The Verdict ' Protein or No Protein After Exercise?
As you may know, six weeks ago I embarked on a personal journey of consuming protein powder immediately after exercise to see what the effects were on my body.
Why did I do this?
Exercise has always played a really important role in my life and I‘ve frequently heard that you should add protein after exercise to help with muscle recovery and energy levels but I‘d never tried it - it all seemed too hard or I wasn‘t organised enough to make a smoothie immediately after I arrived home. I was also under the impression that protein is for body building and that certainly wasn't what I wanted to achieve! But I decided to listen to the re-occurring advice and experiment with the Nuzest protein powders.
Why is it important to add protein into your diet?
Protein is an essential nutrient, it is the building block of every cell in the body which is necessary for creating quality tissues every day. If you add a bit more protein to each meal, research shows that you‘ll have better fullness, you may lose body fat and it‘ll help to maintain muscle mass (which is extremely important if you‘re over 35, especially in women!).
Protein is only one component of a diet though. A healthy well balanced meal should consist of carbohydrates, protein, vegetables and salads and a small amount of good fats. This is key to keeping you satisfied and giving you sustained energy. Protein can sometimes be the area that people struggle to include in their diet though, especially at breakfast time, therefore using a protein powder is an ideal solution.
So, how did I incorporate them into my exercise routine?
Immediately after exercise, I had one scoop of the flavoured powder in 300ml of water. Then an hour or so later, I added a second scoop to my breakfast smoothie or other breakfast choice (see my downloadable eating guide below). Using a protein powder in a smoothie is a perfect choice as it ensures you‘re getting a well balanced meal, by including loads of vegetables and fruit as well.
Although I lost 1.5 kg over the six weeks, I would rather go on how my clothes feel and my measurements as my weight fluctuated a lot through the challenge.
What did I notice the most?
Sustained fullness - Before starting on these products, although I always had a nutritionally balanced breakfast, I was often really hungry by 10am which I used to put down to the fact I had exercised first thing and my body was burning my fuel quickly. But I find on the protein powders, I‘m totally satisfied until lunchtime.
Faster recovery - Previously, whenever I did an indoor cycling class at the gym, I would be shattered for the whole day, literally no energy and just wiped out. After using the protein powder, I feel totally recovered straight away and I don‘t have that extreme fatigue.
Feeling clean & no bloating - Being gluten intolerant, there are a lot of foods that don‘t agree with me, but I have no side effects on these products and felt really clean using them. The products are pea protein based which not only have a greater ability at keeping you fuller, they‘re suitable for anyone, being those that are hypo-allergenic as well as vegans and vegetarians - this is a key factor as to why they‘re particularly popular with woman.
Super convenient - I loved how quick, portable and easy they are to use. Being able to put a scoop of powder into the bottom compartment of the shaker bottle and take it with me to the gym made them super achievable to use.
What were my favourite flavours?
Plain, vanilla and chocolate.
I loved using the plain if I didn't want to affect the flavour of what I was using it in, ie my porridge or sometimes smoothies. But I really enjoyed the vanilla and chocolate again in smoothies but they were my preference just in water.
What else do I feel aided my results?
Consistency: Consistency is key if you want to see results, whether it‘s exercise, mindfulness, gratitude or meditation. Sticking to my commitment of at least five sessions per week was a key factor.
Power-hooping: Including an exercise that is fun and targeted my core muscles, definitely helped with my results. As you know, if you followed my journey, I love ‘power-hooping‘. The difference with this hoop is that it uses adjustable weights so as my core got stronger, I added more weights in. Initially I started off just with the hoop itself but then gradually added the weights. This is when I really noticed the difference. It‘s specifically designed to strengthen your core muscles and core stability.
I introduced power-hooping because I wanted to add something different into my routine that I could do at home. I started in October 2015, and since then, I have lost 8cm from around my waist.
If you‘re keen to give it a go, Amy from PowerhoopNZ has offered anyone who purchases a Deluxe Powerhoop and uses the code ‘wicked‘ on checkout, you‘ll get her first DVD for FREE (worth $24.99). The DVD series is what I do for a full body workout that I can do in under 30 minutes. Head to her website, www.powerhoopnz.co.nz
Well balanced diet: Enjoying a well balanced diet throughout the day is huge to me, I‘m all about the food so with every meal I was making sure I included every food group and the combination was going to keep me sustained.
In summary, this has been an amazing journey which I have absolutely loved! I can definitely recommend adding protein into your exercise regime for maintaining fullness, recovery, muscle repair and energy. It is essential to also combine it with a consistent exercise routine and a well balanced diet.
Thank-you so much for your support throughout this six weeks, your words of appreciation and for being so encouraging. I‘ve loved you being there with me!
The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and is general advice. It should not, nor is it intended to be, relied on as a substitute for individual medical advice or care. If the contents of this, or any other of the blogs in this series raises any concerns or questions regarding your health, please consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.