More than 75% of American adults proclaim that being fit & healthy and looking good is very important to them.  Unfortunately, nearly half of them are not active at all, significantly contributing to the escalating obesity rate in the country.  As important as working out is both for pro-athletes and general health-conscious public, so too is making sure your efforts are fuelled by optimal nutrition. While a balanced diet is vital for overall health and well-being, it is protein, in particular, that can take your exercise regime to the next level. Not only is it important to consume the correct amounts of protein, but also to consume it at the right time. The timing of your protein consumption largely depends on your fitness goals. If you want to lose weight you may, for example, want to take your protein differently to how you would if you wanted to build lean muscle.

Sensible protein consumption is, without any doubt, one of the best ways to get the most out of every single exercise session.

Protein can aid in weight loss

Protein is without a doubt one of the most important nutrients for weight loss. By now it is common knowledge that a protein-rich diet boosts the metabolism and alters a number of weight-regulating hormones. There are, however, many opposing views when it comes to the best time to take your protein. Protein assists in controlling the appetite by reducing ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger, while also effectively boosting the levels of a range of appetite-suppressing hormones including cholecystokinin, peptide YY, and glucagon-like peptide-1. A study published by the National Institutes of Health found that eating a snack that is high in protein between your meals can help you reduce your calorie intake for the remainder of the day. If you want to lose weight, it is therefore suggested to eat snacks such as a boiled egg, spoonful of peanut butter, and a protein bar. However, when you opt for the latter, make sure it’s a protein bar without any added sugar as sugar can hinder your weight-loss efforts significantly.

Protein boosts lean muscle mass

There isn’t often agreement among fitness professionals on what the best time for consuming protein for muscle growth is. While many are of the belief that a protein supplement is most effective when taken in the time frame best known as the anabolic window. Whereas it was previously believed that this window is only open for up to 60 minutes after exercise, new research has found that it is, in fact, a lot bigger than previously believed. If you want to build optimum lean muscle, scientists from the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggest you consume protein within two hours of completing your workout. There are a variety of good protein sources to choose from for a post-workout meal including chicken breast, tofu, fatty fish, or Greek yogurt.

Protein improves fitness performance and recuperation

Even fitness professionals may be unsure from time to time about when exactly they should take protein to boost both recovery and performance. What everyone does agree on, however, is that protein is essential for muscle recovery after intense exercise. By mixing carbs with protein both during and after endurance training you can not only expect to notice an improvement in your performance, while protein without the presence of carbs both before and after a workout will suffice when you are partaking in resistance training. More often than not, the amount of protein consumed is of more importance than when you consume it.

The success of your workouts depends largely on what you fuel them with. Sensible protein consumption is, without any doubt, one of the best ways to get the most out of every single exercise session.

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Sally Perkins

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

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