Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get fit and toned or build muscle, protein is important to support your training and fitness goals – within reason. Protein is essential, but you don’t need to overdo it either. A variety of protein-rich foods, consumed at the right times and in the right amounts can help you reach your goals.
Want to know more? Here are six common questions about protein, answered:
WHY DO I NEED PROTEIN?
Protein is made up of amino acids which are the body’s building blocks, essential for total body functioning. Here’s how it might affect your fitness or body goals:
– Protein can keep your blood glucose levels stable, reducing hunger and cravings meaning you’re fuller for longer and less likely to snack.
If you don’t consume enough protein, you may end up compensating by consuming extra carbohydrates and fat, which in turn affects your waistline.
– Protein helps the repair and growth of muscle cells. The more lean muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism, helping you burn more calories while resting.
WHAT FOOD SHOULD I EAT FOR PROTEIN?
It’s found widely in animal and plant-based food, including:
– Red meat and poultry
– Fish and seafood
– Nuts, seeds and legumes
– Dairy products
– Protein-rich grains like quinoa and oats
Complete proteins contain the full range of amino acids and include foods such as milk, lean meat, chicken and eggs. Many plant sources of protein often lack one or more essential amino acids so a variety of protein sources over a week are required for vegetarians and vegans to meet their protein needs (more on this later.)
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?
Daily protein needs for adults range from 1g per kilogram of body weight per day for inactive folks to 2g per kilogram of body weight per day for those with muscle-building goals, although you can gain muscle with less than this. For example, 63kg woman would need between 63g and 126g per day depending on her activity level. You don’t want your protein intake to drop too low, even if you’re trying to lose weight.
It’s all about adequate protein spaced well over the day to support health and training needs.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN IS TOO MUCH?
We’ve established protein is important to support an active lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean copious amounts are required. Consuming over 2g per kilogram of body weight per day, unless you are in a calorie deficit, is neither going to harm you or help you.
Instead, focus on consuming a variety of protein well-spaced over the day. Pair this with nutrient-dense foods that also contain carbohydrates and fats and ensure your total calorie intake isn’t too high.
WHAT IF I’M VEGAN?
You still have plenty of ways to get your protein in. Yes, it can be a little more challenging to get the protein balance right with vegan meals – in particular the mix of essential amino acids.
Aim to use a range of vegan protein sources, from legumes, tofu and tempeh, to nuts and high-protein grains. Aim to approach it to ensure most nutrition comes from fresh foods. However, high-quality vegan protein powder can be useful for ensuring the right mix of amino acids at the right time, which can be incorporated into smoothies and snacks.
DO I NEED SUPPLEMENTS OR PROTEIN POWDER?
Resistance training seems to be synonymous with protein supplements, and the bigger and more expensive the bucket of powder, the greater the perceived effectiveness for building muscle. But this isn’t the case. Having protein powder after a workout is far less important than eating well overall.
If you do wish to have some protein after a workout all you need is simple, good quality whey or plant-based protein powder. Around 20-25g of protein can help to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. We will put up some recipe and smoothie ideas for you soon from some of the Coaches and the in house food ninja Sinead!
Oly Club Wednesday
2 x 2
2 x 1
2) Clean pulls
4 x 2
3 x 2
1 x 3
3 x 2
5) Chin ups
3 x 5
1 x 3
2 x 2
2 x 1
2)Pause Back squat
4 x 3
3) Push press
1 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 8
4b) Reverse plank