Protein supports countless physiological processes in the body. Muscle protein synthesis is one example. Consuming protein has been shown to improve physical performance during exercise, as well as boost recovery post exercise.

What you need to know

Recommended daily allowances (RDA) for protein are 0.8 g/kg for healthy individuals. Active people hoping to boost performance, recovery and muscle development can aim for up to 1.6g/kg per day. You need not limit protein intake to pre/post workout snacks. Instead include protein in most meals and snacks for better overall health.

How protein helps

Protein is a component of every cell in the body. Getting enough is important for blood, bones, tissue repair, enzymes and hormones. Protein can also help you feel more satisfied, so you are less likely to snack or overeat. Other benefits include help maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism. 

Good sources of protein

  • Peanut butter
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish
  • Yogurt and dairy
  • Edamame
  • Nuts and seeds, think almonds and sunflower seeds
  • Oats
  • Broccoli

Find ways to incorporate healthy amounts of protein in your diet. You may choose to use supplements but be mindful that there can be too much of a good thing. Excess protein can put undue strain on your organs. Talk with your healthcare provider before regularly taking in more than 1.6g/kg, even if you are healthy and active.

Protein before and after exercise

A good window for your pre/post-workout snack is 30 to 60 minutes. No need to overdo it. Just aim for a good mix of protein and carbs. Maybe a hard-boiled egg, a handful of nuts, yogurt or peanut butter with apple slices. Before exercise you’ll give yourself the boost you need to work out with high energy. After exercise, you’ll support recovery and replenish energy stores. 

The takeaway…how we fuel our bodies impacts overall performance. When we eat a balanced diet, including adequate protein, physical performance and mental energy improves. Choose foods wisely most of the time to feel your best during your workout and all through the day.