Perfect Your Recovery – The Vital Roles of Protein, BCAAs and Nutritional Timing

You can train as hard or as often as you want, but if it’s not underpinned by an effective and consistent diet, don’t expect to achieve the results you want.

Nutrition can be a double edged sword. Get it right and you can accelerate your recovery allowing you to train more often and at a higher intensity, or it can prevent you from ever reaching your goals. Remember everything you eat is either taking you closer to your goals or moving you further away. 

WHY PROTEIN IS SO IMPORTANT

“Protein: Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds which have large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.”¹

Proteins are ‘king’ when it comes to recovery and growth: these nutrients, once in the body, are digested into amino acids that are the building blocks of your lean mass.

During your workout, the cells in your muscles are subjected to higher stress than they normally are, among them, the significant release of lactic acid which occurs in exercise. This leads to the athlete having to recover a part of the ‘damaged’ cells, while also replacing some of the old cells with new ones, in the growth of which protein synthesis is vital. Therefore, the post-workout diet must include proteins in order for the body to be assisted in its process of recovery from effort.

Which protein sources are right for you?

VEGAN BIO PROTEIN

Optimise your recovery

Nu3 have created a vegan shake protein that contains no sugar, 21 g of protein per serving and offers a complete amino acid profile. The vegan bio protein of course contains no animal products, and is created from a combination of pea protein, hemp and rice. This is ethically sound, natural, healthy and a great addition to any intelligent nutritional plan!

PROTEIN AT BREAKFAST

Now this is something that makes a huge difference to your health, performance and recovery regardless of your goal. Breakfast can be one of the meals that people eat a solely carbohydrate based meal. Often individuals can go until 1.30pm before eating any form of protein (and even then its is usually only a small amount). Want to build muscle, lose fat, optimise your recovery and be awesome at work? Then get some into your breakfast!

So why is having protein at breakfast so crucial?

  • Boosts neurotransmitter production – enhances memory, attention and drive for the day ahead.
  • It is linked to eating less throughout the day.
  • Stabilises energy levels – no mid morning energy dips.
  • Provides amino acids to build muscle and recover from training.

It doesn’t matter whether you do the 6am conditioning class or the 8pm weightlifting class you need this at breakfast. A high quality protein shake is also a great option for supplying your body for the day ahead. Always choose quality over quantity, and select products made from organic ingredients such as the bio vegan whey from Nu3, a leading supplier of nutrients and supplements to the European market.

Athletes Training
Athletes Training

Here are some helpful breakfast ideas to boost your protein levels

  • Eggs – anyway you like – Omelettes, baked eggs, scrambled, poached, boiled. Add veggies, add meat, add fish – be creative.
  • Greek yoghurt – Add nuts, seeds, berries, protein powder – done!
  • Meat and nuts – Charles Poliquin championed this method. Try it. Trust me.
  • Chia seed puddings – So versatile and can be used for snacks and desserts as well.
  • Smoothies – Great way to add in lots of different superfoods and nutrients. Add spirulina, maca and tyrosine into a morning smoothie.

POST WORKOUT PROTEIN

It is absolutely essential that you consume some form of protein after you complete a workout. A rule of thumb is to try and get at least 0.6g/kg/BW of protein into your shake/meal post workout. So if you are 75kg then you will require 45g protein.

As with all nutrition advice “it depends” on certain factors such as the intensity of the session, your goals, what are you doing for the rest of the day etc. Use these few tips to help guide you in making the correct choices.

Although it is difficult to make a precise assumption regarding the most suitable time when food rich in protein should be consumed after a workout, there is general agreement over the fact that a snack or a meal featuring protein eaten soon after a training session greatly contributes to speeding up the recovery process.

crossfit nutrition quote card
Get on the right track

VALUABLE SOURCES

Meat

Meat has a high protein content that will help to fuel your body for recovery and performance. Try to avoid fatty meat and buy the best quality cuts you can afford. 

  • Lean turkey
  • Beef
  • Chicken

Fish

There are numerous other health benefits brought by the consumption of fish aside from the protein.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins A and D

Eggs

It is no secret that eggs offer a broad range of health benefits, and protein is no exception. They contain all nine essential amino acids, as well as many other important nutrients. It is worth noting that the protein content is equally split between the yolk and the white, so eating the whole egg would be advisable. Furthermore, eggs are considered to be richest in protein in their hard-boiled state.

VEGAN PROTEIN SOURCES

Eat for performance

Beans

They contain the highest amount of protein after the animal-based foods, thus being the best natural sources available to vegetarians and vegans. Although they do not have all nine essential amino acids found in meat, they feature lysine, which is usually absent in plant-based compounds. Furthermore, they are low in fat. Soybeans are among the varieties with the highest protein content. 

Tofu

Tofu is a wonderful vegan alternative to fish or meat, containing eight of the nine essential amino acids, iron, calcium and many other nutrients. Although its raw form is often criticised for its not very spectacular taste, tofu is very versatile: there are many ways to cook it which would enable you to both benefit from all the protein it boasts and enjoy a delicious dish.

Meal prepping ring muscle up healthy foods
Focus on your goals

Nu3 Bio Vegan Protein

  • Combination of pea protein, hemp and rice
  • A shake provides at least 21 g of vegetable protein
  • Aspartame-free, sugar-free and colour-free

Pea proteins are an ideal base for a vegan protein powder and combine perfectly with hemp and rice proteins. The combination of these three proteins provides a complete amino acid profile and a chemical score that has nothing to envy from more traditional whey proteins.

Learn more about bio vegan protein

BCAAS AND PROTEIN SYNTHESIS

As almost all proteins are unable to reach the cells of the body in their original form, they are broken down to their components, amino acids. Following this process, protein synthesis is carried out, thus enabling the new cells to grow and develop. In addition, studies show that consuming proteins alongside carbohydrates helps enhance glycogen re-synthesis.

BCAAs reduce the rate of protein breakdown, increase protein synthesis, and help improve workout intensity allowing you to work harder for a longer period. Increasing synthesis and decreasing breakdown will equate to muscle gain or maintenance. BCAAs are an excellent and intelligent addition to your nutrition if you are serious about maximising your performance and recovery.

NUTRITIONAL TIMING FOR RECOVERY

It is clear that some form of protein MUST be eaten post workout, whether that is from meats and eggs, vegan plant sources or from a protein shake. Complex carbohydrates are also essential during this period.

Some simple advice you can follow is keep protein intake consistent, increase carbohydrates on training days and increase fats on non training days. Carbohydrates to replenish muscle and liver glycogen, fats to help cellular regeneration and lower muscle soreness.

Running Athlete
Recover properly after all types of workouts

Use the following as a rule of thumb

  • Higher Intensity or volume = higher carbohydrates
  • Lower Intensity or volume = lower carbohydrates

5 Lower glycemic carbohydrate sources

  • Oatmeal
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Buckwheat

These carbohydrate sources will supply your body with top quality nutrients, optimise your recovery and ensure lasting energy levels throughout the day.

NUTRITIONAL TIMING FOR COMPETING AND TRAINING

We have looked at the importance of eating protein at breakfast in order to set your body and mind up for the day. This also provides energy for your workout, but what else should you think about when it comes to your training? These 3 quick tips will help your performances.

  • Every Athlete should eat no less than 30-45 minutes before each event, ideally 1-3 hours prior.
  • Competition days are a good day to increase your carbs to replenish muscle and liver glycogen.
  • On days you’re not competing or training it is wise to increase your fats to help with cellular regeneration and increase recovery time.

THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL AND ORGANIC PRODUCTS

Ultimately, you cannot cheat your nutrition. If you fuel your body with poor quality produce and supplements, then you will not have good results. Consistency is also incredibly underrated. Do the simple things well, rely on organic, natural products and you will progress. 

Nutrition for performance

If every meal has the exact macros your body needs, and is ready to go whenever you need it, you will steadily progress towards your goals. This will stop you veering off course and prevent you from falling back on convenience food or eating to satiate hunger and cravings, which can easily make you overshoot your calorie targets and dent your progress.

Proper regimented nutrition ensures you’re getting the right macronutrients in the right amounts:

  • Enough protein to support muscle growth and tissue repair
  • The right amount of carbohydrate to support performance and replenish muscle glycogen
  • The right amount of fat for vital functions like hormone production.

Nu3 are dedicated to providing exceptional nutrition for all athletes and individuals. They commit to using only the best quality organic ingredients, fueling you for success and achieving the goals you want.

Having quality, nutrient-rich whole foods on-hand means your body is getting a constant supply of the right macro – and micro nutrients it needs to function optimally. A properly planned diet can keep your metabolic hormones and blood sugar levels balanced and stable – so no more spikes and crashes, just constant energy to help you perform at your best in the gym and be at your most productive and creative at work.

EXCELLENCE IN ALL AREAS

Quality is the result of intelligent effort. If you are serious about making progress, getting fitter, healthier and achieving the goals that you set for yourself then you must commit to quality and consistency across the board. Make excellence a daily habit in your life. 

Perfect your nutrition now

¹ Oxford English Dictionary


Athletes Training © Nu3

crossfit nutrition quote card © BOXROX

Meal prepping ring muscle up healthy foods © RX'd Photography

Running Athlete © Nu3

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About The Author

Editor-In-Chief at BOXROX. I come from a background of rugby and weightlifting. Growing up in the English Lake District, I spent a great deal of time swimming in its stunning lakes and rivers. In 2015 my brothers and I became the first people to swim the 145km length of the River Eden, from source to mouth, in 9 days. We also swam the Corryvreckan whirlpool, the third largest in the world, and Crossfit is a huge part of my training for these events.

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