A.) Ah, a gym lover’s most talked-about nutrient – Protein! A refresher on the PURPOSE of protein – to build and repair tissue. Your body’s tissues are constantly in need of repair – your hair, skin, nails, muscles…all require building blocks called amino acids that make up a protein. During exercise – strength training in particular – your muscles are overloaded, causing microtears in the muscle fibers (that’d be the soreness you feel the next day). With adequate rest and proper nutrition – including protein intake – these fibers can build back up stronger and larger in diameter. Studies have shown that you have a 2-hr window where your cells (including muscles cells) take up nutrients the best…and the sooner, the better.

This replenishment can come, ideally, in the form of a regular meal or real-food snack that includes lean protein. If you are not able to eat real-food right away or cannot stomach solid foods right after a workout, consuming a protein shake is recommended to help the healing and rebuilding process. There is no magic number for how much, but aim for at least 10 g of protein. While every person is different depending on mode of activity, the average person should aim for .8g/kg body weight per day (divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get kg). Those looking to bodybuild should aim for at least 1.5g/kg bodyweight per day.

While protein is an important part of muscle development, most of our daily food intake supplies us with adequate amounts of protein, so no need to go too overboard. If weight control is an issue, watch total calories and remember that if protein has done its job and repaired what is needed and we continue to ingest more, we will just be sending it to be converted to fat. And, as my wonderful client Lee would shout… TNG! (that’s never good)…

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