You’ve seen it everywhere. Magazines, the food guide, and blogs all over the internet. Everyone says you need more and more protein. In fact, protein is usually emphasized more than carbs and fats. Why is that?
So let’s start with what protein actually is.
Protein is made of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids needed to sustain life and 9 of those can come only from diet. There are vegetarian sources as well as omnivore sources, so you don’t necessarily need to eat meat, but meat is the richest and best source.
Below are the 4 reasons why you need more protein
1. Delivery of essential vitamins and minerals.
All those amino acids recombine in the body for extremely important tasks such as vitamin and nutrient delivery, oxygen transportation and of course muscle repair. Having a protein shake after your bootcamp class is highly recommended.
You’ve probably heard that having some protein with a snack or meal will help you feel fuller longer and that’s absolutely true. Protein stabilizes your blood sugar, helping prevent it from dropping too low, and helps keep your body fuller and more satisfied throughout the day. Combining 6oz of chicken with a salad it far more effective, than just having the salad alone and will satisfy you much more.
3. Prevents muscle loss.
When I do assessments for clients at my Calgary bootcamp, I always go over their diet in detail and it’s very common for people to be eating too little protein. Too little protein puts the body into a catabolic state – which means that it breaks down its own muscle tissue to get enough protein for those other very important things I mentioned before – transporting nutrients and oxygen. Being in a catabolic state is not helpful when your goals are to increase your fitness or lose weight! You want to be in an anabolic (building) state for your bootcamp classes. Consuming enough protein prevents muscle loss and muscle breakdown for energy, which would lead to a decreased in metabolism and less caloric expenditure.
4. Protein is costly.
Lastly, protein is the best food in terms of the “thermic effect of food”. This is known as how many calories it takes to break down and digest food. Protein requires the most amount of energy and calories from your body for digestive purposes, compared to complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
How much protein should you be eating? The general rule is 1 gram per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be shooting for 150 grams per day. Spread it out through the day by having a high protein breakfast, such as an omlette ( 1 egg and 4-5 whites) or a greek yogurt ( 3/4 -1cup of yogurt) parfait. A snack can be a piece of fruit and some nuts, as nuts are an excellent source of protein as well as healthy fats. At lunch, toss in 6-10oz of tuna or chicken on top of your salad and for dinner have a serving of lean protein equivalent to 8-12 oz depending on your body mass, along with some veggies and complex carbs. And don’t forget to have a protein shake after your workout!
So remember, in order to reach your goals, whether that be fat loss, health, or better energy you need more protein than you are probably already having!
Always here to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald.