If you are an athlete, you probably already know how important a sufficient protein intake is to your development. Protein is the key to building new muscle, repairing and renewing any muscle damage, and helping to maintain healthy tissues (skin, bones, ligaments, etc). When we eat sufficient protein, our bodies are able to recover faster and stronger. Not just athletes-anyone looking to maintain a healthy body should make sure they are eating sufficient protein- as we age protein intake becomes even MORE important!
How much protein do you need?
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a protein intake of 1,2-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight for athletes, and if you are an athlete that participates in any type of strength or resistance training you probably want to go for the higher end of this range! Strength training is hard on the body, and the extra protein can make sure that you are able to recover quickly enough between sessions. This means that an athlete that weighs 70kg will want to make sure they are eating around 120-140g of protein per day to maintain or build muscle mass.
When should you be eating protein?
For a long time we believed that it was necessary to eat protein right after a workout to preserve and build new muscle, but studies have shown recently that the total intake of protein throughout the day is actually just as important. If you are dieting to reduce body fat, eating enough protein is also necessary to maintain muscle mass and reduce hunger even when you are in a caloric deficit. Try to get a serving of a protein-rich food in every main meal, and although you won’t lose your gains’ if you don’t eat RIGHT after training, it is a good idea to eat a full meal within at least 2 hours of finishing your workout!
Do I need a protein supplement?
Not necessarily! But it can be SUPER helpful. GoPrimal is a supporter of “real food first”.. But we know that often convenience wins! A high-quality whey protein can be an easy way to bump up your protein intake. Having a quality protein powder to enjoy after a workout, with breakfast or a snack makes it that much easier to reach your goals.
When we think of protein, its easy to get stuck inside the box of ‘chicken breast and egg whites’… but really there are a TON of delicious ways to make sure you are eating enough protein.
Here are 4 easy ways to add more protein to your diet… without having to suck down a boring protein shake or dry chicken breast.
- Increase (protein) portion sizes. This is probably the most simple way to increase your protein intake. No need to complicate your meals, just simply make the portions of whatever your protein choices are a bit larger. For example, if you generally eat 150g of salmon for dinner, try making it 175g. If your breakfast is greek yogurt, add an extra couple of spoonfuls.
- Drink a (delicious) protein shake. Not your typical “water and whey protein”… please! Try blending up frozen berries, a spoonful of almond butter or chia seeds, Go Primal vanilla whey protein, oat or almond milk and a handful of spinach. A shake like this has all three macronutrients (protein, fats and carbohydrates) and also packs in micronutrients to keep your immune system healthy.
- Eat more legumes. Legumes are a great way to hit your carbohydrate goals and protein goals at the same time! Legumes tend to have a ratio of about 2:1 carbs to protein, which means that in 100g of lentils you’ll find around 10g of protein and 20g of carbs. Try a mix of half rice and half lentils to add some protein to your carbs, or add garbanzo beans to your salads for a bit of a protein boost!
- Add protein to your breakfasts and/or snacks. Lastly, we often forget about the ‘other’ meals of the day- breakfast and snacks! The usual snack foods tend to be low in protein- nuts, yogurt, fruit, rice cakes… and breakfast isnt much better. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit IS super healthy, but it lacks the protein we need to stay full until lunchtime. Try mixing some GoPrimal Chocolate Whey protein into your morning oatmeal, or switching out yogurt with a high-protein Skyr for a snack. Try this: mix a scoop of GoPrimal Chocolate whey protein with a spoonful of milk and drizzle it over roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon for a delicious snack.
These are just a few ways that you can easily add more protein to your diet, and add a bit more variety to your meals. This is KEY for an athlete- you can easily eat the same thing every day, but it gets boring… fast. These four tips to add more protein to your diet can help you stay on track with your diet, stay healthy, and train like a beast. Like this blog? See more at goprimal.eu
Author, Gillian Bennett from BiteSize Nutrition