When it comes to protein intake one of the first things that tends to come to mind for me is my mum telling me not to do drugs. Maybe you never truly considered protein as something particularly important and instead reserved it for the body builders with those massive, scary, muscley bodies. That’s fair! When it comes to protein unless you are also exercising like the mountains of muscles you do not have to worry about become as bulky as them, unless you want to and work towards lifting large amounts of weight. The reason we care about your protein intake and the reason we’ve turned this into its own conversation in addition to the nutrition portion is because protein is fundamental to recovery. As a quick refresher protein is the building block of most of your body including your blood vessels, your heart, your brain, your skin, your muscles, your nails and even your eyeballs are supported by protein. If you don’t have enough protein your hormones are going to suffer which means your mood, your recovery, and the rest of your body too which translates to injuries. Ouch. We don’t want injuries, depression, or bubbly skin, no, instead we want a joyful composure, great hormone profiles and absolutely no injuries with insane performance and a toned body that looks great in a swimsuit. To achieve this you understand that you need protein so the next logical question is likely to be: do I have to eat meat, become a carnivore and devour my neighbour? No. You don’t need to resort to cannibalism to eat enough protein the only thing that truly matters is that you have a diet that includes “complete” sources of protein. That doesn’t mean that you need to necessarily eat a whole steak or otherwise it doesn’t count. No. It’s a teeny bit more complicated than that. Proteins are made up of even tinier pieces called Amino acids, and in order for your body to properly use the proteins you eat and function correctly it needs all the amino acids and not just some of them. I will be perfectly honest about where I am coming when it comes to diet, I eat lots of meats of various kinds including red meats as well as chicken, fish, and eggs. My typical breakfast includes 6-8 eggs sometimes with extra egg whites. Please understand that this was my personal choice because animal proteins tend to have the entire amino acid spectrum while individual plant proteins tend to have parts of the puzzle that you need to combine in order to improve the protein quality. What does this mean? It means that might need beans, coleslaw and peas to make the same protein profile as a chicken breast in terms of completeness, again from a technical standpoint. This does not mean that one is better than the other and in fact I have colleagues who run really fast and lift more than 400lbs while staying lean year round without injuries, but they know what they are doing and therefore I urge you to learn the specificities of eating correctly if you choose to pursue the vegan or vegetarian route, otherwise you may be more predisposed to injury.

Great. I know what protein is, how much do I need? Here’s my simple recommendation: take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.7. That’s how many grams of protein you need to eat to live without having to worry about injury. That’s it. It’s that simple. But wait you probably have more questions about when should eat this magical protein. When it comes to when you should eat this protein the simple answer is that it doesn’t actually matter all that much, but it does help if you eat 30 grams within about 4 hours of the workout. Generally though, eating your protein in the 24 hours (day) after your workout will still be effective in helping you recover. It’s been found that your recovery window tends to be about a day and potentially up to 2 days after the exercise, which means that although you should get the recommended amount of protein every day, it’s fine if you slack off if you’re fully rested, just as long as you are careful in making sure that you have enough protein the day after your workout.

Just to go over that quickly, here are points:

· Protein ain't just for the gym rats. It's a building block for your entire body: heart, brain, muscles, even your eyes.

· Skipping on protein means a hit on your hormones, mood, recovery, and risk of injuries. But with enough, you can expect good vibes, fast recovery, less injuries, top performance, and a killer beach body.

· Wondering if you have to turn into a carnivore for enough protein? Nah. What matters is having "complete" protein in your diet, which includes all essential amino acids.

· As for me, I'm a meat lover. But that's a personal choice. Animal proteins tend to have the full amino acid spectrum, while plant proteins usually have pieces of the puzzle. Combine different plant foods right, and you can get all essential amino acids.

· So, how much protein do you need? Easy. Just take your weight in pounds and multiply by 0.7. That's your daily protein in grams to keep injuries at bay.

· When to eat your protein? Not super crucial. But try to have about 30 grams within 4 hours of your workout. But even if you spread it out over the next 24 to 48 hours, it still aids recovery. And hey, if you're resting, you can slack a bit. Just don't forget to get enough protein after you exercise.