Kimberly A. / GNC Store Manager
Mom and Fitness Competitor
People who lead an active lifestyle need more protein than those who don’t regularly exercise. But just increasing your protein intake isn’t enough to achieve your goals. You need to take a few steps to get the maximum benefit out of protein.
Your body uses protein to support your muscles…and nearly every other physiological function. Your body breaks down protein into amino acids that it uses to support critical functions. When you don't get enough protein, your body breaks down muscle tissue instead (catabolism) to extract more aminos.
Protein is critical for physically active people, but it can’t do all the work by itself. Research has shown that pairing protein with other nutrients enhances your body’s ability to break it down, use it efficiently and increase its impact.
Carbohydrates:  While protein fuels muscles, it’s not a source of immediate energy. That’s what carbs are for, so you should get some with your pre-exercise meal. When carbs are paired with protein immediately after a workout, they support amino acid uptake and protein synthesis, which boosts muscle growth and recovery.
Amino Acids:  Protein is broken down into amino acids, which are rapidly utilized during intense exercise. When your store of aminos gets low, your body extracts more by breaking down muscle tissue (catabolism). To prevent muscle breakdown, consider taking amino acids after working out.
Digestive Enzymes:  When we talk about protein absorption, we mean the way in which your body breaks it down so the nutrients can enter your blood stream. Digestive enzymes help your body to efficiently metabolize protein and other nutrients.
The total amount of protein you get each day may not be as important as when you get it. When your protein intake is distributed EVENLY throughout the day, it optimizes muscle protein synthesis.
  • Eat a protein-rich meal 2-4 hours prior to exercise
  • Consume rapidly absorbed protein (like whey) within 30 minutes after a workout
  • Consider a slowly absorbed protein (like casein) as a bed-time snack