Protein. A nutrient comprised of amino acids – the building blocks of skin, hair, nails, muscle and tendons, that keeps our immune systems ticking over and leaves us feeling fuller for longer.
Why should we supplement our diet with it? You know the feeling of sore muscles the day after a workout? That’s a result of microtears in your muscle fibres that need to be repaired. Amino acids are a vital component of that repair process. (The good news is that as those muscle tears are repaired, you grow stronger and fitter!)
It’s not just your muscles that need protein. Your body uses it to repair all body tissue, which includes hair, skin, nails and tendons. You can of course get it from food but it takes more time for your body to break it down.
But how much protein is too much protein? Laura Tilt, Resident Nutritonist at Innermost discusses the common mistakes people make when supplementing their diet…
The temptation is to think because a little of something is good, more must be better. Protein supplements are a great example – although it’s true that protein helps you feel fuller for longer, is the building block of all cells in your body and boosts muscle recovery after a workout, there is a ceiling effect.
Studies show consuming around 25-30 grams of protein after a workout maximises muscle recovery and growth. Anything over and above this won’t give you added benefits! Your body will simply use the extra calories for energy.
One serving of Innermost’s superfood protein blends provide around 30 grams of protein, giving you the recommended amount, along with a range of other functional ingredients. Ideal after a workout as they contain the right blend of amino acids (think of these as the individual building blocks of protein) to boost new muscle synthesis but also support the growth of healthy hair, skin and nails.
Thinking all protein is equal
Proteins come from both animal and plant foods, but different types of proteins are helpful at different times.
Having a fast digesting protein (like whey) after a workout can speed recovery, because it reaches the muscles more quickly than a meal containing high levels of fat (like a steak and fries!), because fat slows digestion.
If you are leaving the gym and your next meal is a while away, having a protein shake is one way to help kick start the recovery process. That’s when combining food with supplements can be really helpful.
Assuming one size fits all
Just because your friend or favourite Instagram personality is taking a certain type of supplement doesn’t mean it’s right for you (or even her/him!). Think carefully about your goals before investing.
That’s not to say supplements can’t be helpful – if you’re doing lots of endurance training then a supplement such as Innermost’s The Fit One can help replace electrolytes such as magnesium, which you lose in your sweat. If you’re lifting lots of heavy weights to gain strength, or reducing calories to lean down, a protein supplement can support your goal. Decide what’s important to you and tailor your supplement choices accordingly.