Welcome to Week Two of your Nutrition Coaching programme! This week, we’re going to be working on protein!
Let’s begin – click on the play button on the photo below to watch your video:
Why is protein important?
Toning up – when we say we want to ‘tone up’, what we mean in biological terms, is to put on some lean muscle and burn the fat that is sitting on top of it. This doesn’t mean bulking up, but changing our shape by adding muscle in the right places. In this sense, it’s totally normal to feel like we’re getting bigger before we start getting smaller. This is because muscle is building behind the fat first, then the next stage is to shred the fat.
Recovery after training – when we exercise, we are essentially breaking muscle fibres with the will to make them grow back stronger and better. In order to build them back up, we need to have the building blocks of the right type and amount to do so.
Immune system function – the cells which act as the body’s defence are made of protein. Not enough protein = weaker defences.
Losing weight– upping protein will mean you’ll feel fuller and less likely to eat the unhealthy things
Healing and repairfrom daily life – repairing cuts and scrapes and bruises – slow healing can be a sign of lack of protein.
How much do I need?
‘Normal’ people, (non-Warriors) need on average 1g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. I weigh 70kg roughly, so that would be 70g protein per day.
Warriors, people who are training and looking to improve their strength, need on average 1.6-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day.As I say above, I weight 70kg on average and strength train regularly, so I aim to eat between 100 & 140g protein per day.
So, weigh yourself in kg and x that by 1.6 and x 2 – these are your two parameters and you eat the amount between these.
It can be really helpful to use My Fitness Pal or a similar app, for a few weeks to begin with, so you can start to easily gauge how you’re doing with this.
Where can I get it from?
It depends on what type of diet you choose – meat, vegetarian or vegan, so I am going to list good sources for all 3. Of course, you can mix and match across them. I’m listing the amount of protein per average serving next to them to give you an idea.
Chicken – 20g per breast
Fish – 19-26g per 100g
Egg – 10g each
Cheese – 17-42g/ 100g
Full Fat Yoghurt – 10g/ 100g
Turkey – 26g per breast
Beef (steak) – 25g/ 100g
(There are others, but I am listing those most likely to be lean).
Plant proteins (all per 100g):
As an aside to the meat proteins, I would encourage you to be mindful of the amount of red meat you’re eating – no more than once per week – and to limit your meat consumption to once a day. For your other meals and snacks, have a go at the other proteins.
So animal proteins are considered to be ‘complete’ – they contain all the building blocks needed to build muscle.
Plant proteins aren’t all complete proteins (quinoa is), so you need to make sure you’re eating a variety of them and not just sticking to one or two types.
Do I need to do protein shakes?
It really depends on your lifestyle and how much training you’re doing.
Easy – just take powder with you and add water or milk
Healthy snack with no prep time
20-25g of protein in one go without thinking
Some feel it’s artificial
Some feel it’s overly processed.
For me, I think they’re great, for the reasons listed above. I choose carefully which ones I use and recommend, so that they are limited in artificial ingredients and sugar and fit the purpose to which I subscribe. If you feel like they would be right for you, these are the two I use and recommend to my Warriors:
The Protein Works – Naked Whey – Click here to buy Naked Whey
Pick flavoured for on its own, Vanilla for combining with other ingredients, in smoothies and baking
Sun Warrior – vegan and contains superfoods too – Click Here To Buy Sun Warrior
And this is what I shake them up in – not the cheapest but the only one I’ve found that doesn’t leak – Click Here To Visit Blender Bottle
This all seems like a lot to think about – how do I do it?
For every meal and snack you have, think where is the protein?
For the next week, I’d like you to keep a ‘protein diary’ for your own reference. Eat normally for a day and log which of the above foods and in what amounts you’re eating. Then choose to make a conscious effort to eat more protein and log again. See what the difference is. I’m not an advocate of long-term macro-counting or diet tracking, but you need to know where you are to know where you’re going. Ultimately if you have a minimum of one of the above foods in every meal and snack, you can’t go too far wrong.
I’m attaching a ‘Meal Choices’ document for you to see some examples of high protein, easy meals. We’ll be addressing snacks later on in the course.
I know this has been a lengthy one today, so I’d encourage you to take a bit of brain space now and come back and read through again tomorrow!
As ever, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Your Head Warrior