You've probably heard it a million times before.
"In order to build muscle, recover and get swole you need to consume enough dietary protein."
You've probably even invested in some protein powder or amino acids and take them regularly.
But what does it really look like when it comes to getting enough protein to get ripped, see the gains and get the recovery you want?
Let's dig in.
WHAT IS PROTEIN
Protein is an essential nutrient, and contains 4cal per gram.
Although it does contain a caloric value it is very rarely converted and used as energy, our bodies prefer using carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is not just for building muscles, it makes up 17% of your body and enables most of its functions. Put simply, you are basically a pile of protein.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO EAT ENOUGH OF IT
Consuming more protein not only helps support a good athletic performance, a strong immune system, and a healthy metabolism. It also promotes satiety (i.e. makes you feel fuller longer), helps you manage your body weight and an optimal body composition (in other words, more protein in your diet means it's easier to maintain a lower body fat %)
Unlike extra fat (which we can store very easily on our bums and bellies), we don’t store lots of extra amino acids.
Protein is always getting used, recycled, and sometimes excreted.
We have to constantly replenish it by eating it at regular intervals, otherwise your body will start to take it from parts that we need, such as our muscles.This is not good if your goal is to gain strength, muscle volume and get good recovery from your workout.
SO HOW MUCH DO WE NEED?
“You’re not dead” is not the same thing as “You’re kicking ass.”
In other words, we need a small amount of protein to survive, but we need a lot more to thrive.
The average american diet consists of 15% or less total calories coming from protein and lacking in variety.
For people doing high intensity training, crossfit athletes, people looking to lose weight and maintain muscle mass or who want to maintain a leaner body composition, protein needs can go up to about 30 or 40%.
*above you see the plate method, this can be used as an example as too how to insure you get enough protein if you are eating 4 meals/snacks a day.
LET'S BREAK IT DOWN
A hypothetical 150 lb (68 kg) highly active person would need roughly 150g of protein per day or 1g per lbs of body weight. (2g per 1kg)
*for someone who is very overweight go with 1g per lbs of lean body mass.
1 chicken breast that weighs 113g will contain on average 26 grams of protein. If you don't like numbers, 1 palm portion of protein can contain 20 - 30g of protein.
So your hypothetical 150lb (68kg) person would need 5 to 6 palm portions of protein a day or 5 to 6 chicken breasts.
Of course I don't expect you to only chicken every day for the rest of your life, nor should you. Just like the daily amount you get is important, so is variety. Each protein source will contain different vitamins and minerals.
Here are is an example of a full day of protein.
For more examples click here. EXAMPLES - FULL DAY OF PROTEIN
For examples of lean protein click here EXAMPLES OF LEAN PROTEIN
HOW TO FORM NEW DIETARY HABITS TO CONSUME MORE PROTEIN
All of this information is great, but as a nutrition coach the biggest struggle for all of my clients isn't knowing what to eat in what amount, it's learning how to incorporate their new healthy habits into their daily routine.
Here are my recommendations.
Start small, focus on one thing at a time and work your way backwards. If your end goal is having protein at each meal, but you currently aren't having any, don't try and change everything at once. Find the bright spots and build up on those.
If you are already consuming 1 egg for breakfast, up your protein intake by having 3 to 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg.
If you normally have half a chicken breast for dinner, have a whole one.
If at lunch you usually don't consume any protein at all, add a protein shake to your day.
If you aren't eating any protein at all, focus on adding one portion a day.
If you don't usually have any protein sources in your house, make your focus about getting to the grocery store and having it available.
DO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH ME, HERE'S HOW!
If you want to change your body but don't know where to start and are sick and tired of restrictive dieting, click on this link ONE-ON-ONE COACHING and sign up for one-on-one coaching today, or click on this link JOIN JANUARY GROUP and sign up for my January change your body for life group.