There’s no denying that there is a plethora of information on protein. In fact if you search “Protein in diet” there is 54.7 million (you read that right) results. The question that is raised now is, how much of this information is quality? How much is pertinent? What do YOU need to know to create a lifestyle that promotes a long, high quality life, where you can look good on the beach?
This is important because protein intake can be abused. Too little protein results in low amino acids in your body. Your body then turns to your muscles for these acids, and when you take these away, your muscles deteriorate and you become weaker. Over time, low protein may result in decrease amounts of antibodies or other immune molecules. You might become increasingly irritable and develop a skin rash and changes to your hair texture. However, the other side of this coin is just as bad. Too much protein can result in weight gain, kidney failure, and even cancer. So, what do you need to know to find your sweet spot? Here are three things you need to know
1. Recommended Daily Allowances don’t account for your individual fitness goals
The classic saying in sports “They’ve got the other team on their heels” can be literally interpreted in this scenario. Much like a sports team, when you land on your heels when your heels it can shorten endurance, and in long the run cause major chronic injury. With studies showing the 50-80% of runners are injured on the average year, monitoring your footstrike is extremely important. While running on your heels may be a part of your natural gait (and that’s ok if this is the case), it’s more likely that you’re overstriding. This means you are extending your body too far when you’re run and landing on your heels is the effect. This causes you to become tired quicker. However, the major issue with a heel footstrike is the constant pounding is creates on your ankles, shins, and knees. A heel footstrike can lead to shin splints, knee issues, and possible stress fractures. Look to run as “lightly” as you can, with a natural forward lean and a midfoot strike.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institutes of Medicine sets recommended daily allowances (RDAs) to help guide fitness choices. You know RDA’s best from the labels on your food. Usually, the Food and Nutrition Board recommends about one gram of protein for every 2 pounds of body weight. However, these recommendations are for avoiding deficiencies, not attaining your fitness goals. Seek out your own plan based on your workouts to achieve the right level of protein.
2. Protein needs increase with age, so start early
Building muscle requires work, and that work gets harder as you age. According to a study at Penn State University, older men must intake 31 grams of protein per meal to achieve the same protein synthesis younger men achieve when only intaking 19 grams.
Not only is it imperative to intake higher amounts of protein as you get older, but also to start building your muscle and introducing a protein now! Consider your muscles and their protein intake like a bank account; the earlier you start saving, the richer you’ll be later in life. Maintaining muscle in old age it much easier than building it, so start making active changes today.
3. Take Protein before bed and as you wake
Is there ever another time in the day when you don’t consume any energy for 6-8 hours? Consuming protein before bed improves synthesis overnight and will prevent overeating in the morning. Take it again in the morning to fuel muscle growth and a suppressed desire to overeat throughout the day. Further, the amino acids power our brain’s neurotransmitters, a requirement for a healthy and active brain at the beginning of every morning.