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Megan Ware, RDN, LD

TRX Protein Series: Fueling Up with the Right Amount of Protein

 

Over the past few weeks, I've had quite a few questions from Fitness With Insight members about protein-- especially from those of you who aren't big meat eaters. A lot of TRXers like you are wondering when is the best time to have protein, what are the best sources of protein that aren't meat, how much protein you need to build muscle and whether you should be taking a protein supplement, and if so what is the best one. In the next few posts, I'll be doing a "Protein Series" to answer all of these questions and debunk some popular protein myths that have been floating around for years.

 

309078_324196327596564_1331408605_nBuilding and toning muscle happens when you do resistance exercises that challenge your muscles, not from eating excess protein. Consuming extra protein doesn't mean you'll build more muscle, it only means you'll burn more protein as a fuel source.

 

If you have meat and other animal products with most of your meals, you’re probably already getting plenty of protein with your average daily intake. Most Americans are actually eating about 1.5- 2 times the recommended dietary allowance for protein. The problem is that the majority of this extra protein are coming from animal products that are often high in calories and lacking in the nutritional benefits that other plant-based proteins provide. Any excess protein is burned for energy or stored as fat.

 

Humans do not have the ability to keep extra protein stores on hand, so we need to consume adequate protein each day, evenly distrubuted throughout the day. For optimal muscle building and toning, try to eat 20-25 grams of protein at each meal. Our bodies can only utilize about 20-25 grams of protein at one time and any excess is waste product. Eating no protein throughout the day then eating three chicken breasts for dinner with 60 grams of protein isn't nearly as effective as spreading the 60 grams out throughout the day. If you find that 20-25 grams is too much, break it down to 10-15 grams at meals and maybe 5-10 grams at snacks or after your workout.

 

As for protein powders and bars and such, why not use real foods instead of supplements? ;Natural foods contain protein the way nature intended. We don't know the half of the science behind the way the components of a whole food (food in it's natural state) interacts in our bodies and gives us benefits as opposed to "food" engineered in a lab.

 

Following exercise, the body needs to repair and generate growth to the muscles and restore energy. A combination of carbohydrates and protein is a perfect choice. Eating within 30-45 minutes after exercise is a great window of time for repair.

 

You can pick and choose 1 carbohydrate and 1 protein option from the two lists below for a pre and post workout snack or choose one option from the combination column. Experiment with some of the options and times as your body will let you know what works best.

 

 

CARBOHYDRATE – 1 serving 

PROTEIN – 1 serving

    COMBINATIONS

  • Apple
  • Hard-boiled Egg
  • Trail Mix with Nuts and Dried Fruit
  • Berries
  • Edamame
  • Smoothie with Yogurt or Milk
  • Banana
  • Chicken
  • Chocolate Milk
  • Whole Grain Pita
  • Tuna
  • Sting Cheese and Crackers
  • Oatmeal
  • Powdered Milk
  • English Muffin & 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • English Muffin
  • Skim or Soy Milk
  • Protein Shake with 8oz Skim Milk
  • Whole Wheat Toast
  • Lean Roast Beef
  • Granola and Greek Yogurt
  • Whole-Grain Cereal
  • Pistachios
  • Pita, Hummus and Baby Carrots
  • Home-made Granola
  • Almonds

 

  • Granola Bar
  • Peanut Butter

 

  • Whole-Grain Crackers
  • String Cheese

 

 

  • Hummus

 

 

  • Cottage Cheese

 

 

  • Lentils

 

 

 

 

In next weeks Protein Series, we'll talk about how to fuel up with Plant-Powered proteins.

 

References:

Clark MS RD, Nancy. Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Fifth Edition. Newton, MA, Copyright 2014.


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Megan Ware, RDN, LD

The Best Recovery Foods for First Time TRXers

 

At Fitness With Insight, we know that those first few classes can be some of the toughest. Since a lot of the muscles you target during TRX aren't used on a normal day-to-day basis, you might wake up the next day after your first class feeling sore in places you didn't know existed! But what if there were some foods or drinks you could incorporate into your day to help alleviate that soreness, or at least to help you recover quicker?

 

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The period of time right after your workout is the most important. You have a 30- 45 minute window to get in the right nutrients and acheive optimal recovery for your muscles. You've all heard that protein is important for recovery, but carbohydrates also help to refuel energy stores and allow your body to produce insulin, a hormone that contributes to muscle building. The trick is to get in the right kind of carbohydrates; from fruits, dairy or whole grains instead of simple sugars. Quinoa and old-fashioned oatmeal are two high fiber, high protein sources of healthy carbohydrate to incorporate into a post-workout meal or snack. 

 

You've probably know that antioxidants help prevent cancer and heart disease, but did you know they also reduce inflammation and alleviate muscle soreness? Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants. The more color on your plate, the better.

 

Check out this recipe for Protein Packed Pizza Bites for a perfect post-workout snack. They’re high in protein from the eggs and the quinoa and packed with nutrients and antioxidants from the onion, tomatoes, garlic and herbs. 

 

If you tend to not have an appetite following a workout, liquid meals or snacks are a perfect remedy. Try making your own smoothies at home with plain Greek yogurt and frozen berries. Beware of smoothies from chains or fast food restaurants, as they may contain upwards of 800 calories and 60 grams of sugar (a whole days worth)!

 

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One drink that is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to reduce muscle soreness is tart cherry juice. A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine found that drinking tart cherry juice following strenuous exercise reduces inflammation and aids in the recovery of muscle function. Studies conducted using watermelon and watermelon juice have also shown similiar results. Try blending tart cherry juice or seedless watermelon chunks into a smoothie for an anti-inflammatory boost.

 

References:

Active: Recovery Foods that Ease Muscle Soreness


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