Protein To Build Muscle And Lose Weight
Whether you are dieting or trying to bulk up, protein will help. It doesn’t just build muscle, it helps you feel full for longer periods of time. If you are trying to lose weight, feeling full longer means less junk food cravings that carry lots of sugar and carbs which turn into fat and hinder your weight loss plans. How much protein should you take and what are the best resources? I’m glad you asked, read below.
How Much Protein should you be eating on a daily basis?
This is an age old question and I’m sure of you have looked around the web you have found many different answers. Most experts agree that an active person should intake in at
least 50% of their body weight. So a 180 pound man would need at least 90 grams of protein. Personally, I feel you should be taking in much more, regardless if you are losing weight or building muscle. I weigh 185 pounds and I shoot for 150 grams of protein per day. I don’t always reach my goal but I’m always close and some days I will go over. I find that by consuming this amount, I’m full longer, which leads to less eating so i control my weight, and it feeds my muscles for growth or at least keeps them fed enough so I do not lose muscle. If you are trying to add muscle, I would suggest taking in 1.5 grams of protein per day for your weight. So if you weigh 180 pounds, you want to consume 270 grams of protein per day.
Protein Is Not Just For Muscles!
Yes protein is great for your muscles but it also helps in your body in many other areas. It’s an important component to every cell in your body including building and repairing tissues, your hair, fingernails. cartilage, skin and makes enzymes and hormones. Like carbohydrate and fat, protein also provides energy, but because it has so many other important functions and can’t be stored, the body relies heavily on carbohydrate and fat for energy. This leaves protein free to be digested into amino acids which as everyone knows assist in building muscle.
Best Resources For Protein
How you are absorbing protein matters. Don’t think that by going on a high protein diet all of your problems are solved. You can’t eat all you want and never get fat. It’s still a simple matter of calories in vs calories out. If you are eating steak and cheese burgers every day to get to 150 grams of protein, that could easily account for 3000 calories. If you are only burning 2000 calories a day, you will get fat. This is assuming you are not a skinny person trying to gain weight and muscle. In this case, as long as you are busting your ass in the gym you’ll be fine. But for the average man or woman, taking in a lot of more calories than you are burning is a sure way to get fat, especially for the middle aged. You can also plan on the weight going where none of wants it, the mid section, polite way of saying your gut. So consider these for protein choices-
- Grass fed beef – everyone complains that this is way to expensive for their budget. I get it and don’t want to tell you how you should spend your money. But keep an eye out for sales. Places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s will run big sales periodically so be ready to load up. Many chains like Von’s (Safeway) and Albertson’s now carry grass fed beef too. Not only can you find sales but check the daily discount sections for huge savings. This meat, fish and poultry isn’t bad, you just need to cook it or freeze it that day and the savings can make the cost lower that anything else in the section.
If grass fed is not an option, be sure to choose lean cuts of meat like a round, loin or chuck. For the rougher cuts, get a meat tenderizer and cook them longer for a softer chewing experience. Everybody loves a burger. Look for beef low in fat like a 90/10. I love red meat but I limit my intake to 2-3 times a week.
- Like fish? You’re in luck because fish is packed with protein with few much fewer calories than beef. It’s easy to find quality fish on sale. One trick you can do is sign up for Google alerts. Put in your local store with keywords like “sale” “discount”. Whenever the store runs a sale you get an alert emailed to you. Just breeze through the email, see if there’s anything you like then delete.
- Chicken – my go too. Since I don’t eat fish this is my main source of protein. I wish I could eat steak every night but at least with chicken you have so many ways to prepare you can’t go wrong. Be sure to take the skin off whatever you are eating. This is why I usually only cook chicken breast and you can always find a good sale.
- Protein drinks – huge market. I drink one everyday, but that’s it. You should work hard on not falling in love with shakes, especially store bought. Most contain high sugar and or “artificial flavors” which are never good. If you want to make your own with a good whey protein, use soy and dairy free milk like Silk Coconut (my go to) or Almond milk. I’m not saying that one is all you should drink, just don’t make them your primary source.
- Vegetarian – probably better off reading another blog about nutrition because it’s not my thing. I will say everyone can benefit from eating more plant-based proteins like lentils, hemp seeds, quinoa and nuts to name a few. You can also work in some low-fat yogurt and eggs as these are high in fiber too.
How much protein do you like to take in a day?