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HOW TO USE PROTEIN FOR SPORTS PERFORMANCE + RECOVERY

  • By
  • Teresa Cutter

Welcome to Week 3 of The Healthy Chef Protein Series. I’m excited about this week because it’s all about the importance of protein in sports nutrition. It’s a topic I’m passionate about because my years of training for fitness figure and road cycling competitions has really shown me the benefits of including good quality protein into my diet to support my performance and recovery.

Just as a high-performance sports car runs its best on premium fuel, your body needs the right kind of fuel from food. Feed it the wrong things, and your body will be deprived of the nutrients it needs to optimally function and recover.

HOW IMPORTANT IS PROTEIN?

The body reserves its protein stores for functional purposes rather than breaking them down to use as energy. Proteins are made up of amino acids and are essential nutrients that you can’t live without. Whenever the body is growing, repairing or replacing tissue, proteins are involved. They are found in your skin, bones, muscle and all your organ tissue. In addition, they are used to produce hormones, enzymes and haemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood.

The main function of protein is to build and repair, as well as sustain muscle.

The good news is that toning up and doing regular exercise doesn’t require round-the-clock stints at the gym and a whole lot of protein. I recommend around 3 – 4 exercise sessions a week and healthy diet built on solid nutrition principles that includes good quality protein sources at every meal.

Training for an endurance event, however, increases your protein requirements, as your body is continually repairing and adapting in response to each session.  Adequate protein intake is very important to keep up with these changes and to ensure that protein synthesis is supported for a quick recovery and optimal performance.

Remember, exercise is about feeling amazing, challenging yourself, clearing your head and getting the most from your body. When we’re toned, our fat to muscle ratio sits in comfortable balance. We’re strong, agile and fast. We feel good!

Being a fit and strong woman opens up options. It’s a ticket that enables you to dream big – if you’re fit and strong you can do anything!

 

HOW MUCH IS NEEDED?

Your protein requirements will depend on many factors including your gender, size, muscle mass, activity level and training intensity. As a guide, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends that exercising individuals need approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The amount is also dependent upon the quality of the protein ingested, and the status of the energy and carbohydrate intake of the individual.

 

The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends that exercising individuals need approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.

 

USING PROTEIN POWDER FOR PRE AND POST EXERCISE

The best time to consume protein is immediately after intense exercise when blood flow to the exercised muscles is high and the muscle is especially receptive to nutrients. The body is most effective at promoting muscle repair and growth in the first hour to 90 minutes after exercise, so it’s a good idea to maximise this time with a high-protein shake or snack.

SHOULD A PROTEIN POWDER BE MIXED WITH FRUITS AND VEGGIES OR WITH WATER? 

This depends on whether you want to use it as a healthy meal replacement or just a quick protein fix. As a smoothie, you’re having a complete meal, as well as a great for breakfast on the go. As a shake mixed with water, you’re getting quicker absorption into the body. This is great after a workout when your body is most receptive to the intake of protein.

A simple combination of 1 serving of Healthy Chef protein mixed with coconut water, or filtered water in a blender bottle, after a workout provides the perfect combination of hydration, fluid balance, carbohydrates and quality protein to meet your recovery needs.

 

As a complete breakfast –  1 serving of Healthy Chef protein blended with frozen banana and almond milk can make a quick healthy breakfast before you head off to work.  This smoothie will also curb appetite and keep blood sugars stable throughout the day. Some great smoothie recipes I like to recommend for sports performance and recovery include my Ultimate Chocolate Smoothie, using Healthy Chef Naked Chocolat, and my Superfood Energy Smoothie which includes the high-antioxidant blend, Healthy Chef Superfood.

 

QUALITY PROTEIN SOURCES

Healthy Chef protein is high in BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids). Studies show that BCAA’s can reduce fatigue and improve exercise performance, reduce muscle breakdown and facilitate healing.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST PROTEIN FOR ME?

Evaluate the ingredient quality and how it’s made. All protein powders are not created equal. It’s important that the protein you use is un-denatured and free from unhealthy chemicals and additives. I designed two types of protein powders to fit into all individual needs. Organic Pea Protein (Vegan) and Pure Native WPI. The perfect addition to your healthy wholefood smoothies and help your body nourish and refuel.

HIGH PROTEIN. LOW CARBOHYDRATES. ALL NATURAL.  
Healthy Chef Pure Native WPI contains an exceptionally high amount of protein per serving due to cold filtration process designed to remove traces of fat, carbohydrate and lactose, making it perfect for the whole family. It is instantly absorbed into the body and suitable for people with digestive issues such as lactose sensitivity or bloating.

The amino acid profile of cold-pressed Healthy Chef WPI protein is rich in leucine and BCAA’s. According to British Journal of Sports Exercise Medicine  – findings show that leucine-rich amino acid supplementation can counteract the negative effects of exercise.

Leucine supplementation resulted in a reduction of exercise-induced strength loss. This is why Healthy Chef WPI has become a popular choice among athletes.

Healthy Chef Organic Pea protein, on the other hand, is a great source of plant-based protein for vegetarians, vegans and for those who just prefer a plant-based source of protein. Athletes love Healthy Chef protein because it doesn’t bloat or causes gastrointestinal issues allowing them to perform at their optimal best.

Our protein range is specifically designed to help support perfect digestive health.  They are free from gluten, fillers, gums, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, preservatives and sugar that can often cause gastric distress.

They are also low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS) and can be enjoyed by everyone including those with gastrointestinal issues and lactose intolerance.

If you’re still unsure about choosing a quality protein powder, read The Smart Guide To Buying and Using Protein Powders here.

 

 

 

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