FAQ’s: Is Protein Just for Athletes or Bodybuilders?
The common misconception of protein powder is illustrated by that image many have in their head of a man leaving the gym while drinking a shake. While there is of course a reality in that image, it’s not the only group of people who use protein powders, and likewise the gym is not the only place to exercise!
Of course, body builders and athletes use protein supplements to support their training and goals, but that doesn’t mean it’s an elitist product, or those groups are the only recipients of protein’s awesome benefits. Protein is made from amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. Why it’s a great post-workout supplement is down to how those amino acids help to repair the tears in muscles that exercise results in. That’s how we build muscle (and we don’t mean just big muscles)!
The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of EVERYONE’S body, not just gym-goers. Your body uses protein for a whole host of other things too, not just repair: to make enzymes and hormones, and even to grow healthy hair, nails, and skin. And that’s before we even get started on how it helps your energy levels and satiation!
We specialise in active nutrition at Neat, meaning nutrition for those who are active or partake in fitness activity. There’s a whole slew of reasons you might want to use a protein supplement and they’re not all about body building or training at the highest level. Essentially, we’re here to make things easier and to help you fuel your active lifestyle, whatever that may look like.
For a busy person on the go, refuelling post-workout doesn’t get much easier, quicker or faster absorbing than protein powder + water. Pop a sachet of whey or vegan protein and a Neat shaker in your bag or suitcase and all you'll need to do is shake it up when needed, post-gym, post-run, post-dance or post-whatever you’re into.
Protein shakes are great at satiating hunger – especially when whey protein is involved. Our basic diets should be made up of the three macronutrients your body needs to function: protein, carbs and fat, as well as a variety of micronutrients. Numerous studies have shown that inadequate dietary protein intake leads to increased hunger and desire to eat. There have also been recent studies that have shown that having a high-protein breakfast, specifically whey protein, can help keep you feeling full for longer and reduced blood sugar spikes. This has also been linked to weight-loss. To help regain your focus through the afternoon, try grabbing a chocolate whey or vegan protein shake. Mix with hazelnut or almond milk for a sweeter taste, or even blend it up with half a frozen banana for something a little more satiating.
Protein supplements are also great for those who are following vegan diets – something that’s becoming more and more popular. Your body requires essential amino acids which are not made by your body but that we get from our diets. Some of these essential amino acids (lysine in particular) are found more abundantly in animal-based foods. If you’re not purposefully balancing a plant-based diet to ensure you’re getting everything your body needs, supplements can help. At Neat, we make our vegan blend with hemp and pea protein, making sure your body is getting all the essential amino acids it needs to recover well.
Those who are not following a non-dairy diet and who need either extra recovery from hard training, or find themselves struggling to sleep if hungry can also benefit from protein shakes. If you shake up a sachet of whey protein and 400ml cow’s milk, you’ll get the benefits of both whey and casein protein, the latter of which is known to be slower releasing, so it’ll drip-feed your muscles overnight.
Of course, there are also those looking to gain muscle (although not necessarily the body-builders you’re thinking of). If this is a goal, you need to make sure you’re running at calorie surplus – meaning you’re taking on more (of the right) calories than you’re burning off. This is where protein shake can help! With the right ingredients, the usually low-calorie shake can become an easy way to get some extra calories without feeling too full. Blend up protein powder, full fat milk, a large tbsp of peanut butter, frozen banana and oats to get some serious bang for your buck!
Taking a protein supplement is a great idea for busy people who want to stay healthy on-the-go, helping to make sure you still have the energy you need to do everything you love. Whether that’s keeping up a balanced diet whilst on a hectic travel schedule or running after your kids at the park. If you skip breakfast and suffer from mid-morning fatigue, a simple shake or protein smoothie could help you stay energised through the day!