Even the most casual gym-goer will be familiar with that sore (but oddly satisfying) ache that comes a day or two after having put in a shift on the pitch, in the weights room, or on the treadmill. It’s our body’s way of telling us that it’s busy repairing itself and it might be a day or so until we’ll be back to normal. The virtues of regular exercise in terms of overall health are many and well documented – but it’s not always that easy to get into a regular habit when you’re still sore from the last session. That’s where your protein intake becomes very important, as we’ll discover.
Who needs protein?
In short; everyone. It’s a fundamental nutrient for humans, even those who aren’t hitting the gym every day. Those of us who aren’t exercising (i.e. the average adult living a sedentary lifestyle) need around 50g of protein per day according to the NHS’ daily reference intakes. Total protein intake depends on a variety of different factors though including age, how active you are, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health.
High protein diets are often associated with bodybuilders, and while there’s a good reason for that it’s still worth mentioning that you need a decent protein intake no matter what your chosen activity is. So, to give you a rough idea, 50g of protein every day for a young woman who takes part in a mixture of exercise (running, strength training, swimming) every week is not enough to keep those weary muscles happy. According to the NHS daily reference intake a rough calculation for finding out how much protein you should be getting each day involves a bit of simple maths. Take your bodyweight in kilograms and multiply it by 0.8 to find out how many grams of protein your recommended daily intake is (and bear in mind this doesn’t account for if you’re an active person!).
How to up your intake
The first thing to say is of course that the key to being healthy is to have a varied and balanced diet. While protein is important, it’s not the only thing your body needs. So before making any changes it’s always a good idea to consult your GP first. If you think you could benefit from upping your protein intake there are many easy ways to get that extra bit. Of course it’s not always convenient to set aside time for meal prep and having foods like chicken, eggs or red meat while we’re going about our day. That’s why drinkable sources of protein are so convenient. Our Protein 40 milk isn’t just great for pouring into a glass for that precious extra dose of protein, it works with cereal, porridge… anything you care to add milk to basically! With 40g of protein per litre and a low fat content it’s most definitely a handy product to keep in the fridge for when you feel those muscles flagging!