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The importance of protein

Protein is one of life’s building blocks. Along with fats and carbohydrate, minerals and vitamins, proteins are essential for the body.

What is protein?

Proteins are made up of amino acids and are the building blocks for our muscles, bones, organs, skin and tissues. Proteins, as amino acids, both build and repair muscles as we break them down through activity.

It therefore stands to reason that proteins are even more important to people who work out in the gym, train hard and live active lives generally.


When we consume protein, our digestive system breaks it down into individual amino acids, which are then sent to work to build and repair.

There are 20 amino acids required for the body to function properly. Of these nine are known as Essential amino acids and they are not produced by the body but need to be taken in as food or supplements.

The nine essential amino acids are: tryptophan, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, and valine. Among the functions performed by these amino acids are muscle growth, tissue regeneration, the production of collagen, detoxification of the body and regulation of blood sugar.

How can we get protein into our diet?

Food stuffs that are good source of the nine essential amino acids are things sugar as dairy products, soy, red meat, seafood, poultry, quinoa and buckwheat.

How can protein intake help my gym performance?

Now we have touched on the science, here is the practical bit. As someone who exercises hard, how can you make sure your body is getting enough amino acids to recover from an intense session as well as help you improve your performance and fitness levels?

One of the benefits of ensuring adequate protein intake is that it helps you feel full for longer. If you are both trying to improve your fitness and shed some weight, then this is a big benefit. When you exercise hard, you tend to feel hungry more frequently and eat more food. By loading your diet with protein, you will feel full for longer which will help with weight management.

Protein also boosts a person’s metabolic rate. Calories will be burnt efficiently. This is good news for anyone trying to change their body composition and lower their BMI. Try to consume a regular supply of protein throughout the day, particularly during and after a workout. This will help stabilise blood sugar and maintain muscle mass, while encouraging the body to burn fat.

Finally, protein not only repairs muscles but it will help promote muscle growth. Combine a structured training programme with a regular protein intake to improve your muscle structure and tone.

A balanced approach

If you exercise regularly and at a high intensity you should ensure your diet is well balanced and has plenty of protein. You will benefit from adding protein supplements to your regime. Keep your protein intake at a steady rate by taking a shake to each training session. Speak to one of the staff at the Outlooks Gym or Free Weights gym for information about protein and your exercise programme. They can also give you advice about the range of protein supplements available through Kelsey Kerridge.