As a runner, taking protein can really help with your body’s recovery and keep you healthy and focussed but it’s not always easy to see where to get that protein from in an everyday diet. That’s why protein is an essential supplements for any runner.
If you want to train harder, run faster and for longer then it’s essential to get the right levels of protein into your diet on a regular basis and one of the best ways is to take a protein supplement, so you can be sure you are getting enough and at the right time.
The easiest way to make sure you get the right level of protein is to use a protein powder and add it to smoothies or shakes, or within your cooking, to make sure you are consuming the amount your body needs to recover properly.
The team behind the sports gear website, SportzBits, helped us put together this list of essential protein supplements for the runners out there. So here is their quick guide to the various types:
- Whey Protein
Whey protein is a complete protein which is generated from a by-product of the cheese-making process. Whey protein is a strong source of amino acids which work within your body to help your muscles recover after a run. It also has properties which help to protect the body against diseases and inflammation.One thing you need to be careful of is the quality of the whey protein powder you are purchasing – some have a high level of lactose so they can cause digestive problems and are unsuitable for people who are lactose intolerant.You should always check the percentage of the protein on the label, to assess the quality of the product you are buying. Good quality whey protein powder should be around 80% pure proteins or higher.You should also look at the ingredients list to make sure the powder doesn’t contain lots of artificial chemicals or lots of sugar. You want it to be as pure as possible and the ingredients list should be as short as possible. They do come in a variety of different flavours.
- Soy Protein
If you are lactose-intolerant or are vegan or vegetarian then whey protein is out of the picture but you could go for a soy protein powder instead. Soy protein is made from soybeans and is another really good way to get those all-important amino acids.Make sure you choose a protein powder which shows that the soy beans have not been genetically modified – many US soy-based products are made with GMO soy so always check the label and go for the most natural source you can find.Soy protein can be quite expensive, particularly if you find a non-GMO option and it’s not the only choice of plant-based protein out there so it’s worth shopping around to find the one that suits you best.
- Rice Protein
If you can’t use soy or whey protein powder for any reason, or you just want a cheaper, plant-based choice then rice protein could be ideal for you. It is made using brown rice which has been through a process to split the proteins from the carbs.It is very easy to digest so is ideal for anyone with food issues or digestive problems. It is difficult to flavour it though as it tastes like rice cereal so bear that in mind when you are planning to add it to other ingredients.However, it is the perfect choice for those on a budget, or those with food intolerances, allergies or sensitive digestive systems, as well as vegan or vegetarian runners.
- Hemp Protein
Another popular choice among vegetarians and vegans is hemp protein because it is almost pure protein and contains all of the amino acids which can be found in our bodies. Hemp has a nutty flavour and can be added to any dish.Hemp also contains a large amount of nutrients and fibre – making it a great choice for runners looking to boost their bodies after a work-out. As a plant-based protein it also contains antioxidants and can add a real health kick to any smoothie or shake after a run.As a runner, protein is a vital component to your diet to ensure all of your muscles are able to fully recover and grow following any kind of strenuous exercise. Rather than change your diet drastically, simply adding a protein supplement – either in the form of one of these powders added to drinks and meals – or by taking a supplement in tablet form will help to ensure you get the right nutrients that your body needs.
There are many options available, from whey protein powder to eating protein bars after a run to help support your recovery so just make sure you are keeping that protein topped up.