Protein is the building block for muscle and, since the body can’t store excess for later as with carbohydrates and fat, consistent intake throughout the day is needed in order to keep muscles strong and healthy. But immediately after a full night of sleep or a tiring workout, the body has little to no protein available to rebuild tissue. So sync those watches and work a healthy dose of aminos into breakfast and post-workout meals to ensure the body has an adequate supply.

Power Up With Protein — The Takeaway

We hear it all the time: breakfast is the most important meal of the day… with protein being a critical component. And if there’s any time the body is craving to get some much-needed replenishment, it’s after being deprived of muscle-repairing nutrients for the entire night. So wake up and smell the protein! The body is hungry, and protein is a great way to break the fast. Plus, if aiming to lose weight, consuming a high-protein breakfast has been shown to reduce hunger throughout the dayNatural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast skipping teens. Leidy, HJ., Lepping, RJ., Savage, CR., et al. University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas and University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. Obesity 2011 May 5.

Similarly important is our intake of protein after exercise, especially if muscle growth and maintenance is a goalLong-term synthesis rates of skeletal muscle DNA and protein are higher during aerobic training in older humans than in sedentary young subjects but are not altered by protein supplementation. Robinson, MM., Turner, SM., Hellerstein, MK. Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal 2011 May 25. . Following a tough training session, the body needs help from its friend protein to repair body tissue and start the process of building stronger, more resilient musclesProtein for exercise and recovery. Kreider, R.B. and Campbell, B. Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab, Department of Health and Kinesiology, 158H Read Building, 4243 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Jun;37(2):13-21.. Recent studies suggest taking in around 20 grams of high-quality protein within 30 minutes after exercise gives the body the nutrients it needs to start recovery and prevent muscle lossIngested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Moore, D.R., Robinson, M.J., Fry, J.L., et al. Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):161-8.. And as the saying goes, friends don’t let friends lose muscle.

Good sources of protein include eggs, raw nuts, or cottage cheese. Fish, beans, lean beef, and chicken are equally fantastic sources, but may not be so appetizing for breakfast. Of course, the quickest “whey” to get protein, especially immediately after a workout, might be reaching for the shaker bottle (though not as a replacement for balanced, protein-packed meals).Power to the protein!


Timing is everything. A dose of protein in the morning and post-workout will help ensure the body has the nutrients necessary for muscle growth.