Why is everyone talking about protein?

From haircuts to cars, trousers to pets, trends go in and out of fashion across all aspects of our lives and neither food nor sport are immune to these cycles. Sometimes new research or discoveries can inspire mass adoption of things, other times it’s the political or financial climate and occasionally a trend is sparked simply by a good-looking Instagram post. Actually, that happens fairly frequently.

Protein has been a bit of a buzzword for quite some time now and an entire industry has sprung up around protein enhanced foods, some of which seem just a little bit silly – Protein Mars Bars I’m looking at you. The focus on protein is certainly partly to do with the demonization of carbs, something I can’t wholeheartedly embrace as I love and need carbs to fuel my training. 

But is there more to protein than fashion? What does it mean for the endurance athlete or cyclist? Should we be embracing this new trend of upping our intake?

In short, the answer is yes, we generally should be paying due attention to this key macronutrient. Protein shouldn’t be overlooked as just another obsession, it’s always been important and remains so. 

Exercise actually breaks down the muscle protein and damages it and protein’s chief role is to repair and rebuild, so the link is pretty clear. Cyclists who ride a lot of miles or put in a lot of intense efforts are building and damaging muscle at a fairly high rate which is why we need more protein. A decent supply of quality protein delivered at the correct time can help ensure that protein synthesis is as rapid as possible, which aids recovery and helps you get back to training as quickly as possible. 

Protein is actually important throughout the day as the body isn’t able to store protein for use later, meaning a little and often approach works well for most people. And this is my excuse (I mean reason!) for always having a stash of Tribe Protein Bars with me wherever I go. It can also be a good way of satiating your appetite and as it helps preserve muscle mass whilst promoting fat loss, it’s beneficial to athletes hoping to make ‘race weight.’ This is generally thought to be down to the fact that it’s more difficult to use as a fuel source  than carbohydrate so the body burns fat digesting it.

Though protein is important throughout the day, it’s very beneficial to consume a protein rich meal, snack or drink immediately after exercise as that’s when your muscles are primed to receive it and needy of its healing powers. As a rule of thumb, if you can consume around 20 grams of protein within 20 minutes of finishing your workout you can kickstart the recovery process. For this reason, I often start eating a Tribe protein bar whilst spinning my legs on my cool down before I even get home.

So, what’s the best way to get your protein? If you’re vegetarian or vegan, it’s best to get your protein from a variety of different sources so that you get the correct amino acids. I like natural, unprocessed sources for me, that means all the different Tribe Protein varieties, nut butters, oats, plant milks and sometimes Tribe protein shakes. 

A Simple Way To Get Protein

I frequently eat the protein bars straight up as they’re delicious and convenient. But here are my favourite ways to get a protein fix. Hopefully it will inspire you to eat more protein too!

Protein pudding:

Microwave a Tribe Chocolate Brownie Protein bar for 20 seconds (without the wrapper). Serve with a dollop of almond butter and some Greek yoghurt. 

Peanut Butter banana dream:

Inspired by Elvis. Grab a Tribe Peanut Butter Protein bar, spread with nut butter and place slices of banana on top

Strawberry Vanilla protein shake:

Add 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1tbsp maple syrup and a sachet of Tribe vanilla cinnamon protein powder to a blender and blitz.

Bogoya Banana:

Chop into small chunks and use to top porridge. Drizzle with almond butter and swoon.

I’m a Tribe ambassador. But I’m recommending their products because I love them – they’re delicious, vegan and contain nothing but quality, unrefined ingredients. If you’d like to try a box of Tribe products and get them delivered to your door for £1, use my code JULIETELLIOTT at the checkout. Enjoy!

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