So you’ve decided it’s time to get in shape. You’ve got your new XBar, cleared out a block of time each day, and devised an exercise routine to push yourself to the limit. But there’s one more important aspect of any workout regimen that needs to be planned for as well - and it takes place in the kitchen.
A workout program without a diet accompanying it could be an exercise in futility. Muscles need to eat to grow and protein is the best food for them. Protein has a number of benefits when it comes to strengthening muscle, like increasing energy and making post-workout repairs.
Protein is made from nine different amino acids, each of which contributes to the ATP process. For your muscles to move, they need energy and that energy comes from ATP. Yes, think back to your high school biology class - adenosine triphosphate or ATP is the molecule inside all cells that gives them energy and life. Protein makes this process possible, supplying your muscles with the fuel to make them move.
Protein also keeps muscles healthy by repairing them after strenuous exercise. When you work out, you make little tears in your muscles when extending and contracting them over and over. Consuming protein helps fix these little tears and makes your muscles more prepared for the next workout.
Some bodybuilders drink protein shakes to increase their intake, but most people get ample protein simply through food alone. Here are a few high protein foods:
- Meat - chicken, pork, beef, fish
- Dairy - milk, eggs, yogurt
- Nuts - almonds, cashews, peanuts
- Beans - chickpeas, soybeans, black beans
Vegan foods like tofu and soy are also rich in proteins, but you can always use plant-based protein powders if your diet leaves you short. Protein occurs naturally in so many foods though, it’s easy to get your daily intake without supplementation. If you find your XBar workouts lacking, try incorporating some extra protein into your meals. The difference might surprise you.