Protein Drinks-What, Why and When? (the Basics)

  2017-05-12 10:00AM

Many of us can still remember our first day at CrossFit. It may not have been as much about the WOD as it was about the other athletes and what they were doing. Shaker bottles? Protein? Intriguing. Protein is simple yet can be overwhelming to new Crossfitters who have never found the need to supplement it before. This is basic information to help get you started. What is Protein? Protein is one of the body's main building blocks for muscle, bone, skin, and other tissues that can also serve as a fuel source. Protein can be consumed as a supplement in powder form that mixes easily with water or in a solid bar form that's easy for on the go. There are many protein-enriched whole foods that you can add to your diet as well. Some key ones include eggs, lean meat, beans, spinach, kale, almond butter and greek yogurt. Why Protein? A protein supplement isn't necessary but it is definitely beneficial to a CrossFit athlete because it will help you gain lean muscle, burn fat and recover faster. That means you will be less sore so you can perform better and achieve your goals faster. Protein helps by restoring muscle glycogen which gets used up during endurance workouts and it helps repair damage to muscles that can occur with weightlifting. A well-balanced meal may be all you need; however, taking a protein supplement may help you meet your protein needs more efficiently. When do you Consume Protein? It is best to consume protein immediately post-workout when your muscles have been broken down and need the protein to help rebuild. A shake or bar is convenient because it allows you to consume the nourishment your body needs right away. The average CrossFit Athlete should try to consume about 1-1.5 grams per body weight pound per day including those from your clean food choices. If you consume about 20-30 grams post-workout and you have a well-balanced diet for the rest of the day, you will be ok. If you are unsure of how much protein your food choices have, try using an app such as My Fitness Pal to help track you for a few days. You may be surprised about how little or how much protein your favorite foods have. Try not to get caught up in what the "best" protein is, but instead look for one that will help get you started. Most people start with a Whey based protein but if you are avoiding Whey, look for one that is plant-based. Be sure to stick to a well-balanced, whole food diet and you will be well on your way to a successful CrossFit experience.


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