Supplementing with protein shakes has a reputation for being “jockey”. Do they really help or is it just a fad?
We know that protein is the macro-nutrient used by the body to repair and build muscle tissue. By taking it soon after a workout, the body is more quickly able to repair and recover. This is the main argument used to sell protein supplements.
Do you need Protein?
Everyone needs protein to get better! However, using a protein supplement is a whole other thing! Supplements are designed to add to a healthy nutrition plan. Therefore, they should not be used as meal replacements. Think of them as just filling the gaps, if any exist.
This is the most obvious sign you might need protein supplementation… you are not getting enough protein. If you add up your daily protein intake, would you be consuming enough for a good recovery? Active people need about 1.2grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight per day (1.2 grams/kg bw/day). Athletes need up to between 1.8 grams 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body-weight per day, depending on the intensity and type of training.
So, if you are an 80kg male, the math looks something like this:
1.8 x 80 = 144 grams per day
This is on the upper end, but ensures that you’ll have enough for a complete recovery. Don’t forget that excess protein is simply processed and excreted. Protein is not a nutrient you can store for later! As a result, it must be taken regularly and consistently. This brings us to the next reason why you might need supplementation!
If you finish your WOD and let more than 45 minutes pass before eating carbs and protein, you are not getting protein at the right moment! There is an optimal period after working out in which the body desperately needs replenishment. Think of your digestive system eagerly waiting for nourishment to turn into fuel. It waits… waits, and if nothing arrives it slowly turns to other sources. Your own muscle and body tissue is often used up!
Perhaps your performance could be improved by adding a little supplementation where needed!
Finding the right post WOD protein
It’s a huge market. Finding what is good among hundreds of protein supplements can be tough! Ideally, for a post- CrossFit protein supplement, you’ll want between 12 and twenty grams of a pure, low fat protein. Something like whey isolate or hydrolysate. It is absorbed quickly in the system. For those who do not eat dairy, alternate quality proteins are rice or pea based. Proteins containing egg albumin can also be a good option.
Finally, a protein with a wide range of essential amino acids listed on the label is good. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and what we really need post workout. A wide variety of the 22 essential amino acids is great, along with a good portion of each!
Don’t forget that the right carbohydrates are as essential after a workout. Don’t shy away from protein supplements which contain some sugar. Avoid sucrose and artificial sweeteners if possible, and pair your protein up with a fruit if you can.
If you think you could benefit from protein supplementation, go ahead and check out reviews to find a high quality protein ideal for you.
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