By hitting your ideal protein goal every day you’ll unlock a series of benefits:
✔ You’ll feel more satiated and boost your metabolism
✔ You’ll get stronger and create more muscle mass
✔ You’ll have more energy and vitality throughout the day
And it’s simpler to do than you think. It will also set the foundation for a healthier diet. Here’s how to do it properly.
See Related: Everything you need to know about protein.
How To Do It
By now, forget about calories and other macros. Focus primarily on eating enough protein, and the rest will fall into its right place eventually. Remember that this week is all about building a strong foundation for your new healthy lifestyle.
All you need to do is the following:
➤ Weigh yourself
➤ Eat 2.2 gr of protein per every kg of body weight, or 1.00 gr per pound
➤ Focus on high-quality protein sources such as beef, fish, lamb, poultry, and pork
➤ Supplement with whey protein if necessary
As you can see, it’s not hard to do. You can divide your protein goal across the breakfast, lunch, and dinner - easy.
On the other hand, if you’ve already calculated the calories you should eat per day, then make protein a 25-30% of them. That will allow you to enjoy the benefits of this approach.
Why Does It Work?
Science backs up the claims of a high-protein approach.
However, before we go into the benefits, we must make clear that there’s no danger linked to high-protein diets (evidence).
Now that it’s all clear, here’s the science behind the benefits:
✔ A high-protein diet leads to more fat loss and more satiety (evidence)
✔ A high-protein diet promotes more muscle mass development and greater strength gains (evidence)
✔ A high-protein diet improves energy metabolism, and in consequence, it improves the energy and vitality levels (evidence)
Now go and hit your protein goal. Every. Single. Day.
It will pay off sooner than you think!
The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein changes based on activity level and age (over 18).
For a sedentary adult, their protein intake would be lower than say a bodybuilder or Olympic athlete. The RDA for a sedentary adult is only 0.8g per kilogram of body weight (per day). Protein recommendations heighten for active and competitive adults, increasing up to 1.2 to 1.7 kg per body weight (per day).
Why is the protein intake so much higher than a sedentary adult? Recovery, plain and simple.
An active adult is constantly wearing and tearing on their muscles, whether it be from weight training, cycling, running, swimming, etc. The body requires extra protein in order to properly recover and repair the muscles among other benefits.
Contrary to belief, protein intake is not determined by gender, but by bodyweight instead. Seeing as most men weigh more than women, their protein intake with automatically be higher than a woman’s.
Gender-wise, pregnant women have to intake more protein than a non-pregnant woman (seeing as they’re steadily growing a baby inside them, which requires a
lot of work, repair, and energy).
Set a Timer
Believe it or not, scheduling your meals will be a proficient aid in making sure you don’t go over/under your caloric intake for the day. Depending on how your body reacts to meals (some people like to snack throughout the day and others enjoy 3 large meals a day), setting a time on when to eat will be a great help in consistently hitting your goals.
You can also set a timer during your meals to make sure you’re not plowing through your meals. Eating slow and taking time to digest your meal will help keep you fuller longer (and shortening the time between meals). Inhaling your food can cause indigestion, longer times between meals, and overeating.
For people that struggle with “midnight snacking” and get full easily through their “big” meals, I recommend setting aside that meal that you’re full from so that you can eat it as your midnight snack. This will help prevent overeating while also keeping you on track towards your goals.
Replace Carbs With Protein Bars and Shakes
Non-essential carbs, like chips and candy, can be more productively replaced by protein bars and shakes.
Not only will these replacements adhere to your protein goal, but will also be less calorically damaging than a whole bag of chips that don’t fill you up and is higher in calories. Protein has higher satiety rates than lesser processed carbohydrates like chips, candies, crackers, etc.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself every now and then, but make sure you’re still tracking and not bingeing a whole bag. If you’re feeling like you’re more bored or emotional eating, or simply need a snack, reach for a protein bar and make a protein shake with a yummy protein powder (there are so many different flavors out there now!) to purposefully battle those cravings and work towards your protein (and body) goals.
Eat Protein Before Bed
A study was performed to calculate the effects of protein intake before sleep and the effects of doing so. This was the first study to prove that protein ingested before sleep was not only effectively digested and absorbed, but that it also stimulates protein synthesis and improves protein balance during post-exercise overnight recovery (10).
If you’ve been in the fitness or fat loss world for a bit, you’ve heard of greek yogurt and its simple benefits often. Greek yogurt is a small but great way to get that extra protein into your day. It contains about 18-20 grams of protein (wow!) and is low in calories (if you get the unsweetened flavors).
Greek yogurt can be an easy side to breakfast or a midnight snack. It can also be added into protein smoothies for extra protein and added consistency.
If you enjoy simplicity with your meal planning, then canned meats are the way to go.
Canned chicken and tuna are great forms of protein (and easy to make and flavor). A single 10oz can of chicken breast contains about 5 servings, 50 calories per serving and 10g of protein per serving. The whole container would be 50g of protein and 250 calories.
A 5oz can of chunk light tuna contains 22g of protein and 100 calories. Both options are high in protein and super easy to find at your local grocery store!
This high protein option balances on the fence for a lot of people in the health and fitness world. Some people hate it, others love it.
A 4oz container of low-fat 2% milkfat cottage cheese contains 10g of protein and only 80 calories. A simple snack or side to increase protein intake with low calories.
Protein and Weight Loss
Protein and weight loss are an essential combination.
Dieting can be stressful and overwhelming.
Focusing on meal prep, total calories intake, and maintaining a sufficient protein intake, eating high protein foods, during your journey is important in maintaining muscle mass, repair of wear and tear, and creating satiety between meals (to help prevent hunger in a caloric deficit) which therefore aids in efforts to lose weight.
A study has shown that higher protein, between 1.2 and 1.6g, does in fact provide improvements in appetite, bodyweight management, cardiometabolic risk factors, or all of these health outcomes (5). By adhering to your daily protein goal, you will find that your body needs, and cravings, will steadily be satiated and your body composition will progressively reform!
Some other benefits include:
- More sustained energy
- It takes more effort for the body to burn and process protein than carbohydrates.
- Better skin
- Protein is an essential building block for healthy skin (7).
- Better hair and nails
- More benefits of eating enough protein.
- Better workouts and recovery after workouts
- To help strengthen muscles and therefore make you feel stronger and continue to progress in your workouts.
- Better Sleep
- A study shows that higher protein can aid in better sleep (6).
- Strong bones
- Protein can improve the bones’ calcium retention and absorption and therefore improve bone health (8).
- Faster recovery from injury and illness
- Consuming a proper amount of protein can aid the body in its efforts of recovery and replenishment (9).
More examples of high protein foods:
1. Protein Powder(pea protein, whey protein, etc)
2. Eggs (whole eggs, egg whites, etc)
3. Peanut butter (higher in calories and fat)
4. Quinoa (a carbohydrate that goes well as a side dish and adds to total protein in a meal)
5. Edamame (1/2 cup has 11 grams of protein)
6. Meat (leaner meats have less fat and therefore fewer calories)
7. Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans, have 15 grams of protein per cup)
8. Lentils (1/2 cup cooked lentils has 9 grams of protein)
9. Black beans (1 cup contains 15 grams of protein)