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Protein Basics

Protein is one of the most important nutrients you need to make sure your body can keep up with all the daily stresses you place on it, and the more active you are, the more protein you need.

Among other functions, protein is responsible for:

  1.         Keeping your blood sugar in balance
  2.         Keeping your metabolism active
  3.         Increasing your metabolic rate
  4.         Increasing the rate of muscle repair
  5.         Supporting muscle growth
  6.         Supporting healthy immune response

Muscle burns more calories than any other tissue. It’s the fat burning engine that “revs up” your metabolism. In order to build lean muscle, you need enough protein, along with carbs and fats (not just protein alone). Most Americans have no problem consuming enough carbs and fats.

Increasing protein consumption, in combination with increased activity, results in: Increased lean body mass, decreased fat mass, increased strength & performance, decreased muscle fatigue and faster workout recovery time, compared to control groups that did not increase protein intake.

Many of my clients, who are trying to lose weight, are not consuming enough protein before they begin training. Cutting calories alone is not the best way to lose or control weight and increase fitness.

In order to be your best all day long your body needs "fuel" 4-6 times a day, starting first thing in the morning. For the best results, protein should be a part of several small meals and snacks throughout the day. Increased protein consumption can help you shed pounds by making you feel full longer than other foods. Some types of proteins may make you feel full longer than others. Whey protein, for example, is said to have this effect on many people. Soy powder is another great source of protein. Both of these can be added to shakes or other food for a healthy snack/meal.

Healthy sources of protein: wheat, oats, rice, legumes (peas, lentils, peanuts), whey, casein, soybeans, and garbanzos (chickpeas), lean meats, fish, chicken, non or low fat milk, cottage cheese and yogurt, various nuts, egg whites. Not all protein sources, particularly vegetables, are complete, containing all of the “essential” amino acids. You may need to combine various sources in order to assimilate all of the essential amino acids.

Protein isolate is considered a higher efficiency protein and more expensive type of protein than concentrate.  Various vegan and vegetarian protein powders, containing all essential amino acids, are readily available also. Whey protein is a popular, high quality protein source. Soy is another high quality source that may also offer some cardiovascular health benefit.

Convenient protein powders, bars, and beverages may be purchased from a number of sources including: Nutrition or Health Product Retail Outlets or directly from the supplier via phone or internet.

Before you buy any product, however, be sure to check the ingredient label closely. Make sure the product contains an acceptable amount of protein per serving, without adding other ingredients, such as chemicals, sweeteners, high fat and fillers that you don’t need.

If you have any special dietary needs, consult a Registered Dietitian or nutrition professional.

This article was provided by Assured Fitness Personal Training
For more information on Assured Fitness Personal Training, check out their full profile here.
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