Following on from my last blog on carbohydrates now onto Protein. The biggest misconception with protein (and i hear it all the time from female clients and some male) “If i eat too much protein it will make me get big muscles” This couldn't be further from the truth and many wish it was simple as that. But unfortunately you have to also train really hard and lift heavy to get “big muscles”. Drinking a protein shake is not going to turn you into the incredible Hulk a lot of hard work in the gym is required!
Without protein in our diet we would cease to function. Protein is made up of amino acids and our bodies has the ability to make 12 amino acids (these are the non essential) But the other 8 amino acids need to be supplied through the diet (essential amino acids).
Im sure you have seen or heard of BCAA’s - these are branch chain amino acids, they excellent for helping you push through a tough session and in aiding recovery by increasing protein synthesis. Another popular amino acid is L Glutamine. This amino acid is great for helping keep your digestive system healthy - repairing problems such as leaky gut.
How much protein you should each day is worked out based on your body weight and your training intensity/goals. The recommended minimum amount is 0.8g of protein per 1kg body weight. This amount is the to prevent protein deficiency - we need a lot more than that. 1.5g-2g per a kg of body weight is advisable for people who train regular or have an active life style. However many experts advise 1g per 1lb of body weight.
Eating a diet with the right amount of protein has lots of benefits from helping with immune function, increasing metabolism, weight management and satiety. I always recommend getting your protein from whole food first - before using supplements. Supplements do come in handy though and make it more achievable to hit your correct protein intake.
A good way to find out how much protein you are getting is to use an app like myfitnesspal.com where you record everything you eat over lets say a week. By doing this you will see a complete macronutrient breakdown of the foods you are eating and be able to see where you can add more protein. I have never had someone come back to me and say that they have been hitting their protein target. More often than not you will realise that you need to increase your protein intake. The easiest option is adding a protein shake or extra scoop to your protein shake after your workout or my favourite afternoon snack - Protein yoghurt. Recipe below.
- 1 x 150g Total Fage 0%
- 1/2 scoop protein powder (i prefer vanilla for this)
- 100g mixed berries
mix the top 2 ingredients together and add berries to finish.
This is and excellent afternoon pick me up snack - and the Total by Fage yoghurt which is found in every supermarket in small single portion tubs already has 18g of protein so by adding the extra 1/2 scoop of protein powder you are increasing the total amount of protein for that snack to about 30-35g (depending on what brand you are using)