I started incorporating protein supplements into my pole and workout routine about 2 years ago. Like you, I’d heard about post workout nutrition but really didn't know much about it. I assumed it was more for athletes and bodybuilders than for ladies who work out – in our case Pole Dance!
Fortunately Protein supplement education has come a long way, but you need to understand the science and benefits behind it before deciding to go down this path or not. I often get asked, “Should I be incorporating more protein into my post-workout diet and when should I be using it?” If this sounds like you, here is a quick guide to using protein to help reach your goals.
If you already maintain a good healthy diet with lots of lean meat (beef, chicken, seafood) you should not be needing protein supplements all the time - but there are definitely benefits to using them AFTER you workout. On the other hand, if your diet is NOT as high in protein as it should be (vegetarians and vegans take note), then supplementing with protein BEFORE and AFTER a workout is probably a good idea.
1/ BEFORE A WORKOUT - Consuming a protein shake or other supplemental form of protein an hour or two before training can increase muscle mass and enhance performance, ie give your body enough fuel for energy to maintain your workout session.
2/ AFTER A WORKOUT- You should be consuming protein after a workout if you want to see results - plain and simple. Protein helps to rebuild and repair the muscles that you just worked and ideally, you should be consuming it within 20 minutes of finishing up. Resistance exercise (such as Pole Dance) breaks down muscle, and the body needs to repair the cellular damage caused to the whole system, including hormonal, immune, muscle and tissue. It will also provide you with energy to push through the rest of your day.
3/ FOR WEIGHT LOSS - If counting calories isn’t working for you, you may want to try protein supplements. They won’t magically melt away the kilo's, but they can help fill you up on fewer calories, and used in conjunction with a good workout/exercise program will help to build LEAN muscle, which in turn BURNS FAT - and that's what we're looking for....lean muscle and lower body fat :-) I am NOT an advocate of using Protein Supplements as a meal replacement - but used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise, many ladies find Protein Supplements do assist their weight loss goals.
THE RIGHT STUFF - There are many different types of protein powders available and it really is important to find the one that best suits you. For me personally, I found this quite challenging at first as I am Lactose Intolerant, but after much experimenting and finally ending up getting AWESOME advice from a Sports Nutrition store, I found "the right stuff" for me. I use Proto-Whey by BNRG which is a Hydrolised Whey Protein suitable for people who are Lactose Intolerant. It is also Gluten Free (perfect for Coeliacs) and is more readily absorbed into the system and therefore put to good use.
THE RIGHT ADVICE - I cannot stress enough how important it is to get good advice if you're going to go down this path, so jump online and find a couple of local sports nutrition stores, then go in and talk to them. My favourite is ASN (Australian Sports Nutrition) who have stores around Australia as well as their online store.
I hope I've convinced all you pole dancers and aerialists out there to give it some thought. If you want to get serious about getting really fit and strong to do your BEST stuff, then protein supplements are definitely worth taking another look at.
If you have any comments or questions, please drop me a line in the Comments box - and feel free to share this article with your friends using the Sharing buttons below :-)
Until next time....