The rodent meteorologist has declared that spring is right around the corner and, whether you believe the furry little guy or not, there’s no question the sun and warmth will draw us all out of our winter lairs soon enough.
If you’re like a lot of guys, winter may have been a little tough on the physique. You’re giving some thought to how you’re going to lose the leftover holiday gut, get energized to get moving and tone up before you have to strip down for summer. Obviously, there’s no miracle elixir that will simply melt off pounds, bulk you up and boost energy – but now could be a good time to take a look at your protein intake.
Most of us are aware that protein is an important part of a balanced diet. Beyond that, you may not have given it much thought. For instance, do you know what protein actually does for your body? How much protein you should be consuming in a day? Or how much protein is contained in, say, a hard-boiled egg vs. a piece of chicken? What about protein supplements?
Protein has serious benefits – it helps you build lean muscle, it prevents muscle breakdown and helps with muscle repair, it helps you feel full (one way to control your appetite) and it improves your energy and focus. As you’re looking to get out of “winter shape,” protein is a good training partner.
A general rule of thumb is that you should get about a half a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. For perspective, a four-ounce chicken breast contains around 32 grams of protein and one extra large egg has around seven grams. Depending on your goals — for instance, if you are looking to build muscle – you may want to consume more.
If you aren’t getting all of your recommended protein from the foods in your diet consistently, or if you’re looking for other sources to complement your intake, there’s the option of protein supplements. You may feel like supplements are just relevant in the realm of bodybuilders or pro athletes.
And there’s a reasonable reluctance to becoming “that guy” who frequents the sports nutrition specialty store and obsesses over every milligram of ingredient in all he consumes. But protein supplementation is now going mainstream.
As people are getting smarter about the benefits of protein, and as we continue to lead busy lives that aren’t exactly conducive to extensive meal planning and prep, supplements are gaining popularity with people who are looking for ways to get better at fueling their routines, and maximizing the time and effort they put into staying fit.
As a result, there are new products on the market that are making the previously intimidating world of sports nutrition more simple and accessible to the everyday athlete.
A brand that’s taking the lead in that space is trusource™. It’s a new product line from the same manufacturers that make Optimum Nutrition, a hugely popular brand with the traditional sports nutrition set. Unlike many sports nutrition products, though, the trusource brand was created with the “regular guy” in mind.
The trusource website has a convenient calculator to help you figure out how much daily protein you should be getting based on your weight and goals (options include basic fitness, gaining muscle mass, endurance training and weight loss.) Each of the trusource protein products has a simple ingredient list – including high quality whey protein in an amount that’s suitable for everyday use.
You can pick it up at a grocery store (at launch, it was carried at Kroger brand stores). Even the packaging is different – they’ve done away with the huge tubs of protein powder in favor of small, manageable containers that store easily in a kitchen cabinet or a locker, and they offer a couple of ready-to-drink beverages that are grab-and-go options.
One of the growing categories of supplementation is protein drinks combined with caffeine. A recent study published in the journal Sports Medicine concluded that consuming caffeine before a workout can actually reduce the perception of exertion.
And, unlike our more standard caffeine choices like soda, tea or coffee, a protein beverage with caffeine helps you feel full as well as focused.
In general, using these new protein supplement products is easier, and, frankly, tastier than one might expect. A whey protein powder like trusource Anytime Protein powder fits in as a day-starter or pre or post-workout shake, and even using a basic glass and spoon to mix, it blends well and isn’t gritty or chalky.
If you prefer not to mix your own beverage, or prefer a different flavor profile, there’s Protein Water. On first glance, trusource Protein Water might remind you of a standard sports drink – it’s light, fruit-flavored and refreshing like one, but still contains 20 grams of protein in a bottle. Swapping a lunch time soda for a Protein Water helps hit your protein intake goals, and saves you 52 grams of sugar and the empty calories.
Personally, Trusource is one of my favorite new protein brands, offering a combination of great taste, great benefits, and high quality.
And while simply getting enough protein isn’t going to magically transform us into beach gods by July, but if you’re putting in the effort to modify your diet and get exercise, it can help you realize results. With new, accessible fitness nutrition products making it easier than ever to incorporate protein into our daily routine, we have one less excuse – and maybe even some motivation – to start properly fueling our get-in-shape plan.