The building blocks for the animal and human body is protein. Protein is responsible for the building, repair and maintenance of our lean muscle tissue. It’s important to eat an appropriate amount every day to keep the muscles in an anabolic (muscle building) state. Therefore, protein recommendations for endurance and strength-trained athletes range from .5 to .8 g/lb body weight per day. One way to ensure enough protein intake is to ingest protein every 3 hours and take in around 22-36 grams at each sitting. This is why protein supplementation may be necessary.
Protein intake just prior to sport activity has not been shown to enhance performance. However, protein ingestion post-workout within 30 minutes helps speed those Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) to the muscle where they are needed the most.
Protein drinks are helpful for amino acid supplementation post workout, however not all companies are concerned with quality of ingredients. Make sure the protein supplement is whey protein sourced from free range cows and is undenatured. Whey is king when it comes to bioavailability of the protein to the body, and causes the body to burn more calories when eaten.
A complete protein source is one that provides all the essential amino acids. You may also hear these sources called “high quality proteins.”
Complete proteins are found in animal based foods, such as: Eggs, dairy products, lean chicken, beef, fish, and whey protein concentrate. An incomplete protein source is one that is lacking in one or more essential amino acids. Examples of incomplete proteins are nuts, legumes, grains, and beans. Individuals who are vegetarian or vegan often need to combine their proteins from different foods so that they complete the essential amino acid profile.