Saturday, August 11, 2012

Treat your muscle pain with protein

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Possible pulled muscle?

After my training session on Thursday with Kay, I had a scare... my left glute (aka, my butt muscle) was a bit more than sore. It felt extremely tight, achy and I was going through some mild pain that made it a little tricky to walk.

I panicked... I thought that maybe I had pulled a muscle, which would really hurt my ability to push myself in the LIFFT Booty Camp Challenge.

Kay saves the day!

So I called Kay and explained the feeling in my leg as best as I could, and - as usual - she saved the day with her heap of fitness knowledge! Because the pain only felt mild and it was not a stabbing sensation, it was likely being caused by the fact that the muscle was growing. How exciting! Her immediate solution was to stretch it out and then simply rest. If it persists into the next day, then it may be more serious than muscle growth.

Why does it hurt when the muscle grows?

When I met Kay on Saturday for our beach workout, she gave me more details as to what caused the pain and how I might support the muscle as it develops. When you push a muscle far enough and really work it out, you actually are causing tiny tears to break throughout your muscle. That is what causes the pain.

Where the protein comes in... 

It's nothing to be alarmed about! This process is completely normal and, by eating the right food after your workout, you can help along the strengthening of your muscle. The protein is necessary to fill in the gaps that are created when the tears appear in the muscle. "Protein is required by the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of cells."

According to Dr. Jeff Zachwieja, principal scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, said in an article by Joe Baur for, "The reason [protein] is important is because it provides the amino acids that our muscles need to continually rebuild themselves." 

What foods are considered protein?

According to, complete proteins contain all the amino acids that our bodies are unable to produce on our own (usually found in animal-based foods) and incomplete proteins usually do not contain at least one of the amino acids that our bodies need to receive from the food we eat (usually found in plant-based foods).

Animal-based foods
  • Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products (do not eat in excess, because they could be harmful to your health)
  • Red meat, whole milk, cheese (could possibly clog your system with saturated fats while also giving you the perfect proteins)
  • Light yogurt, low-fat cheese, nonfat milk, lean cuts of meat (these are the best options because  they offer healthy sources for perfect proteins)
Plant-based foods:
  • Soybeans (this is the only vegetable that contains complete proteins)

What is the best source of protein?

According to WebMD, here is the list of the top 10 best sources of protein. Click on the link for the full explanation as to why these proteins are the best of the best.

  1. Seafood
  2. White-meat poultry
  3. Milk, cheese and yogurt
  4. Eggs
  5. Beans
  6. Pork tenderloin
  7. Soy
  8. Lean beef
  9. Protein on the go
  10. Protein at breakfast
So after your workout today, go on a search for some delicious protein and feed your muscles the fuel that they need. 

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