Whenever I start a new client, whether it is an in-the-gym training client or a coaching client who lives in another state, I start with the basics. My goal as a coach is to make sure each of my clients has a rock-solid foundation regarding their fitness, movement, and nutrition.
And when it comes to nutrition, one of the foundation topics is protein. Simply stated, protein builds and preserves lean muscle. If the concept of tracking protein is new to a client, our first target is to get 3-servings daily. For the more sophisticated clients, we can get into macros and determine the best possible number of protein grams for their needs.
Many factors go into determining the right amount of protein relative to activity levels, goals, current weight and body composition, and age. And when we get older, current research suggests we need to stay consistent with our protein intake and possibly consume even more than we did when we were younger.
Whey protein isolate is effective for building and preserving muscle because it can turn on the muscle-building switch in our body. Leucine is an amino acid that is abundant in whey protein isolate and turns on the muscle-building switch when consumed in the proper amount.
When we’re younger, insulin plays a greater role in turning on the muscle-building switch. But as we age, insulin’s ability to trigger the muscle-building process is diminished.
Thus, as we get into our 50s, 60s, and beyond, we could need up to 50% more protein to avoid losing muscle mass. And I don’t know about you, but I consider muscle mass and relative strength the two most important factors in boosting longevity and durability and improving our quality of life as we age.
And if we don’t increase our protein intake, we could lose 30-50% of our muscle mass as we age, according to the Kerry Health & Nutrition Institute. This is especially true if we reduce the amount of activity we do and how much we challenge the muscles in our bodies.
But adding 50% more solid protein to each meal can feel daunting. You could feel overfull and bloated from eating so much extra solid food. That’s where a high-quality liquid protein supplement comes into play.
One of the best ways to get more protein is “double-dipping.” When you have a meal, containing protein, you should wait up to 4 hours before your body can use solid food to turn on the muscle-building switch again. But with liquid protein, you only need to wait 2 hours.
So, if you want to activate the muscle-building process as often as possible, have a meal containing around 30 grams of protein … and have a protein shake 2 hours later. It’s almost like cheating! But it works 🙂
So now we know that as we age, we should not skimp on our protein … and in fact, we should boost our intake by 50%. In most cases, that goal can be achieved with a liquid protein source that won’t have you feeling stuffed or bloated between meals.
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