Running can be a great way to lose weight, boost your fitness levels and improve your overall conditioning. It’s also one the most accessible forms of exercise around - it doesn’t cost anything, you don’t need any special equipment beyond a good pair of trainers, and you can do it just about anywhere! With such a low barrier to entry, it’s no surprise that thousands of people have taken up running as a hobby during the coronavirus lockdown. A popular sports retailer reported a huge 218% increase in sales of running shoes during lockdown compared to the same period of time last year, and a 243% boost in sales of running clothing.
One question we hear a lot from new runners is this; do runners need to take extra protein? How much do you need and when is the best time to take it? Let’s find out…
Do runners need protein?
The short answer is yes. Protein shakes aren’t just for people who lift weights. If you take part in any form of exercise, your body needs a certain amount of protein in order to recover and repair itself. If you’re not fuelling your body correctly before and after runs it can lead to fatigue and injury. And if your muscles aren’t getting to the right amount of protein it can also seriously limit your ability to get fitter and faster.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that recreational athletes need to consume around 1 gram of protein per kg of body weight per day. So if you weighed 10 stone (or 140lbs), you would need to eat roughly 64g of protein throughout the course of the day.
For more serious athletes, it’s recommended that you consume 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. So again, a person who weighs 10 stone and engages in regular heavy exercise would need around 128g of protein per day.
Will protein shakes make me put on weight?
If you’re running to lose weight, you need to watch what you eat and create a ‘calorie deficit’ - in other words you should be eating slightly fewer calories than you use. As a very rough guide, you burn around 100 calories per mile you run. She Supps has a range of low-calorie Lean Protein powders that can help you achieve this.
Some female runners worry that taking protein will make them bulky and muscular - this is a total myth.
You might notice a slight increase in weight when you take up a new sport or exercise plan, but don’t be alarmed if this happens - it’s normal to develop extra muscle mass when you start to exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve put on extra body fat.
Should I drink protein shakes after running or before?
This is quite a hotly debated topic amongst sport scientists. We suggest that you take a protein supplement alongside some high quality carbs around 2 hours before exercise, or take a protein supplement within 1 hour of completing your workout. It’s up to you to decide what works best for your body and your schedule.