When it comes to improving performance-physical and mental, lean protein is vital. The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your lean mass: your muscles, bones, and tissues; and your feel-good brain chemicals. You need high quality protein to build a high quality, high performance body and mind
Protein is your greatest energizer-physically and mentally. It builds muscle. Muscle cells produce energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy you have, the better you will perform. Protein stimulates the release of energizing neurotransmitters in your brain, putting you in a positive, confident state. On the other hand, eating high quantities of carbohydrates, particularly sugar and processed grain products, stimulate the release of seratonin, which induces sleepiness. Ever felt sleepy after a huge plate of pasta or other high-carb meal? It’s a combination of seratonin and low blood sugar. Stable blood sugar is vital to consistent energy, and a lean, high performance body and mind. Every time you eat lean protein, your body releases glucagon, a powerful hormone that stimulates fat burning. When eaten in combination with carbohydrates, protein slows the breakdown of carbohydrate into glucose, keeping blood sugar stable and preventing “post-meal fatigue.”
The latest research (by Dr Peter Lemon Ph D. and others) shows that if you exercise, you need at least three-quarters of a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day, spread out over the day. If you are an athlete or bodybuilder, you need more like 1-2 grams. It is important to include lean protein in every single meal, 4-6 times a day. The type of protein you want to focus on is not burgers and steak (we’re not talking Atkins here!), but “lean” sources that contain all the essential amino acids your body needs and less than 20% fat calories. Examples include: chicken breast (no skin), turkey (white or dark meat), salmon, tuna, white fish, free range eggs, free range beef, egg whites, shellfish, whey protein powder, and non-fat dairy. An average 3-4 oz chicken breast has about 25 grams of protein. Notice soy is not on this list. Although soy and other plant sources contain some protein, they are missing essential amino acids and are not very easily absorbed and utilized by your body. The quality of protein, like any other nutrient, is measured by how much of it your body can use. Whey protein isolate is the highest quality, most easily absorbed protein in existence today, which is why it has become so popular with athletes. It comes in a convenient powder, which you can use in an energy shake and add to other foods to enhance protein content.
I religiously start off my day and follow my workouts with an Energy Shake. This is a great way to increase my lean protein intake, without the hassle of preparing a full meal.
Basic Energy Shake Recipe:
- 2 cups non-fat milk or water
- 2 scoops of Energyfirst whey protein (chocolate or vanilla)
- 1 tablespoon Energyfirst Omega Oil Blend
- 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit (Add ice as desired)
My favorite combination is Energyfirst Ultimate Vanilla Whey Protein powder with frozen apple and raw almonds. You can use bananas, berries, apple, pear, pineapple with different flavored protein powder-the combinations are limited only by your imagination. This recipe makes a 32-ounce shake, containing 32 grams of the highest quality protein on the planet. Drinking an energy shake for breakfast will keep you performing at your peak for at least 4 hours. For top performance, you need high quality, lean protein every meal!