Protein. How much of it do we really need? If we have too much we will get ‘bulky’. If we have too little it will affect our overall health. Which one of these statements do you think is true? Let me just clarify, that there are lots of different opinions on how much protein people need and this is just my opinion, from experience and research.
The amount of protein depends on your fitness goal, your activity level, age and current health state. But why is protein so optimal in our diets?
Not only do they make up the blocks of the body, they are also used for the skin, organs and tendons. Now i won’t bore you with the technical side of what proteins are, but, in simple terms, they are amino acids all linked together to form a chain, which then forms a complex shape.
The body itself does produce amino acids, but essential amino acids we need to find in foods as the body does not produce these. Now when i say think of a food with protein in, let me guess, you’ll be thinking chicken? As that’s the standard body building meal right?! Well, you are correct that chicken does have a quality amount of protein in, but that isn’t your only option. Lots of different meats have high protein and fish too! There are so many options out there for you to chose from including dairy, they even cater for veggies too! You can also use supplements like whey protein powder if you really struggle.
But, back to the topic of this blog post. How much protein do you need?
For the average joe, who trains maybe twice a week, eats relatively well, you are going to want to aim for 30% of your calories to be protein. Having this amount of protein has actually been shown to boost metabolism, meaning you have a better chance of losing fat. Why? Because protein will help in the recovery of muscles, and, the more muscle you have, the better your body is at burning fat at resting heart rate…make sense? So basically, the more muscle you have, the less fat you will have. Win win right?
Even for those people that aren’t as active, having a higher proportion of protein in your diet is going to be beneficial. One, for the above reason. Two, because eating more protein actually fills you up for longer meaning you aren’t going to snack on that chocolate bar or bag of crisps mid day.
So how would you work out how much protein your body needs? There are numerous calculators online, but to be honest it’s very simple. You just need to times your body weight (in kg) by 1.5-2, and that’s the amount of protein, in grams, you want to aim for. So, for example, if you weight 65kg, the calculation would be, 65 x 1.5 = 98g of protein a day. However, depending on your goal, or if you are in training for a specific event, this might need to be increased/decreased. But this is just for your average joe yano! If you are new to all this protein malarky, just try and get some form on protein in at every meal. Eggs for breakfast, tuna at lunch, Chicken at dinner. That sort of thing!
Now, the last thing i want to mention is that the amount of protein you eat throughout your ‘fitness journey’ is going to change. Maybe only very slight, but it’s still going to change depending on all the factors i’ve mentioned before. Goals. Weight. Body composition. You might find that suddenly upping your protein intake may have an affect on certain thing in your body. You might find you are more thirsty throughout the day. Might find your breath smells, which of course isn’t ideal! But the best way to up your protein intake in slowly. Don’t just whack your body with a tonne of protein and hope that it’ll be able to digest it, because it might not! Slow and steady wins the race remember!
If you have any questions or still aren’t sure how much protein you should be eating, comment below and i will get back to you.