More than half-way through the first month of the year, your patients and clients are hopefully established into new healthy eating habits and exercise routines or doing well maintaining those practices. Logging more workouts is a great step toward better health, but paying closer attention to protein content of meals and post-exercise snacks could potentially enhance those efforts.
Research on the effects of diet composition during exercise indicates that dietary protein intakes up to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily may have benefits on body composition and may enhance response to resistance exercise, especially for aging adults and athletes. Several studies have shown that 25-30 grams of high-quality protein consumed at each meal may be most favorable to maintain healthy muscles and bones for adults.
Timing of protein intake around workouts can be of particular importance as well. Research has shown that consuming up to 20 grams of protein after resistance exercise can aid in optimal muscle protein synthesis. Furthermore, pairing post-exercise protein with simple carbohydrate in a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 (carbohydrate to protein) is recommended within 30 minutes of exercise, which translates to 1.2 – 1.5 g/kg of simple carbohydrate with 0.3 – 0.5 g/kg of a high-quality protein. Post-workout snacks could include a hard-boiled egg and piece of fruit, cup of chocolate milk, or banana and 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter.
What snacks do you use or recommend to replenish muscles after a workout?
- Evans WJ. Protein Nutrition, Exercise and Aging. J Am Coll Nutr 2004:23(6):601S–609S.
- Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009;12:86-90.
- Rasmussen BB, Tipton KD, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Wolfe RR: An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 2000;88:386-392
- Krieger JW, Sitren HS, Daniels MJ, Langkamp-Henken B: Effects of variation in protein and carbohydrate intake on body mass and composition during energy restriction: a meta-regression. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:260-274.
- Moore DR, Robinson MJ, Fry JL, Tang JE, Glover EI, Wilkinson SB, Prior T, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:161–8.
- Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, Campbell B, Wilborn C, Kreider R, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Ivy JL, Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2008;5:17.Layman DK. Dietary Guidelines should reflect new understandings about adult protein needs. Nutr & Metab 2009;6:12.