Why is Protein Important?
You might have heard your trainer telling you in nutrition sessions and after a weights session that eating protein is important for your continued development, but do you know why that is exactly?
1. Protein builds Muscle
When we lift weights, we cause micro tears in the muscle. To repair this, we need an adequate amount of protein within our body to be able to repair these tears and therefore increase muscle size (hypertrophy). Even on a weight loss program you want to cause these tears as the more muscle you have the more energy you burn, therefore decreasing the amount of fat you have i.e. look more toned
Enzymes are made of protein. These enzymes help in digestion by breaking down foods. Other functions of enzymes are energy production, muscular contractions and even clotting blood.
3. Creation of hormones.
Hormones in the body act as signals between cells, organs and the brain. Examples of these are Human growth hormone, which stimulates growth in a range of tissues and Insulin, which breaks down glucose (sugar) within cells.
4. Structure and balance of the body
Your hair nails and skin all contain protein that gives it its structure. There are also proteins that keep the fluid levels in our bodies balanced.
5. Thermogenesis and Satiety
When we eat protein our bodies actually burn energy breaking it down. So, you are actually burning calories while you are digesting. Protein fills us up more than carbohydrates as well. This will keep us from over eating the other macros as we feel fuller for longer.
In all protein is need in a wide range of functions throughout the body. Without a good amount of protein in your diet (1.6-2g per body weight) you can never recover from exercise properly as the muscles never repair.
Whether that protein is from animal sources or plant based we need to have it in our system. Just be aware though that plant-based proteins do lack an important amino acid leucine which aids in the synthesis of protein so you will need to eat a wide range of foods for this.
To summarise if you train properly and eat on point the following should happen
Increased muscle mass - decreased body fat
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.