure!
I’m all for getting a little more protein in your diet, but enough is enough. Some of the protein shakes you can buy have 40 or 50 grams.
Do you really need that much protein after you exercise? Nope.
Resistance training causes muscle breakdown, and to repair those muscles over the course of a few days, you need amino acids from protein.
But for quite a few years now research has proven that we only need to consume a moderate amount of protein after exercise to begin the rebuilding process and keep the fat loss process humming along.
Just to give you an example of how this is researched, in one study scientists put six young men through an intense leg workout on five separate occasions. After the workout, they received 0, 5, 10, 20, or 40 grams of whole egg protein. The 20-gram protein dose caused maximum muscle protein synthesis. More important, when the subjects consumed any more than 20 grams, their bodies simply used the excess protein for energy (just as the body uses carbohydrates and fat), and part of the amino acids got excreted in their urine.
In other words, when you consume excessive amounts of protein, whatever you don’t need literally gets flushed away. Eating more protein than you need does NOT force your muscles to repair and rebuild faster.
Look at it this way. Imagine that your muscles are a factory, and the amino acids delivered to your muscles are parts. Inside the factory, little workers are building more muscle. But the factory has a limited rate of production.
It doesn’t matter how many extra parts get delivered. Those little muscle-factory workers can only work so hard and so fast. So those excess parts just sit there and eventually get removed by the factory’s clean-up crew and turned into waste. (If the factory is paying a pretty penny for those parts, it’s a waste of money too.)
So for your post workout meal you could consume a 20-gram protein shake or simply eat a regular meal that contains 20 grams of protein. If you’re in fat loss mode, makes sure that meal doesn’t have too much sugar!
I hope this helped remind you of what you already knew or brought some new useful information your way!