Protein after workouts is necessary, but how much protein after a workout do we actually need?
It is a common belief that our bodies begin to break down proteins within our muscles immediately after a workout. Many claim that you need a post-workout protein immediately following exercise to ensure that you don’t lose muscle mass. But is that more myth, or is it true?
The truth is that most people don’t know how many grams of protein they need daily, let alone how much protein to consume following a workout in grams. But really, how do we know how much protein before or after a workout our body requires? Everything protein-related just seems to be downright confusing.
Along with how many grams of protein after a workout we need, is there a specific time frame we should consume protein? And what is the oft-mentioned “power hour” in regards to protein?
So, we finally said, “Enough is enough!” We aren’t studying for an SAT or trying to get into law school! We just want to know exactly how much protein we need after working out! And that’s exactly what we’ve set out to answer.
Post Workout Protein
So do you need protein after a workout? Well, yes and no.
I know that answer doesn’t take away any guesswork, but there’s more to it. When it comes to protein, you need it all day, not just after workouts, to help with necessary bodily functions. We can get protein from our diet, or we can get it from supplements. Supplement methods, such as post-workout shakes, generally average around 20 grams per serving. You most definitely need more protein if you are working out, but you don’t necessarily immediately need that protein after a workout.
But isn’t it essential to eat after a workout to replenish what was lost during your workout? As it turns out, not really.
For years it was believed that you need protein within an hour after exercising, which is known as “the power hour,” or else your body would begin breaking down muscle mass. As it turns out, what matters is just that you get enough protein throughout the day. If you want to wait to get home, shower, and then have something to eat after a workout, you won’t lose all your muscle even if it’s two hours later.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
How much protein you need daily is dependent on your lifestyle. Someone who is more sedentary requires less than someone who leads a more active lifestyle.
The National Library of Medicine gives a general guideline. The guideline is roughly 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 7 grams of protein per 20 pounds of her body weight for more sedentary women.
If you exercise regularly, the suggested intake moves up to 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For an active 150-pound woman, this could mean eating anywhere from 80 grams to 136 grams of protein a day.
Meet Your Daily Intake Goal
So when it comes to getting your protein in after a workout, it’s not about when you consume it or how much. Instead, it’s about the big picture. Focus on figuring out your daily protein intake goal and strive to meet that.
Not getting enough protein throughout the day is what will result in eventual muscle loss. Forgetting to eat protein within an hour after your workout, not so much.