Over the past six weeks, you’ve been building strength and endurance. To accomplish this, you steadily increased your activity level and added cross-training to target new muscle groups. You also had to nourish your body. Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel but your body also uses protein to support these changes in your physical health.
Protein is an important building block for muscle development. You need it in combination with strengthening exercises to add muscle mass, if that is your goal with cross-training. It is also needed to repair and maintain muscle tissue so, even if your goal isn’t to build muscle, it’s important to maintain what you’ve got. Protein is also used by your body to build other tissues like skin and form needed chemicals like hormones and enzymes.
To meet your body’s needs, include protein as part of each balanced meal or snack. Your body can only use so much protein at one time and it doesn’t store the excess so, it’s best to eat protein throughout the day instead of all at one meal. Keep in mind, protein alone isn’t enough to nourish you - it needs to be part of balanced meals with carbohydrate and fat. If you want a refresher on the topic of balanced meals, take another look at week 5. Keep reading to learn why the source of protein matters and how to add more variety.
Don’t forget to plan for your small change to walk or run 30 minutes for at least 3 days and add a cross-training activity on 1 day.
- Osterweil,N. (2004). WebMD: The Benefits of Protein. Retrieved at https://www.webmd.com/men/features/benefits-protein#1