The longer you’ve been with Team Fitness, the more you’ve heard from us about the necessity of getting enough complete protein to support the hard work you put in at the gym.
(To review: A complete protein contains all 9 essential amino acids [EAAs] that we must ingest because our bodies don’t produce them. The optimal amount of complete protein for most active, athletic women is 120-140 grams per day; for most men it’s 160-180 grams per day. That is, about 2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight.)
Getting all that protein usually requires four feedings a day of 30-45 grams per meal. This can be a significant challenge compared to how we’re accustomed to eating. And of course it’s particularly difficult for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
We always encourage our athletes to get as much of their nutrition as possible from solid, whole, unprocessed foods. But the reality is that many of us depend on protein shakes in addition to solid food and even that is sometimes not enough.
So we’ve come up with a formula to help. We’ve already told you about creatine. Two other supplements we recommend are an amino acid complexand beta-alanine, both made by Thorne. (Contact us for more information on Thorne.)
The amino complex is a flavored powder containing all nine EAAs plus the conditional aminos that our bodies can make but not always effectively. This supplement has high concentrations of the branched-chain aminos, which are especially good for muscle building.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that your body uses to produce carnosine, which is stored in muscle cells and buffers lactic acid. The more carnosine available, the longer the muscle is able to contract before fatigue sets in, which then leads to performance gains.
The moral: eat as much solid whole food as possible to reach your calorie and protein goals, and supplement with creatine, aminos, and beta-alanine to optimize strength, performance, and body composition!