When we hear about protein after a workout, the thought of bulky men carrying around their tumblers full of powdered mix and water probably comes to mind. Or large containers wrapped with cellophane stamped with “SUPER MASS GAINER” that promise high calories and proven results.
For years, I would hit the gym thinking that protein was only for men trying to bulk up. The powders seemed unnecessary and confusing, so I kept my distance. It wasn’t until I started working at a gym and juice bar, mixing smoothies for lithe woman after spinning class, that I realized I had been doing my post-workout tradition all wrong.
Protein, it turns out, is crucial to rebuilding and regenerating muscles. To reap all of the benefits of a great workout, getting in a smoothie, some lean meats or other sources of protein within 20 minutes can speed up the process of your muscle toning and tightening. In fact, according to Shape Magazine, adding protein to your diet will burn the most calories after you eat it — it keeps your metabolism high during the day, burning off even more calories than those you sweat out on the treadmill.