Have you ever wondered how important it is to reach your daily protein consumption?
Do you even know how much protein you should consume?
How do you distribute protein among your meals, and how often should you eat protein?
If you want to find the answers to these questions and more, continue reading.
What Is The Optimal Daily Protein Intake
Let’s face the truth here.
Most people don’t meet their protein needs for the day. Why?
People are uneducated on the topic of nutrition.
No one is teaching you how to eat healthy and balanced.
Sure, teachers in school tell you that it is essential, but no one explains why.
For this reason, people are unaware of the fact that Protein is one of the three macronutrients.
In fact, protein is the most satiating one.
But how much do you REALLY need?
If you are an active trainee, which we assume if you are reading this blog, you should strive for 1,8 - 2,2g/kg to achieve maximum results.
If you are not that active, your body doesn’t require that much protein consumption, so keeping track of it might be unnecessary.
However, make sure to consume around 1,2g/kg for maintaining proper health.
If you don’t like tracking your nutrition and calories, just aim for 2-3 high-protein meals every day, that have high-quality protein products, such as meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, etc.
But how much protein should you consume with every meal?
Let’s find out in the next paragraph.
Protein Timing and Distribution
Multiple studies on the subject have been conducted over the years.
Researchers tried to find what is the optimal protein distribution among trainees.
One study from 2013 where three different groups took place sheds some light on the subject.
The researchers wanted to test the optimal distribution of protein intake 12 hours after resistance training.
Every group consisted of 8 males.
The first one consumed 8x10g of whey protein every 1.5 hours.
The second group consumed 4x20g of whey protein every 3 hours.
The last sample took 2x40g every 6 hours.
The result was that the second group, which distributed the protein intake equally, produced maximum anabolic stimulus compared to the other two groups.
But now you are probably asking yourself.
“According to the recommendations above, I should consume around 200g of protein for optimal results. But, does that mean I have to eat ten times a day and distribute the protein equally?”
We know that most of you are busy individuals and working out is just a part of your life, not the core of it.
For this reason, distributing 200 g of protein in 4 meals might also do the work.
By eating every 3 - 3,5 hours, you will feel satiated throughout the day, and you’ll have plenty of time to perform focused deep work.
You’ll also have time between meals to perform your workout.
Pro Tip: Wait 1-1.5 hours after your meal before hitting the gym. You don’t want to feel bloated during training.
Now, let’s shed some light on protein shakes.
Post Workout Protein Shake - Myth or a Must?
If you are a regular trainee, you couldn’t have missed people drinking protein shakes immediately after they finished their training session.
Since the dawn of the fitness industry, the protein shake has become a must for many athletes.
However, what is the logic behind it?
During a heavy workout, our body’s muscle fibers get micro-tears (a.k.a microdamage)...
To rebuild those fibers, muscle protein synthesis must take place.
The easiest way to get some protein into your digestive system and trigger muscle protein synthesis, is, well, a protein shake!
Whey protein is in fact one of the protein sources that have the highest biological value (meaning it gets digested quickly, easily, and to the biggest extent).
However, there is a big delusion among trainees that if they don’t take their post-workout shake in time, they might lose muscle, which can’t be further from the truth.
The anabolic window is some bro-science, which isn’t backed up by science.
You can miss your post-workout shake and instead eat a balanced meal when you get home, even if it is 1 hour or 1,5 after you finished with the workout.
To sum up, it is up to your preferences whether to drink a protein shake or not.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and the one responsible for muscle growth.
An optimal amount for active trainees would be 1,8 - 2,2g/kg.
Distributing your daily protein intake equally in 3 - 3,5 hours should work best for most people.
If you want to learn more about the different protein sources, jump right into part 2 of this article series.