Walk into any gym, and you will find girls and guys all around you chugging down protein shakes like there’s no tomorrow. Once a favorite of only the weightlifters and bodybuilders, protein has now become an inseparable part of a regular gym-goer’s arsenal.
And there’s no harm in that! Everyone knows the body needs protein to repair and build muscle, and having enough protein is important. But people are also under the impression that there is a “best time” to have protein or the body digests only 30g at a time.
Time to separate the truth from the myths!
Myth 1: Protein Is the Best to Eat After Working Out
You must have seen gym freaks rushing to chug down protein shakes straight after completing their workout. But do you need to bring out your shake right when you come out of the weights room? Well, no! Ideally, you should have protein evenly and regularly throughout the day to keep your hunger pangs at bay. For that, your protein shaker will come handy. Carry it along with you all the time!
Having protein shakes right after a workout is good, but that is not the best time to consume protein. Drinking protein shakes during and after a workout boosts protein synthesis and helps in limiting muscle breakdown. Essentially, it means your body will recover faster, and you will have fewer aches during and after training.
If you want to gain the benefits of having protein, eat it throughout the day, including first thing in the evening and the morning.
Myth 2: Protein Is Meant Only For Bodybuilders
Most people wrongly believe that they need to eat more protein only when they are actively trying to build their muscles. While protein promotes muscle mass, it has a major role to play in exercising because it helps sustain muscle recovery.
Protein works to repair the minor tears in your muscles after a workout. The lack of enough protein intake means your body does not have what it requires for optimally repairing the body. Thus, your progress will get hindered as your muscles will not get the kind of nutrition they need to strengthen and develop.
When combined with a proper exercise program, protein has a major role to play in toning up and staying lean.
Myth 3: The Body Only Digests Thirty Gram of Protein At Once
There is another common misconception that the body is able to digest only twenty to thirty grams of protein at a time. Thus, many believe that protein-rich meals are basically a waste of time. But, this is nothing more than a myth.
The absorption rate of nutrients in the human body depends on a lot of factors. So, for instance, if someone has a large meal containing fifty grams of protein, their body would slow down digestion to make sure all the nutrients get absorbed. Experts usually recommend limiting the daily protein intake to one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Also, if you are trying to decrease fat or increase muscle, you need to increase your protein intake to a little over 1.1 grams per pound of your weight.
Myth 4: Powders Work Well As Substitutes for Whole Sources
So, there are two main reasons to love protein shakes.
- Firstly, they are convenient to drink after completing your workout at the gym.
- Secondly, the body easily absorbs the protein shake you drink. However, cutting a hearty slab of juicy steak and a tall glass of protein shake is not the same thing.
Of course, powders are great as a protein source, but they are not substitutes for both plant and animal whole food protein sources. The different types of protein offer various amino acid profiles to your body. Additionally, having whole food sources will also offer other crucial micro and macronutrients.
Thus, it is not like you should give away protein powders right away. Rather, turn them into a part of a variable protein diet.
Myth 5: Nothing Can Go Wrong With Having a Protein Bar
Actually, everything can go wrong with having a protein bar if you aren’t careful. Take a closer look at the packaging and read the ingredients. Did you notice carrageenan in there? It can trigger immune responses that lead to gut irritation and inflammation.
You will find other unhealthy additives in the form of artificial sweeteners and caramel colors. Try to restrict protein bars only to an occasional snack.
Myth 6: Whey Protein Will Make You Gain Weight
Can whey protein make you fat? Well, yes – in the same way as eating salad or chicken can cause weight gain. An excess of anything boosts your calorie intake and shows up as a bigger number on that weighing scale. So, don’t let the rumors get to you about whey protein.
Losing or gaining some extra pounds is all about the calorie deficit you create between the number of calories you eat and the amount your body expends. Therefore, as long as you track the calorie count, you don’t need to fuss over not having whey protein.
Myth 7: Protein Requirements Are Similar For Everyone
Your fitness journey is not the same as your best bud, your neighbor, or even your own sibling. So, how would your protein consumption be the same as theirs? Though the base recommended daily protein amount stands at fifty-six grams for men and forty-six for women, you can’t even follow these numbers blindly.
You need to consider your body weight before deciding to follow any such number. So, simply because your gym buddy told you that he has ninety grams of protein daily, don’t start setting your intake at that right away.
Ideal protein levels also vary as per health conditions and age. It is better to talk to a professional about it to know more.
Now that all your misconceptions about protein intake have cleared up, it’s time to make your protein shake for the day.