What is it? How can it help me?
Protein serves a number of functions in your body—from muscle contraction to formation of hormones and enzymes—among others. It’s one of three macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat are the other two) your body needs on a daily basis.
All proteins are made up of tiny building blocks known as amino acids. Protein provides your muscles with the necessary amino acids needed for muscle recovery.
When do I use it?
Protein should be consumed throughout the day. It’s important to time your protein intake around your workouts, and especially within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. Taking advantage of this post-exercise “window of opportunity” ensures your muscles have the necessary fuel for rebuilding and repair.
How much do I need?
Consuming at least 15-20 grams of high-quality, intact protein as part of post-exercise recovery is critical. Examples of high-quality protein include whey (isolate or concentrate), casein, and soy protein.
The average adult needs at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (56 grams for an average 154-pound male), daily. Protein needs will vary based on age, gender, and the type of athlete.
Endurance athletes should aim for 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, daily. For strength athletes, 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (84 grams to 120 grams of protein each day for an average 154- pound male, or 65 grams to 92 grams of protein each day for an average 120- pound female).
More helpful information
Different types of protein are broken down at different rates by the body. For example, whey protein is rapidly digested (fast protein), causing a quick rise in plasma amino acids. By comparison, casein protein takes a longer time to digest (slow protein), providing a more gradual, sustained increase in plasma amino acids. Soy and plants protein is not recommended, because we have no ability to digest cellulose like cows do.