Know Your Protein – Why’s It Important & How Much?

This blog topic is one of the most common questions I receive as a trainer.

How much protein is enough?  What are the benefits of supplementing with Whey protein?  How many grams should I shoot for at each meal?

First of all, protein is important for several reasons. Protein and amino acids act as the building blocks in our body. It helps to repair and rebuild lean muscle mass, helps to improve our immune system and helps us recover from our workouts. Not to mention, promoting lean muscle mass also helps us burn fat mass.

A great starting point is to try and consume about 20-40 grams of protein per meal/snack. Note that this suggested amount is NOT 6-10 grams like many of you find in greek yogurt for example. There are several food options that offer great protein, such as greek yogurt, but they often need to combined with other sources to be a complete meal or snack. The recommended amount per day depending on someone’s goals is0.9-1.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. So the more active a person is, the closer to 1.6g/lb. of bodyweight they should be consuming. (So an active 150lb person needs roughly 200g of protein per day).

And of course we’re talking lean protein here; chicken, ground turkey, fish, egg whites, nuts (nut butter), lean dairy and whey protein. For a quick snack grab an ounce of almonds, an apple and pair those with a whey protein shake. Or if really on the go, grab a Quest bar. Egg whites are a great protein source for breakfast. Don’t have time to cook before work? Try a protein smoothie by mixing 1 scoop of Edge Body whey protein, almond milk, frozen fruit and ¼ cup of oats for a complete breakfast, rich in protein, that goes with you on the way to work. Lunch or dinner? Prepare 3 ounces of chicken breast with rice and a spinach salad loaded with veggies. Or make a taco wrap cooking your ground turkey in taco seasoning and adding your favorite toppings like green leaf lettuce, salsa, and avocado.

 

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Why do people supplement? Adding more protein into your day can be daunting at first. Shakes can be an easy way to get in the recommended amount of grams and it can also help cut down on cooking time and the amount of food you have to sit and eat. Protein is needed all day, but it is important to get in protein within 30 minutes post-workout, when your body is needing to repair and replenish. A protein shake can be an easy thing to have ready to go post-workout to meet this requirement! Mix with water or a milk of your choice in a shaker bottle- no blender required. I will always recommend getting in your protein from food sources, so whey protein supplements should be used in addition to a well thought out meal plan. Vegetarian/Vegan? No worries, plant based protein powders or whey protein can be essential to getting in the protein and amino acids needed to fuel an active lifestyle. Choosing to avoid animal based proteins may require more supplementation to get what the body needs.

To get started in the right direction, simply make protein the star of each meal and snack. I promise you will start to notice a difference in how you feel during and outside of the workouts when your body is getting the nutrition it needs to properly repair and rebuild. If you are going to put all that work in the gym- make sure you are fueling your body what it needs to reap the rewards!

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Tip from the Trainer!

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