Why are the big buff guys and the fitness gurus always rambling on about protein? I'll answer why we need it to get leaner and stronger, and how much you'll need to get optimal results!
First, What is Protein? Protein is a Macronutrient found mostly in meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, and dairy. It's role in the body is to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. That statement might make the video above a bit clearer? Protein is essiential for muscle toning, strengthening and building.
Why is Protein so Important?
Protein is broken down by the body, and delivered to the muscle cells, which in turn speeds up metabolism. A stronger muscle burns more calories. So by actively weight training on a regular basis and eating a high protein diet you can eat more calories and get super lean!
For someone who's trying to lose weight, protein is also incredibly important as it keeps you filled up for a long time. A 2014 study compared high-protein yogurt, high-fat crackers and chocolate as midday snacks. The study proved that the women who ate the high-protein snack were far less hungry come afternoon and also ate less at dinner compared to the women who snacked on crackers or chocolate! Cool huh! So if you feel you get "snacky", maybe you need to up your protein? (Don't worry I'll tell you how much protein you need daily later)
Protein and Lifting Weights
One of my main goals as a coach is to teach women how unbelievably important weight training is to get toned and lean. This is something I will definitely be writing about in the future more thoroughly.
After a session in the gym, hopefully you've almost completely exhausted your muscles. As we now know, protein is essential to repair and rebuild. So after a session aim to get a quick protein hit in! I always advise my clients to grab a protein shake or a pot of high-protein yogurt post-workout. The protein gets delivered directly to the muscle cell and the magical healing process begins. Yay.
As long as you are increasing the intensity of your workouts and eating a high-protein diet your body and muscles will adapt. You'll become leaner, stronger and more shapely.
On the other hand, if you're heading to the gym but not eating enough protein, results will be a bit "wishy-washy". The body can't store protein, but it can store muscle. Without adequate protein levels your body will break down muscle to create protein, which it will then distribute to wherever it's needed. SERIOUSLY CLEVER, but.. a bit annoying for our goals. This is why it's also equally important to get protein in with every meal.
The Big Question; How Much Protein do you Need?
There are multiple nutrition articles on the internet, which will have slightly different answers to that question, but I recommend 2G of protein per kilogram of body-weight a day. That might seem high for some, especially if you haven't been monitoring protein intake, but you can always work up to this figure.
Once you're eating my recommended intake of protein, expect to be less "snacky", more full-up and stronger!
One Quick Note on Calorie Intake
If you aren't currently eating enough protein and you decide to increase your daily dosage, you will need to adjust your carb / fat intake accordingly. Otherwise, you're simply increasing your calorie intake even more! This is pretty easy if you're tracking your calories on MyFitnessPal I'll link at bottom)
In other words, lift weights, increase your protein, track your calories and you'll be well on your way to your leanest, strongest body (:
If you have any questions after reading, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me!