This is a guest post written by Katy Widrick.
Think of this before you start:
Define your Goal – Are you looking to lose weight, build mass, perform better at a sport, or improve endurance? Each goal requires different set of nutritional guidelines to follow. There is no cookie cutter diet.
Nutrition is Crucial – We put so much effort and energy into getting and staying fit; however, many people don’t realize is that your diet has a huge influence on your fitness goals. Once you’ve defined your goal, it’s time to look at what and how much you are putting into your body.
Calories Count – Every addition to your shake changes its overall calorie load and nutritional density. Adding various powders, fruits, nut butters, and more may make the shake more delicious and filling, but will require you to do more in terms of activity. Think: which is more important to me?
Avoid Processed Ingredients – Many companies add sugars or artificial sweeteners, in addition to artificial flavors, refined soy, and other ingredients to bulk up the powder. While some supplementation may be helpful, keep in mind that real, whole foods provide nutritional benefits without the drawbacks.
But how can we make sure we’re getting enough protein, and getting the most out of it? Read on to find out!
Protein shakes often contain a protein powder, but there are natural sources of protein. Some common sources of natural protein include:
Protein is a macronutrient and is made up of amino acids linked by peptide bonds, and its main goal is to help build and repair body tissues.
How much protein does a person need depends on the individual and their fitness goals. NASM recommends:
Sedentary adult: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day
Strength athletes: 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day
Endurance athletes: 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day
Outside of a fitness regimen, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. You may have some math to do!
Amino acids help prevent injury and increase your ability to build muscle. Getting the nutrients into your system before your workout, and then replenishing after is the best way ensure you get the most out of your shake and workout.
Try not to consume anything too close to your workout. It can end up being a nightmare for your stomach!
Remember your shake should help you reach your goals, not derail them. Be careful of calorie overload. A protein shake can go from a few hundred calories to a few thousand and become a dessert than a recovery snack.
Pay attention to what you eat and when, and if a shake or smoothie sounds delicious and refreshing and you can use it as a vehicle for supporting your workout – go for it!
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Katy is a self-proclaimed “fitness freak”! She is always on the go, working full-time as a television and multimedia producer at Growing Bolder, taking care of her new daughter, and competing in triathlons and half marathons! Katy loves using new tools and technologies to connect people to the healthy-living community. While you’ll see her enjoying a green smoothie or some kale, she believes all things should be enjoyed in moderation. So don’t be shocked to see her enjoying a cupcake and a large coffee every once in a while!