When it comes to a fitness regime, along with key vitamins such as Zinc, Potassium and Magnesium, your diet plays an instrumental role in weight loss and muscle gain. According to bodybuilding law, your effort split is 20% Intense exercise and 80% clean diet and not the other way around, as some would have you believe.
The correct amount of vitamins, are generally lacking in most of our “western diets”. With heaps of dairy, various sugars, glycemic carbohydrates and saturated fats playing a starring role in most of our daily intake. Having options which allow us in a fast pace life to ingest a snack or bar which holds a large part of our daily nutrient and vitamin requirements, is truly fantastic . One of the most important nutrients in your healthy diet is protein.
As we have all read many times, protein is a macro-nutrient found in several foods, such as meat, dairy, nuts, legumes, beans and soy but to mention a few. What makes it so important, is that it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of lean body tissue. Interesting fact; The protein we get from animals is recycled protein as animals (including human beings) cannot produce protein, only plants can.
Promoting healthy skin, hair, bones, finger nails and of course, helping muscles recover and grow, protein is one thing you need in your diet. After all, what’s the use of going to gym, pushing your body to the limit if you are not going to grow lean muscle, whilst loosing body fat?
Planning meals is essential and cooking in advance is what you want to do. Take one day a week to get all the time consuming prep work and cooking done, divide the meals into correct size portions (this has many benefits, portion control, no left overs to snack on, no picking whilst making food etc.), put them into freezer safe bags or containers and done.
However, what happens when you don’t have enough time to make vitamin and nutrient loaded meals? What can you do to ensure your body gets the adequate proteins to boost your recovery and develop your muscles?
In the old days meal replacement shakes were the thing to use, but today protein shakes have taken that spot due to an array of reasons. They are packed with everything from macros to micros and almost everything in between. You can get high protein and low carb shakes for leaner meals or high carb, lower protein variants for gaining mass, the list goes on.
Protein powders are ideal for those who are looking at maintaining a healthy lifestyle, even if you are not an iron bending bodybuilder, but simply a person who lives an active lifestyle and needs an “on the go meal”.
Products such as quality whey protein have a lot of health benefits, which includes enhancing the body’s antioxidant defenses, promoting muscle development, reducing hunger so you don’t feel the need to constantly eat, as well as lower your blood pressure. However, before rushing off to acquire protein powders, there are certain guidelines to follow.
“You can’t replace all your meals with protein shakes. While you must always have proteins with your meal, you can’t always have a shake with your meal. Natural protein is always best,” says Neil van Rooyen of Planet Fitness, Just Gym.
Neil explained that some people made the mistake of using protein powders up to six times a day. “While it is more convenient to make a quick shake, you should aim to have protein powders twice a day.”
He suggested one pre-workout and one post workout protein shake would be adequate.
But which protein powder is the best?
“Everyone has their own personal preference and you need to see which one works best for you. For me, personally, I have always been a fan of the NutriTech range.”
He also emphasised it was important to know there are two forms of protein powders. “You get Whey and Casein. Whey Protein is a faster working protein powder, where casein is a slower absorbing powder.”
Whey was ideal for pre and post workout, whereas casein is ideal before going to bed. “When you sleep, your metabolism basically shuts down. With casein, your body can slowly absorb the protein while you are sleeping and ensure you get the right nutrients.”
Through the proper use of protein powders, a clean, planned diet and committed training plan, you can have the body of Adonis.