The importance of protein in sports nutrition is something that many sports people or those interested in keeping fit are passionate about because they realise the benefits of including good quality protein into their diet to support performance and recovery.
Protein is found in foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, tofu and legumes but for those who are looking to build strength or muscle, or for athletes who find that they need more protein than they can obtain from their diet, they can fill the gaps with a reputable brand of protein supplement.
If you’re looking to build the strength or muscle needed to train for a big sporting event, it may be that your body requires more protein to allow you to do so – whether that’s swimming or weightlifting. Plus, protein fills you up, so it may help you to reach your weight loss goals. The amount of protein needed is based on the amount or type of activity you are doing and is measured per gram per kg of your body weight.
There are two different types of protein supplements available
Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids in adequate amounts which are used as the ‘building blocks’ for muscle growth. Animal foods, such as dairy products, eggs, meats, poultry, seafood and soy are complete protein sources.
Incomplete proteins are missing, or do not have enough of, one or more of the essential amino acids, making the protein imbalanced. To combat this, it’s advised to consume a combination of plant proteins to ensure you’re getting a wider range of amino acids. Most plant foods, such as beans and peas, grains, nuts and seeds, and vegetables, are incomplete protein sources. There are also three variants of proteins; concentrated, isolated and hydrolysates. Concentrated protein is made up from 60-80% protein with the remaining being fat and carbohydrate. Isolated protein has a higher percentage of protein, 90-95%, as more of the fat and carbohydrates have been removed. Hydrolysate protein is around 99% protein.
Protein supplements are available in a variety of formulated supplements such as drinks, bars and powders and the most common types of protein shakes are made from whey, a byproduct of cheese production.
Holland & Barrett have a wide selection of sports nutrition products that can aid in muscle growth and help weight gain. Try Precision Engineered Whey Protein Powder Cookies & Cream, a delicious cookies & cream whey protein shake that assists growth of muscle mass, strength and performance, or Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Powder.
Recovery After Exercise
When you stress your muscles through rigorous exercise, the cells of the muscle recover by taking up more nutrients from the food you eat, resulting in the growth of the muscle and overall well-being. One of the essential nutrients responsible for muscle growth and quick recovery after exercise is protein. However, it’s hard to get enough protein from food and there is a need to supplement protein after working out to ensure you’re getting the nutrients needed to speed up recovery. Muscles can feel the effects of a workout for up to 24 hours afterwards, so it’s important to supply them with amino acids that can repair any damage and replenish energy.
Vegan Protein Powders
Holland & Barrett sell a range of vegan protein powders. It is totally possible to get enough protein from plants, but like regular protein powder, vegan protein powders can give you that added extra to support your workouts and exercise. Vega Clean* Protein, is a complete, multisource blend of premium plant-based protein, or if you are looking for a really indulgent smooth taste experience, try the chocolate flavour Protein World the Vegan Blend in Chocolate Flavour packed with a unique blend of Pea, Quinoa & Hemp Protein. To use as a meal replacement add 40g to 400ml of almond milk or other nut based milks or as a post workout shake add 40g to 400ml of water after exercise.
With any of the protein powders you can experiment making your own shakes by adding fruit or vegetables and adding different types of milk until you find the perfect blend. So whether you are male, female, young or old, or whether you are a swimmer, body builder, cyclist, ballet dancer or triathlete looking to bulk up or get lean, taking the recommended amount of protein powders and other protein products each day could help you to boost your immune system, build your strength and keep those joints healthy.
Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional and always read the label before use.