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Sport & fitness

Expert advice and product recommendations to support your movement

sport and fitness - man stretching ready to run
 

Sport & fitness

Expert advice and product recommendations to support your movement

sport and fitness - man stretching ready to run

Supplementing your workouts

Which type of protein supplement is right for me? 

The right type of protein supplement depends on your dietary preferences, as well as your exercise goals. Your main options are:

  • Whey protein: This is quickly digested and contains an essential amino acid called leucine, which kickstarts muscle recovery. If you want to boost lean muscle growth post-exercise, whey protein is a great option and perfect when added to a post-workout smoothie.  
  • Casein protein: This helps to build muscle and supports recovery, but is more slowly digested, so it’s best to have before bed.

Both whey and casein protein supplements are derived from milk, so if you’re lactose intolerant, you should check out hydrolysate, which is a specific type of whey protein that’s virtually lactose-free.  

If you’re vegan, go for plant-based protein sources such as soy, rice, hemp and pea.    

 

When’s the best time to have a protein shake?

For muscle growth and recovery post weight-training, people used to think that you had to consume your protein supplement within strict 30-minute window after your workout. New research suggests that it's more effective to space out both your pre- and post-workout snacks no more than 3-4 hours apart and to include protein in both of them! 

 

How much protein do I need to build muscle?

In the UK, the Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) is 0.75 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight – but this is just the minimum amount to maintain normal functioning for a non-active adult. That’s around 52 grams of protein for a 70kg person who doesn’t work out.  

For someone who is regularly doing sports and exercise – particularly strength training – research suggests that around 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight is optimal (so up to 140 grams of protein for a 70kg person per day).  

 

How does creatine support workouts?

Creatine increases the body’s production of phosphocreatine, which is the source of energy the body uses for short, intense bursts of activity. This means that it can help your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high intensity exercise, such as sprints or jumps. Creatine is found in meat and fish, but lots of sport and fitness enthusiasts take creatine supplements. 

 

Can whey protein help with weight loss?

Whey protein can support weight loss in a few different ways. First, it can help you feel fuller for longer (also known as ‘satiety’). This could it helps to cut cravings.

Whey protein also plays an important role in muscle-mass growth. Because more muscle is believed to support a higher metabolism, it means you can burn calories more efficiently.

 
Emily Foster

Emily Foster

Sports Nutritionist

I want to help you understand why it's so important that we fuel properly, so we can perform and feel our best.

Our expert answers

What’s the best way to fuel up pre-workout for weight training?

“You need a good combination of protein and carbohydrates. Carbs are our bodies’ primary energy source, so we need them to ensure we can maintain our level of intensity – but we also need protein for recovery and repair. Good foodie options that include both carbs and protein include porridge with nuts or a nourishing fruit smoothie with a scoop of protein powder.” 

 

What’s the best way to fuel up before endurance activities?

“For endurance activities, you really want to focus on fuelling with carbohydrates. Carbs are broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen, which is used as energy to fuel our muscles.  

Before an endurance event, make sure you have a good source of carbs the night before and on the morning of the event (think: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, as well as fruit and veg). Just before the event, you might want a quick carb source, such as banana, some dried fruit or an energy gel to top up those fuel stores." 

 

What’s the best way to hydrate before endurance activities?

“It’s important that you always begin your activity well hydrated. Not only can dehydration  increase the perception of effort, it can make exercise harder, increasing cardiovascular strain and putting you at risk of heat stroke.

To stay hydrated before any event, one thing I find particularly useful is to use a urine colour chart. This will help you easily see how hydrated you are."

 

What should I do post workout to stop dehydration?

Electrolytes are vital salts and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. Because they can be sweated out of the body, it's useful to take electrolytes alongside water during or after heavy exercise to help replenish your stores.” 

 

What should you do post workout if you want to bulk?

“To gain muscle mass or bulk, you need to have more calories coming into your body than you’re burning. Mass gainers are high-calorie supplements that blend carbs, protein and fats, with the goal to support muscle bulk.

For a lean bulk, you might want to moderately increase your calories using nutritious foods that provide your bodies with vitamins and minerals. An easy way to do this is simply to upgrade your protein smoothie. So instead of just having protein powder with water or skimmed milk, you might switch to full fat milk and throw in some oats, nut butter, fruit and chia seeds.  
For a bigger bulk-up, a mass gainer will deliver a high protein content, which will contribute to muscle repair and growth, along with carbs which act as your body's main energy source to help fuel recovery."

 

Best high-protein foods for weight loss?

“Good sources of protein for weight loss would be things like poultry, lean meat, seafood and fish, as well as tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils and soy-based products. Protein powder is also a quick-and-easy way to increase your intake of protein, while remaining low calorie.”

 

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