Proteins are the building blocks of life and have a vast number of functions that include DNA replication, being a catalyst for metabolic reactions and transportation of molecules from cell to cell. The Week caught up with Sachit Pradhan of Platinum Fitness to talk about why protein consumption is important and how you can get enough protein in your diet after a good workout.
Protein isn’t just for body builders, with their protein bars and shakes, it is important for everyone who exercises to consume enough protein. These workouts don’t have to be hardcore gym sessions either. Even if you are going on a run or playing any kind of sports, you should be getting your dose of protein. The general rule of thumb is that when you are training, the minimum protein intake you should have is a gram for every kilo of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 60 kilos, your minimum protein intake should be 60 grams.
“When you exercise you have a lot of muscle tears,” says Pradhan, “and protein is what helps repair these muscles.” However, you should also consume some carbohydrate as it makes it easier for your body to convert the protein into muscle mass. This combination also plays a role in weight loss. A combination on carbohydrate and protein rich food makes sure that the food you eat is absorbed into your blood stream slowly, which balances the blood sugar level. This helps in curbing future cravings as the fluctuation of blood sugar level is what makes you crave junk food. Since it keeps you full for a longer period of time, it effectively cuts down on your daily calorie intake as well. “Your body burns more calories while burning protein than it does while burning any other kinds of food. It is due to the ‘thermic effect of food’ which is energy expenditure above the resting metabolic rate due to the cost of processing food for use and storage,” reveals Pradhan.
If you are working out normally it isn’t always necessary to get the required amount of protein from supplements, you can easily cover your daily intake through food.
The amount of protein you get differs on how you cook your egg. While a large raw egg, complete with a yolk, has 2.7 grams of protein the same after boiling has six grams and scrambled eggs have roughly 10 grams of it. It is not only rich in protein but has a plethora of other nutrients as well. Some of them include calcium, vitamin A, Vitamin D, a small amount of magnesium as well.
In every 100 grams of chicken breast, there is approximately 31 grams of protein. Pradhan advises you have chicken breast with a side of broccoli and salads without a dressing for dinner. Try and avoid carbs as much as you can during nighttime, it is slow to digest and takes longer to burn and the fact we don’t exercise after dinner means that these carbs are deposited as fat.
For vegetarians, legumes are the best way to get in the required amount of protein if you want to steer clear of supplements. Peanuts have a high amount of protein in them and although full of fats, they don’t have a trace of calories. Legumes are also high in dietary fiber that helps in the movement of food in your digestive system and helps in the absorption of nutrients in your body too.
Considered as one of the most important post workout food, fish (particularly salmon) are not only high in protein but also have omega 3 fatty acids and a high level of Vitamin B-12. You can grill it, put it in soup, stir fry it, or have it however you want it. There is no going wrong with this fish and the distinct flavor it provides, packed with almost all of your dietary needs, makes it an item to savor.
If you start a rigorous workout regime, the normal diet might not be able to give you the amount of protein your body requires. In this case, you will have to take supplements to give you that extra kick you need. “Opti nutrition is one of the best selling whey protein in the world, and you can find it at the gym,” says Pradhan.
The simplest way to consume your whey mix is by mixing it with water. If you are working out rigorously, you should take some of the mix before your workout and continue to sip on it throughout. Till almost 45 minutes after your workout, you have a nutrition window which means that the muscles in your body are sensitive to what you eat and are able to better absorb nutrients. Make use of this window and consume protein right after your workout as well. In order to boost your protein as well as antioxidant intake, put a tablespoon of the supplement in your fruit shake. This can also double as your breakfast as protein keeps you full for a longer period of time.