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Protein 101: Sources Of Protein, Protein Benefits And High Protein Foods

26th July 2022

26th July 2022

By Beth Shelper

Looking to increase your muscle mass, repair damaged tissue, aid your weight loss journey or improve your diet? Sounds like you’re in need of a protein supplementation. Perhaps The Fit Protein, in fact.

Before you embark on your fitness goals, implement a protein supplementation or alter your diet at all, though, when it comes to ingredients like protein, it’s important to do your research. If that’s why you’re here – great, welcome! Prepare yourself to learn about all things protein.

Starting with the basics, of course.

Common protein myths

Before we get into the details surrounding all things protein and protein supplementations, first, let’s squash some common protein myths. No, protein won’t make you sprout muscles overnight. You’re not going to end up ‘bulky’, or gain weight two-fold, either.  

What protein will help you do though, is improve your overall health, maximise your performance and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. That sounds more like it, right?

What is protein?

The importance of protein should never be underestimated. It’s an essential macronutrient that is required by the body, and it’s found in the body in a multitude of areas, including the muscles, tissue, skin and hair.

Made up of amino acids that are often described as ‘building blocks’, protein is the driver behind the powers that be when it comes to the normal and healthy functioning of everyday bodily functions. We’re talking energy fuelling functions, carrying oxygen through the body, and even creating essential antibodies that are vital for fending off any possible infections we may encounter.

So, like we said, protein is about essential as essential can be.

Types of protein

Scientifically speaking, when it comes to the different types of protein, classification can get pretty niche. In terms of the health and wellness space, and when considering protein sources to add into your diet, the types can be simply split into two: plant-based proteins (often called vegan proteins), and animal-based proteins.

Common animal proteins include whey and casein proteins, which are perhaps the most commonly known and the protein sources that are used widely in protein supplementations such as The Fit Protein. Alternatively, plant-based proteins include soy protein or brown rice and pea protein, with our very own The Health Protein being a great example of this vegan protein source.

What are the main health benefits of protein?

You may be asking, why is protein so good for you, after all? The answer to that is simple.

Protein is not just an essential nutrient, but one that carries a whole host of health and wellness benefits, too.

From lowering your blood pressure, reducing hunger and cravings, improving bone health and more, to assisting in weight loss efforts and maximising muscle mass and strength, it’s clear that protein is a hugely important nutritional element. Like we said – protein benefits definitely shouldn’t be underestimated, that’s for sure.

What are the best sources of protein?

Protein supplementations aside, there are plenty of foods that you likely already enjoy on a daily basis that provide you with protein: animal based and plant-based alike.

Some of our favourite sources of protein include:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Grains
  • Fish
  • Seeds
  • Seafood

Protein supplementations for your individual goals

With the wealth of protein benefits that supplementation and proper diet provides, it’s important to make sure that when you’re selecting a protein supplementation for you, that it’s tailored to your individual goals and preferences.

From a variety of health and fitness goal uses to flavour choices and even additional science-backed ingredients to help you stay on your A-game, here at Innermost, we have a protein blend for everyone. No exceptions.

  • The perfect vegan protein blend

If you’re looking to replace any potential loss of protein that comes from following a vegan diet, look no further The Health Protein is a delicious blend of pea and brown rice protein that ensures you get the protein you need in a quick, easy, and nutritional way.

Available in both chocolate and vanilla flavour and formulated with feel-good added extras such as acai berries, glutamine and bilberries, too, this protein shake is the best way to support your overall health when following a vegan diet.

  • The weight loss aid

On a mission to lose some weight, the healthy way? There’s a protein for that.

The Lean Protein is a whey protein blend that includes 29g of protein in every scoop, The Lean Protein contains acetyl l-carnitine to maximise your energy, amongst a bunch of other science-backed nutritionals. Available in both vanilla and chocolate too, what’s not to love?

  • The muscle maximiser

Combining ingredients to both enhance muscle growth and reduce inflammation (and therefore aid recovery), The Strong Protein is our whey protein blend that is high in protein and low in calories… and great tasting, too.

  • The energy fueller

If you’re lacking energy, this is the protein supplementation for you. Smashing your workout and fitness goals can get pretty tiring, right? That’s where The Fit Protein comes in.

Combining 29g of protein per serving with maca and magnesium for the ultimate energy boost, our vitality boosting protein blend was awarded the Best Protein award by Men’s Health at their Sports Nutrition Awards, and its not too hard to see why.

How much protein do we need for a healthy diet?

Now you know just which Innermost protein supplementation is your perfect pair, it’s important to ensure you know just how much you should be taking (food groups and supplementations included) every day.

Too little protein and you’re putting yourself at risk of potential health issues like muscle loss, tissue breakdown, bloating and even liver failure in some cases, but too much and you’re likely to notice long-term weight gain due to the calorie surplus.

For the average woman the daily recommended protein intake is around 50g a day, whereas for males this number increases to 70g per day – but again, everyone is different, and this largely depends on your weight and build.

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions!
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