INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Is working out one of your New Year’s resolutions? For many people, it tops their list. But if you’re new to working out, you may not know one of the most important things you should be taking in before and after exercise is protein.
Nick Handlon, a junior at Avon High School, wants to be a professional athlete one day, so he takes working out and nutrition seriously.
“Hey this is what I want to do, and this is what I have to do, to do it,” said Handlon.
It was in his freshman year he started making sure protein, which builds muscle, became a staple in his workout diet.
“Putting something good in your body after a workout, you just feel better, you feel better throughout the week,” said Handlon.
And according to IU Health Sports Performance nutritionist Heather Fink, protein is as essential to your diet as getting good rest and eating balanced meals.
“We need to get back to the basics. We need to get whole foods in their original form and that’s a lot of what people can do to improve their athletic performance,” said Fink.
Protein can help overall performance, and it can come in many forms, like chicken, fish, nuts and vegetables. It can also come from protein drinks — Core Power, made here in Indiana, Muscle Milk, or even protein powders. Fink says when choosing a supplement or protein source to get one that is as simple as possible, so not a lot of extra ingredients
“Protein is important when it comes to athletes recovering from one workout and going to another workout,” said Nick Brittain, a fitness specialist with IU Health Sports Performance.
He says protein is especially important if you plan to work out several times a week. And that’s exactly what Toronto Blue Jays catcher Matt Hitt believes. In high school, he got this advice from elite athletes:
“Eat more protein in your diet and you’ll get bigger, stronger, faster,” said Hitt. “And I just stuck with it through high school and I’ve had a good balanced diet. And as I’ve worked that protein into my system, I’ve seen my body change physically and I’ve gotten stronger because of it,” said Hitt.
Fink says you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from protein, but it is the buzzword for workouts right now. Fink says balance is extremely important too.