What is Protein?
Protein is one of the 3 main Macronutrients (Macros). These Macros are commonly talked about when it comes to health and fitness especially when looking at adjusting your weight alongside your goal.
The other 2 Macros are Carbohydrates and Fats. Carbohydrates and fats in short are where you will get most of your “energy” from. So what is Protein? What does it do? How much do I Need?
So Protein is normally talked about when looking at gaining some muscle mass from going to the gym and using a resistance training programme to progressively overload your muscles. But the use of Protein doesn’t just end there. Protein is what helps rebuild your skin tissue including organs. Diets with a higher level of protein have been proven to help with:
- Keeping your immune system strong.
- Keeping you satiated throughout the day for longer.
You may or may not of heard of a thing called Amino Acids. Normally from your body building friends who wont stop talking about their 1RM and what type of creatine they are using. Well Amino Acids are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulphur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
So how much Protein does 1 person need to consume in a day? Well this is where you will find all sorts of answers over the internet and even between different trainers. But as an average, I would say that you need to be looking at anywhere between 0.6-1.2g of protein per lb of bodyweight.
So if you are a 180lb you would be looking at somewhere between 108-216g of protein. Now you may be thinking that is a huge gap and doesn’t really help and the thing is that there is no right or wrong answer here. The scale used here would also depend on may other things such as muscle mass, age, gender and what type of training you are going through. And that doesn’t even bring in the talk about what diet you are on.
So if I haven’t lost you yet then brilliant. Now the question will be where can I get my proteins from?
Here is just a small list of some of the more popular foods to get proteins from:
There are many more foods out there that will give you a good source of protein and you can discover these by checking the packaging information of the product.
As you would of noticed, most of the protein sources mentioned are from your typical meat eaters diet. But never fear, you can get your protein from plant based diets however managing to create a full protein scale (based on all the amino acids that proteins are built from) can be a more difficult path.
There are foods out there which are designed to give you this much needed boost in protein, in the shape of a bar or a shake. Now these items should not be consumed instead of your meals, but instead be used alongside your current meal plan to supplement your diet.
All this being said, if you are looking at losing weight I recommend not looking at your protein goal right away. Instead make sure that your overall calorie intake is not being exceeded. Increasing your NEAT should be your next step and once you have mastered these 2 factors should you move on to tweaking your diet to allow for a higher level of protein.