Whether the protein in your diet comes from whole food sources or from protein supplements, we all know that having enough is essential. Especially if you’re trying to build muscle or get a six pack. But when and how your body gets protein is just as important, otherwise you could be wasting your time, wasting your money, and missing out on the good it should be doing.
The purpose of protein is the repair and maintenance of every living cell in your body, including skin, tendons, ligaments, hair, and of course – muscle. We all need at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, but for someone is exercising regularly to build muscle this can be considerably more. Preferably this will come in several meals throughout the day as the body can only make use of a relatively small amount at a time. This is why protein powder generally comes with a 30 gram scoop, which should be taken with a couple of hours between servings. Any more than this and you’ll literally be flushing it down the toilet!
But still it’s not quite as simple as that.
For the protein to be transported to where it’s needed, insulin is required in your bloodstream. And the best way to cause insulin to be present in your blood is to have your protein with carbohydrates. If you’re protein source is a whole food such as chicken then it’s broken down and released relatively slowly, so a more complex carbohydrate such as rice or pasta will do the job. But if you’re protein is coming from powder and will therefore be broken down more rapidly, a more simple carbohydrate would be better.
This is especially the case if it is part of your pre, during, or post workout drink.
Many people are strict about getting their protein as soon as they’ve finished training, aware that their muscles need it to repair and grow. But few are aware that not only are carbohydrates needed as much, if not more, to restock the body’s energy stores, they are also required to create the conditions for the protein to be delivered.
Unlike any other time of the day, sugars are ideal for this. Dextrose is a very simple sugar and is very cheap to buy, as is maltodextrin though this is slightly more complex. Both will cause a rapid insulin spike so mixing either of them with protein makes an excellent drink to have around your workouts.
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