The beginner’s guide to Protein
So, this week’s challenge is Protein! I thought it would be good to write a blog about it, which might help some of you that might not know what you need or what the benefits are.
What makes protein so special? It does many amazing things, which include:
How much protein should I be eating each day?
The amount depends completely upon how regularly you engage in vigorous exercise. The more frequent and intense you work out, the more protein your body needs.
For a sedentary person, the minimum a person should consume a day is 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight. This the bare minimum you need to avoid deficiencies.
When it comes to an elite athlete, this number can be as high as 1.2-1.4 grams per pound of bodyweight.
For most of us here at the gym, numbers like that are very unrealistic and unnecessary. What most of us should shoot for is 0.7-1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight. This general range will help you with your goals, whether it’s to lose, gain, or maintain weight.
At the end of the day, these numbers are just general recommendations. The amount of protein your body needs depends upon other factors as well, such as your physiology and dietary requirements to go along with your level of activity. To get more accurate figures, consult with a doctor or registered dietician.
Are some protein sources better than others?
Yes. Not all protein sources are created equal. It is best to get your protein from a wide variety of sources so that you can get all the amino acids that your body needs. Our bodies can not produce all of them all on our own, so we need to get them through food. Eggs and most meats contain all essential amino acids and a lot of plant-based sources, unfortunately, don’t.
That is not to say you can not get enough being Vegan or Vegetarian, you will just have to find some alternative source to help ensure you are getting the proper amount of amino acids.
Good sources of protein
Food / Protein (grams)
3 ounces tuna, salmon, haddock, or trout / 21
3 ounces cooked turkey or chicken / 19
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt / 17
½ cup cottage cheese / 14
½ cup cooked beans/ 8
1 cup of milk / 8
1 cup cooked pasta / 8
¼ cup or 1 ounce of nuts (all types) / 7
1 egg / 6
Do you need protein supplements?
To answer this question, you should first ask yourself these 4 questions:
Supplements are meant to do just that: supplement whatever it is that you’re already doing. They are not meant to replace exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep. You first need to get those things right before even considering supplementing.
Protein powders won’t do you any good if you’re not training properly, eating enough wholesome foods, and getting sufficient REM/deep sleep. You will just be wasting your money.
If you source most of your protein from plants, supplements can certainly be a good addition to your diet. We have a Vegan Protein if you would like more information on it.
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients for muscle building and fat loss. Plan your meals around what your protein source will be and work toward getting at least the .7g per pound of body weight daily.