Post-workout Protein: Why It’s So Important + A Recipe for No-Bake Peanut Butter Choc Protein Bars
You’ve probably heard before that it’s important to eat protein after a workout and you might be wondering if it lives up to the hype. The short answer is yes. After a workout, your body becomes weak and your muscles become fragile. When you consume protein, your body uses that to build and repair tissues, so it becomes not only important for muscle recovery but much more. Let’s find out more about why post-workout protein is so important.
Firstly, what is Protein?
We’re pretty sure you know that lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, black beans are all important sources of protein. But do you know what it really is? It is one of the three important macronutrients in our diet, the other two being fat and carbs. We get most of our energy from these three macronutrients; they are the three chemical compounds that humans ingest the most of.
It is also found in every cell of the body and has been long considered the building block of life. It is made up of amino acids, and even though our body produces a lot of different types of amino acids, there are nine that we cannot make. We have to get those nine essential amino acids via our diet and that’s when protein comes in.
Why it’s Important in Your Everyday Diet
Protein plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in our bodies – it essentially fuels our cells and gives us the energy we need. It also promotes proper growth development in children, as well as pregnant women. It transports molecules throughout the body and can help protect the body from foreign bacteria and viruses.
It is also essential to building bones and body tissues, such as muscles, but it does much more than that, it participates in practically every process of a cell. It plays a part in immune responses, metabolic reactions and helps form blood cells. If you’re not having enough protein you run the risk of missing out on those key functions.
Having a protein deficiency means your body can run into a lot of problems, such as, weakened functioning of the heart and lungs, thinning hair, stunting your growth, loss of muscle mass and more.
Why It’s Vital After A Workout
Your body needs to refuel, repair and rehydrate after a workout. As stated above, protein is important for building bones and body tissues. When you work out, especially if you are doing any sort of resistance training, little micro-tears occur in your muscles. Don’t be scared, that is ultimately a good thing in the long-run but only if you are consuming enough protein to help recover the damaged muscles. Once those tears recover, your muscle grows and becomes stronger. Not only is the post-workout protein helping with muscle recovery but it also helps build new lean tissue in the body.
You might be thinking, ‘oh but I never have post-workout protein and I’m fine’ yes, this may be true but in the long run your muscles might grow weaker and it might be harder for you to continue any type of resistance training. Protein helps maintain your muscle function.
In other words, instead of causing additional stress on your muscles, protein will repair the stress damage and will help you workout harder and longer in the end.
All protein is good protein. However, research has been done to suggest that milk-based protein help the most with recovery for the first 24-72 hours after a workout. For example, a recent study of 20 high-level soccer players tested the effects of a milk protein concentrate supplement and the results showed that their high intensity running performance was greater during the last 15 minutes of a game with the milk-protein supplement than without it. Additionally, knee extensor concentric strength recovered slightly quicker after the game following protein supplementation.
How Protein Can Help Maintain/Aid Weight Loss
There is no miracle food out there that will help you magically burn fat and lose weight. Sorry folks, that’s a tough one to accept but the reality is it’s all about portion control and calorie deficit. That being said, protein has been linked with aiding in weight loss. This is because high-protein foods increase feelings of fullness. As a result, people who are eating more protein in their diet will most likely lower their intake of calories from other foods because of that full-feeling.
Another way that it can help with weight loss is what it does to your metabolism. Protein is one nutrient that can actually increase the number of calories you burn. The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study that found that people who were fed more calories than they needed and followed a normal or high-protein diet had a higher RMR (resting metabolic rate) than those who followed a low-protein diet.
Get your Post-workout Protein In with First Choice
First Choice, manufactured by Woodlands Dairy, has launched High-Protein Recovery, scientifically formulated to give elite and amateur athletes rapid muscle recovery following intense workouts or competition.
Research suggests that flavoured milk after exercise can help the body retain fluid, replenish glycogen and rebuild muscle to help your body recover.
Milk protein consists of whey and casein, both of which help muscle rebuilding but in different ways. The whey is fast-acting and the casein slow-acting. The amount of milk recommended can be anywhere from one to two cups, depending on the size of the individual and the type of activity.
First Choice High-Protein Recovery
Marisa Maccaferri, Marketing Manager for Woodlands Dairy and First Choice:
“High-Protein Recovery is aimed at the individual who does high intensity training and needs to recover fast to be ready for the next gruelling session. South Africans love sport and spend a lot of time and money on their favourite discipline. Often, the difference between good and great is what you fuel your body with.”
The product is available in three variants including Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Crème According to Maccaferri, “consumers want variety, so we looked into what’s available on the market in terms of flavours and challenged ourselves to improve on it. Banana Crème and Peanut Butter were the obvious choices as they’re familiar. Athletes already enjoy bananas and peanut butter as part of their diet because of their inherent benefits.
A lot of the products athletes use are not tasty at all, so our challenge was to make a highly sophisticated, functional drink that’s delicious without cutting any corners. Why should one sacrifice taste? With First Choice’s High-Protein Recovery the reward is so much sweeter after a strenuous workout.”
First Choice High Recovery drinks are now available at their brand new online store or at Dischem stores nationwide. If you want to learn how to make some delicious protein bars made with Recovery Milk click here.
RECIPE: No-bake Peanut Butter & Dark Choc Protein Bars
Because we simply love the combo of chocolate and peanut butter, we created these uber delish no-bake protein bars to enjoy alongside your First Choice High Protein Recovery. These low-effort, high-protein bars are exactly what you need to keep your body running all day long. Your post-workout protein fix just got heaps more delicious!
Makes: 24 bars
Prep time: 15 mins
360 ml (375 g) smooth sugar-free peanut butter
½ C (125 ml) natural honey
2 Tbsp (30 ml) coconut oil, melted
⅓ C (80 ml) ground flaxseed powder
⅓ C (80 ml) oats, blitzed to a fine powder
¼ C (60 ml) desiccated coconut *optional
⅔ C (160 ml / 60 g) chocolate whey protein powder (could sub for coconut, peanut butter or vanilla)
100-150g dark chocolate, melted (75-85%)
1 tsp (5 ml) melted coconut oil
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) peanuts (roasted and lightly salted are best) *optional
Line a 180 x 285 mm baking tray with a sheet of baking paper. (TIP: leave a flap of paper on either side of the length of the tray – the bars don’t generally stick but lifting them out on the paper makes cutting and storing easier).
Add the peanut butter, honey and melted coconut oil to a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and mix to combine.
Add in the flaxseed powder, protein powder, oat powder and desiccated coconut. Mix together with a spoon (or on a low speed on your mixer). The mixture should come together like cookie dough. If it seems dry, add in additional melted coconut oil a teaspoon at a time and mix fully before adjusting again, you don’t want the dough to become too greasy.
Tip the dough into the lined baking sheet and press down evenly. It can help to use an offset spatula to create a flat even layer. Pop into the refrigerator to set for 20 minutes.
Chop the peanuts or use a pestle and mortar to crush (this step is optional, you could leave the chocolate plain or add a few sprinkles of Maldon salt).
Break up the chocolate and microwave in a glass/ceramic bowl on low heat until it is melted, add the coconut oil and mix to combine (the coconut oil helps the chocolate set).
Remove the tray from the fridge and pour the melted chocolate over the top. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Garnish with chopped peanuts before the chocolate starts to set.
Return the tray to the fridge for the chocolate to set. (TIP: cut your bars into squares before the chocolate sets fully, as it will crack when you cut it if it is completely set).
Store in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks.
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