During January, I ran a 30 day challenge (as I type this, we're into the last 3 days of it). The challenge wasn't just a mass-weight loss thing, I hate those, seriously, I loathe them. What I wanted from those that took part was overall improvement: strength, both physically and mentally; increased fitness levels and finally 'controlled' weight loss.
The questions I answered most were about protein intake. Endless magazine articles are telling us that we need to consume more protein to lose body fat, get leaner and increase muscle mass.
What a lot of people don’t do is ask the question, “How much protein should I consume each day?’ Not enough and you won't get the rewards from even the best planned workout programme: plough through as much as you can and the excess will be stored as fat.
If you don't know your individual requirement, find out. Any good trainer should be able to tell you this.
What does protein do?
In a nutshell, protein repairs muscle. When you finish a resistance workout, your muscles have been torn to lift the resistance you have been training against (body weight, dumbbell, barbell etc). Protein repairs this and makes it stronger for the next time you want to lift heavy.
Although protein repairs, it isn’t very good at providing the body with energy (it's the last thing the body will turn to for energy), this is where carbohydrates and fat save the day! THESE ARE NOT THE BAD GUYS! Each macronutrient plays an important part in allowing the body to have optimum function, it’s all in the balance.
There’s a chance you could be getting your required amount of protein but if this isn’t in ratio with your carbs and fat, you will struggle to see results you want. Nutrient dense foods are crucial in any nutrition plan, however routine and consistency are key.
Ok, let’s look at it the other way. A common problem my clients are faced with is that they struggle to get their protein to the amount they have been set, especially in the first phase of a plan. I never suggest eating what they don’t like, it needs to last, right? However, I do encourage to try new things. Like my parents would say, "You don’t have to like it, but you do have to try it." If you don’t like it, never have it again, if you do........score!
So, now you have your macros set. Your fat and carbs are fine but your protein amount is barely 50% of what it should be; this is where meal preparation is vital. Add high protein sides to your meals and snacks eg 0% fat cottage cheese, nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt and protein shakes.
It will take a little research to make a big difference to your progress.
Have your own protein tips? Leave a comment below 😉