Sometimes it seems as though I’m “called” to write. Actually, more than I have time for. Usually it’s because I’ve been talking to a client about a particular topic, have read something that has peaked my interest or I have strong feelings about something (more often than not.) I love to write, hear others views and share my own. If I can have a positive impact on my clients or another persons life as it relates to health and fitness, life is good.
When I begin training a new client, I’m careful not to overwhelm them with information. I believe that they need to feel comfortable and confident if they are going to continue on their journey to fitness and health. However, if they are eager to learn and ask questions, I’m always happy to pass on my knowledge. A newer client to me (has probably done about 12 sessions with me thus far) recently shared that she had visited a nutritionist as she wasn’t feeling very good (exhausted and weak.) she further shared that the nutritionist had told her that she was not getting enough protein. She is a vegetarian.
As a trainer, I often work in connection with several other professionals including, nutritionists, doctors and physical therapist. We don’t alway agree. In this case we do! Low protein, especially in women is by far the biggest problem I see amongst my clients. Women especially really seem to be confused when it comes to protein intake, especially as it relates to weight loss. Statistically, 1 in 3 women are not getting enough protein.
While my client is a bit unique since she is a vegetarian, I’ve seen meat eating women that are far below what they need in the protein department. HEAR ME when I say, protein is the ticket to a healthy body, good energy, good sleep, muscle recovery and most importantly weight loss.
The American Dietetic Association’s RDA (recommended daily allowance) for protein is 0.36g per pound of bodyweight. This would mean that as a bare minimum, a 180 lb. male only needs 65 grams of protein per day to meet requirements. One thing to note is that these requirements are based off of sedentary individuals.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (N.S.C.A.) recommends that active people consume 0.4g to 0.6g per pound of bodyweight with as much as 0.8g for a competitive athlete. What is important to note is that with a higher overall activity level the requirement goes up.
People that are aiming to lose weight should aim for their target weight in grams. In other words, if you are trying to get to a body weight of 120 lbs. then you would aim for 120 grams of Protein. This of course means reducing your fat and carbohydrates at the same time. I can tell you personally from my years of dieting for competition that if you want to lose weight and look lean, protein is the ticket!
Now I know what your thinking, how am I going to eat that much protein? Well, if you have been seriously lacking in the protein department, then the task of getting enough can seem daunting. Remember, baby steps! Increase your protein a little everyday until you hit your numbers. In addition, look for ways to get your protein in without eating 6 chicken breast a day. Add a protein shake for a quick easy to swallow snack. It’s easy to sip and packs a good amount of protein.
If you plan out your day, getting your protein becomes easy. You should have protein at every meal and every 2-3 hours. That’s 5-6 portions of protein a day. A portion is about the size of you Palm. If your eating chicken, that’s more than 20 grams. Here’s what a typical day of protein for me looks like.
Sample diet for weight loss/muscle growth:
Breakfast: 1 cup of egg whites with veggies and low fat cheese. Greek yogurt and coffee.
Snack: scoop of Protein.
Lunch: chicken breast and grilled veggies.
Snack: non-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
Dinner: salmon, veggies and green salad.
Snack: casein protein scoop.
Approximate protein = 150 grams.
Since my activity/fitness level is high, I take in a higher level of protein (I.e., more than my body weight in grams.) Protein not only helps you lose weight, get lean and feel good, it also helps keep you full and makes you feel good. People fill up on so much junk that there blood sugar is constantly bouncing around causing their mood to do the same. Protein will make you feel full, keep your blood sugar stable and prevent you from reaching for undesirable snacks. So if your looking to get strong and lean, feel good and fuel your body for a busy life, ” get with the Protein!”