Protein is essential to the human body. It’s a building block of tissue, it works to repair and build muscle tissue, and it’s also an important structural component of the human body. It is made of of both essential and non-essential amino acids… essential meaning your body cannot produce them and non-essential meaning your body CAN produce them.
In a nutshell, if you are looking to change the shape of your physique, you want to be taking in enough protein in order to do that. Don’t be one of those people wasting precious time in the gym and NOT tracking in the amount of protein you need on a daily basis.
Often, people don’t realize how little protein they are taking in until they begin to track it. Do not be one of those people who is working hard to make a change but not providing your body with the protein it needs to actually create the changes you are working for!
You need muscle tissue to change the shape of your physique. You need protein to do build, tone, develop… whatever you want to call it… the muscle tissue that will create this change. And not just protein, you need ENOUGH protein. Protein is, by far, the most important macronutrient. Once you determine how many calories you should be taking in, you use them first on protein. Whatever is left after you get enough protein for your training plan can be used for carbs and fat. The split of carbs and fat isn’t AS important, but we can help you figure that out too, based on your activity and lifestyle.
A good general rule is .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The leaner you are, the closer to a gram you should be. Personally, I like using the 1 gram per pound of body weight rule for everybody, because it’s so easy to figure out.
Also, as a general rule, 1 gram of protein has 4 calories. If you are taking in 200 grams of protein, then that is 800 calories from protein. Split what you have remaining between carbs and fats. If you’ve never done this before, I do suggest you track your protein for at least a couple of weeks, just so you can start to recognize just how much you actually need and the sources you are using to get it. That little bit of work on the front in, will really help you moving forward.
Try and get your protein from as much whole foods as possible. Chicken, turkey, beef, legumes, tuna, prawns, flax seeds and plenty more. For supplements, I like casein whey supplements. Personally, I take whey protein directly after the workout, and if I take a supplement like a powder, I use the casein whey because your body digests it over a longer period of time.
I also like to take amino acids in my water sometimes. The one I use is ‘Amino Energy’ from Optimum Nutrition. Mostly just for flavor.
Make sure you are hitting your protein targets to both change your physique and increase your performance on a day-to-day basis!