Pumping Up With Protein: Does This Work for Exercise and Health?
Protein is never a key fuel for exercise, but it is essential for other reasons. During most exercise, protein contributes less than 5% of total energy, although it can reach 10-15% during an extended event such as a marathon or Ironman triathlon. Getting enough dietary protein is important because dietary protein allows your muscles to […]

Protein is never a key fuel for exercise, but it is essential for other reasons. During most exercise, protein contributes less than 5% of total energy, although it can reach 10-15% during an extended event such as a marathon or Ironman triathlon. Getting enough dietary protein is important because dietary protein allows your muscles to be repaired after exercise and promotes the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, and other body tissues formed from amino acids, the elements constituents of proteins.

You should be consuming at least 12-35% of your daily calories as protein. For most people, that means getting at least 60 grams of protein per day.

About half of the 20 amino acids are considered essential in your diet, which means you need to consume them or your body will suffer from protein malnutrition, which causes the breakdown of muscles and organs. Essential amino acids are found in meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, and soy products; All plant-based foods except soy lack one or more essential foods, but the combination of plant sources (like rice and beans) can provide what you need.

Your body can make the rest of the amino acids on its own (these are the non-essentials). But you need to have enough protein in your overall diet to synthesize body protein after training, which is a critical time for increasing strength, aerobic capacity, or muscle size.

Because protein is important for overall health but not a major fuel for exercise, you should be concerned about getting enough intake, although it doesn't necessarily have to happen right before or during activity. You will get a more effective restoration of liver glycogen if you keep your blood sugar under control after exercise. Eating a small amount of protein with carbohydrate (in a 1: 4 ratio, or one gram of protein to four grams of carbohydrate) after activity can help you repair your muscles and get stronger faster.

Typically, an ounce of chicken, cheese, or meat contains about 7 grams of protein.

Getting more protein and a little less carbohydrate after exercise can help keep your blood sugar more stable over time, as it takes three to four hours for protein to be fully digested and some protein is converted into blood glucose. You can eat protein strategically to avoid late hypoglycemia, which insulin users are more likely to get. If you use insulin, take one in your bedtime snack (along with fats and carbohydrates) to avoid nightly drops after a day of intense or prolonged activity.

Taking protein with carbohydrates right after hard or long workouts can help your body replenish glycogen stores more efficiently. While anyone who ages - and this includes us all - can benefit from getting enough protein, supplements generally aren't the best way to get enough protein. Let me explain why.

As you age, your body may need more protein than when you were younger to build, maintain, and repair muscles and other bodily structures. Anyone who exercises regularly also needs more protein to repair and build muscle, but you can usually get that amount (and more) when you eat a balanced meal plan with enough calories. To determine how much you need, find the category that matches your age and training, and multiply your body weight (in pounds or kilograms) by the grams found in the corresponding table column.

TABLE Recommended protein intake by training status and age

Body weight per pound per kilogram of body weight

Adults 19-50 years (inactive) 0.36 grams 0.8 grams

Adults over 50 (inactive) 0.5 grams 1.1 grams

Endurance training 0.55–0.64 grams 1.2–1.4 grams

Bodybuilding 0.68-0.77 grams 1.5-1.7 grams

Private calories (diets) 0.73-0.82 grams 1.6-1.8 grams

The biggest myth about amino acid supplements, and protein in general, is that you have to take charge of them to gain muscle. This is simply not true. The protein needs of bodybuilding athletes may be about twice as high as normal, but most people in the United States already consume more than these higher amounts of protein in their daily diet.

To put it in perspective, to gain a pound of muscle mass per week (a realistic maximum), a strength training athlete doesn't need more than an extra 14 grams of quality protein per day. You can easily get this amount from these sources:

»About two 8-ounce glasses of milk

»2 ounces of lean meat, chicken, fish or cheese (which is not much)

»A little more than 2 eggs (only the whites contain protein)

Adequate protein intake also helps maintain lean mass when you lose weight with diet and can help you gain more muscle mass through exercise training.

Reference: From Colberg, SR, “Chapter 7: Eating Well for Exercise”, Diabetes and staying fit for dummies, Wiley, 2019.


If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.

You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise informations and workout partouze are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach.

While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are esprit. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point.

Whatever your age or sport level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life —there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or intensité yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current sport level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.

Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.

Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for activities that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can prove very effective—so, too, can squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions over the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving during the weekend when you have more time.

The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule ? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.

For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath. Your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo it.

Health issues ? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as limited mobility, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.

Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up by walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.

Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.

There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build vêtements that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.

A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through ? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.

Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new sport goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.

If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like course or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.

Activity-based film games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or la petite balle jaune, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as course from hordes of zombies !

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