I got SUCH amazing feedback on my quick and easy carbohydrate FAQ, so this week we are talking about protein! I believe this nutrient is one of the biggest factors in whether you are able to add lean muscle and how much of it you keep as you age. Let's ensure you understand the basics of PROTEIN 101!
Q: What protein and what is it found in?
A: Protein is a macronutrient (along with carbs and fats) that is consumed in the diet. It can be found in red meats, poultry, fish, low fat dairy, eggs, protein supplements, beans, seeds, legumes and in smaller amounts in grains and vegetables.
Q: Do I need to eat meat in order to consume enough protein?
A: While it is definitely easier to hit your protein targets if you consume animal products, you can absolutely hit your protein goals with other sources! Dairy options like cottage cheese and plain greek yogurt are FULL of protein, as well as many nuts, seeds and legumes. CLICK HERE to check out my plant based protein chart!
Q: How much protein do I need?
A: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests a base amount of 0.8g protein per KILOGRAM bodyweight per day for a sedentary individual. Since you are active and leading a busy life with plenty of exercise, ACSM recommends 1.2-1.8g protein per kilogram body weight for active individuals.
Q: Can you help me calculate that?
Sure! Let's say we have a 150lb woman. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms (150/2.2 = 68.2kg). Multiply this number by 1.2 and by 1.8 to get your daily estimated protein intake range. For a 150 lb woman (or man!), that would be approximately 82g-123g protein per day! Your turn 🙂
Q: What does this mean for my workouts?
A: Protein is what helps repair and grow muscle tissue after it is damaged (this is good!) during a workout. If you don't have enough protein available, your body will not be able to progress optimally. Protein is best absorbed along with carbohydrate. A perfect after workout snack would be 3oz chicken and 3/4 cup rice, or a protein shake mixed with milk.
Q: What is the biggest rule you tell your clients?
A: The easiest change you can make is to include a little bit of protein at each meal. This helps you consume protein gradually throughout the day and improve on the amount that is absorbed! You can even do this if you are vegan or vegetarian - you just have to be more diligent with ensuring you are hitting the recommended targets. 🙂
Now that you are a budding protein expert, see if you can add one NEW source of protein to your diet this week. Keep eating well and stay active!