How Much Protein for Muscle Repair?

The general population needs an average of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (g/kg). Add in activity levels, and the protein recommendation is bulked, though degrees of variation also depend on the type of physical performance. Recreational athletes should aim for 1.1 to 1.4 g/kg. For endurance athletes, the general rule of thumb is 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg whereas strength trainers often require a higher intake of 1.2 to 1.7 g/kg. However, some athletes may even require up to 2.0 to 2.5 g/kg, yet contingent on the duration and intensity of exercise.

Workout Recovery Foods

In addition to protein quantity, quality should also be considered. Complete proteins, containing all essential amino acids, are often encouraged to best stimulate protein synthesis. But protein should also be complimented with a healthful carbohydrate source to replete glycogen stores and stabilize blood sugars, as the muscles uptake available energy during and following exercise. Consuming a protein-rich meal is best within one to two hours of exercise, with protein consistently spaced with meals throughout the day. And when it comes to protein shakes, most health experts may agree they may be unnecessary. While they are convenient and supply valuable protein and nutrients, they may contain unwanted ingredients, lack in fiber, and hit hard on the wallet. Ditch the protein shake with these 10 best foods for muscle recovery:

Animal Proteins

1. Chicken

Chicken is a recognized muscle recovery food for an obvious reason, just 3-ounces of skinless chicken offers 28 grams of protein! Though relying on chicken may become monotonous, these unique bistroMD recipes will retain its liveliness. From tandoori chicken masala to jerk chicken with mango salsa, the flavors of chicken are ever evolving.

2. Tuna

Tuna packs 22 grams of protein per 3-ounces! And if desiring the convenience of protein shakes, canned or individually-sealed tuna can be a handy option. Pair with freshly cut veggies or whole grain crackers for a sensible, muscle recovery food. Its omega-3 fatty acid content can further reduce and protect against inflammation within the body following a rigorous workout.

3. Cow’s Milk

Regular cow’s milk is a useful, balanced muscle recovery food, as it’s natural carb content offers glycogen repletion while its 8 grams of protein (per cup) fosters muscle repair! Additionally, milk contains both whey (fast-acting) and casein (short-acting) proteins, each appreciated for muscle repair and synthesis. If desiring quicker, more immediate protein absorption, utilizing whey protein is a popular muscle recovery supplement.

4. Cottage Cheese

Being produced from milk, cottage cheese certainly boasts some attention, too. In fact, a mere ½ cup of cottage cheese supplies a whopping 14 grams of protein! Cottage cheese can be mixed into smoothies or paired with fresh peaches, pears, and pineapple.

5. Greek Yogurt

Swapping out traditional yogurt with Greek yogurt is a simple way to boost protein content. One cup (or 8-ounces) of nonfat Greek yogurt supplies 11 grams of protein. It is important, though, to resort to plain yogurt, as flavored products can be packed to the brim with added sugars! Naturally sweeten yogurt with a drizzle of honey or fruit if desired. Blueberries, for example, have been suggested to initiate improved recovery, largely related to its antioxidant content, shown to protect against cellular damage.

6. Eggs

Weight lifter have been gulping down raw egg whites for centuries to obtain quick protein. However, doing so can be harmful, as the whites can interfere with biotin absorption and raise the risk of foodborne illness. But when the white is thoroughly cooked through, it can be a valuable muscle recovery food, as one medium-sized egg supplies six grams of protein. Enjoy eggs hardboiled, sunny side-up, or scrambled! Pair with sliced bell peppers, jalapenos, and cheese and wrap into a whole grain tortilla (if preferred) for a complete muscle repairing, well-balanced breakfast following that morning workout.

Plant-Based Proteins

7. Edamame

Offering both protein (9 grams) and carbohydrate (7 grams) per half-cup, edamame is great for muscle repair. It is also a significant plant-based source for individuals cutting down or eliminating animal products! Eat straight from the pods or add into these healthy edamame recipes.

8. Almonds

A serving size of almonds (1-ounce or about 23 nuts) offers 6 grams of protein. Like tuna and other fatty fish, almonds also provide omega-3 fatty acids that delivers anti-inflammatory properties. Consume almonds by themselves, mix into a nutrient-rich trail mix, or create these healthy almond joy candy bars for an on-the-go, post-workout treat!

9. Peanut Butter and Banana

Though peanut butter is discouraged based on its high calorie and fat content, it is a convenient and plant-based protein source (supplying 8 grams of protein per serving or two tablespoons). Pairing peanut butter with banana is a muscle repair power duo, as potassium is an electrolyte lost through sweat and dehydration. Replenishing potassium can supplementary prevent against muscle cramps!

10. Chickpeas

Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas offer approximately 20 grams of protein per ½ cup! They also supply healthful fat and adequate amounts of fiber, making them completely well-rounded. Enjoy chickpeas roasted or blended into hummus.