Multi-discipline pro-cyclist and TRIBE Ambassador Juliet Elliott shares her thoughts on why we should be embracing the new trend of upping our protein intake and shares her favourite ways to get a quick protein fix, including TRIBE Brownie Pudding and TRIBE Strawberry Vanilla Breakfast Shake.
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, everyday gym-goer or cyclist? Should we be embracing this new trend of upping our protein intake?
In short, the answer is yes, we generally should be paying more 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. Protein’s key 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.
It is important to consume protein 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 satisfying 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 it is important to take on protein throughout the day, it’s essential 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. I like natural, unprocessed sources, so TRIBE products amazing, as well as legumes, nut butters, oats and plant milks.
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!
TRIBE Brownie 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
TRIBE 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.
Coffee + Walnut Protein Bar porridge:
Chop into small chunks and use to top porridge. Drizzle with almond butter and enjoy!
Shop TRIBE protein products HERE.