The number one nutrition topic we get the most questions on is PROTEIN, especially from vegetarians.
‘How much protein do I need?’
‘What’s the best type of protein?’
‘How can I increase my protein intake?’
‘Am I having too much protein?’
‘Why do I need so much protein?’
(Not complaining here, we love it when we get questions, so keep the questions coming)
So we thought we’d cover the topic of PROTEIN in this blog, so here goes:
Firstly: Why do you need protein?
While you’re working out and in a calorie deficit (that’s eating fewer calories than you’re burning) you are literally breaking your body down, what protein does is help repair all the ‘muscle damage’ you are doing during this time and makes you stronger.
When you don’t get enough protein in, you’re at risk of losing muscle, getting weaker and feeling achy and sore as hell.
I read a great analogy for this:
“When you workout you are putting your body in nutrition dept, if you don’t consume enough protein, it’s like stealing from your own bank account to pay off your bills.”
Just incase that went over your head
Muscle damage = bill/debt
Bank account = your current muscle amount
The other thing is protein is very filling, protein at meal times can slow down digestion and help you feel more satisfied to stop you overeating.
So how much protein should you be eating?
It all depends on your goals, type of training and of course, lifestyle and dietary preferences but as a ballpark figure, aim for around 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian the lowest we’d say go is 0.7g of protein per 1lb of body weight.
What are the best sources of protein?
The no 1 best food source will always be
- Meat & Fish
We’d tend to say go for mainly leaner sources purely from a calorie : food volume ratio perspective, as leaner cuts will have less fat meaning you can eat more without shooting your calories too high, but there is nothing wrong with fattier meats like lamb, beef or pork or oily fish unless of course, you are vegan or vegetarian.
In that case, this will be more useful for you:
- Whole grains, lentils, beans & legumes,
They are rich in carbohydrate but they’re also a good source of protein, just be careful with the amount you eat.
- Dairy products like yoghurt and cheese
Just be careful of the fat content here, opt for low-fat versions to save on calories.
- Protein shakes & protein bars
Not all vegetarian sources of protein have a full spectrum of amino acids so having a protein shake once per day is ideal as it is a complete source of protein.
There you have it protein 101, I hope you found that useful.
If you have any other questions, feel free to get in touch or book your call to speak with me (Coach Vin) here:
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