How much protein do you really need? What are the best sources of protein? Do you really need protein shakes? Today we will answer these questions for you. Protein is the building block for muscle, hair,skin and nails. It carries a calorie density of 4kcal per gram and is extremely thermogenic in your body.
How much do you need to help build your muscle though? A standard of 2.2kg of protein per kg of lean mass usually works well for the average weight lifter. I break it down by first finding out your lean body mass. So for example…. If I was a 100kg male with a body fat percentage of 10% I would have 90kg of lean mass. I train weights 3-5 times per week and want to build up to 95kg of lean mass. I need to feed my body to gain that extra muscle mass so I type in 95 x 2.2 which gives me 209g of protein. If I wanted to maintain my 90kg of lean mass I would need 90 x 2.2 which is 198g of protein.
A few simples sums and you are on your way. Any good pt or coach will have a set of skinfold calipers to figure out your body fat percentage and lean mass percentage. If you wish to be more accurate an InBody scan is extremely accurate and details where you hold your fat and lean mass to the gram.
You might be thinking, do I need to eat EXACTLY that amount? The answer is NO. As long as you are around that amount then you will see the results you are after. We have to consider some days you are more active and some days you are less. Some days you do more incidental cardio work like walking up stairs or shifting furniture. You can’t get to precious about counting calories. When you lay in bed at the end of that day you know when you have had too much, too little or you feel satisfied. Trial and error is a big part of your continued success in reaching your goal.
Lean meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and dairy are all great sources of high protein. You will find it in veggies and fruits in smaller amounts. Personally I aim to have a source with every meal and snack. Whether it’s eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and salmon for dinner I always get my share everyday.
Protein powders and amino acids are also great way to get your daily intake of protein. They are quick, easy and give you an exact amount. What is best for you though? It’s generally considered that WPI is the most beneficial source of protein powders. They are low in fat, carbohydrates and generally have a protein count of over 85% per serve. They are great to have post workout or as a meal replacement. Aim to have a source of carbs with them however, this will aid in the protein and in turn amino acids reaching your muscles for recovery and regeneration. Other proteins such as WPC and Casein are much slower absorbing and may be used as a nighttime source by body builders who wish to feel they are getting protein throughout their sleep.
Along the journey to your goals remember that nothing is going to happen overnight. You won’t do a week of training eat your veggies drink your protein shakes and grow big muscles. It will take week after week and month after month to see results and even then it will be a slow process. Strive to know your own body what works and what doesn’t work rather than panicking to count every single gram until 9pm every night. If you are determined enough , want it bad enough you will educate yourself and work your ass off to get there.