Protein, almost everyone who works out knows they need it, but not everyone understands why.
If you’ve wondered WHY your body needs protein, how much protein you need based on your activity level and a few ideas on high protein foods to add to your diet then today’s post is for you!
Protein is the building block of the human body, don’t just take my word for it, check out Patient.info’s explanation here. It helps your body heal and maintain as well as grow muscle mass.
Bottom line, you need it!
Build Muscle Burn More Fat
Here’s how the cycle works.
To build muscle you need to exercise and take in the right fuel to heal your body and build muscle.
Muscle, even while resting, burns more calories than fat.
For example, 10 pounds of muscle will burn about 50 calories a day while 10 pounds of fat would burn about 20 calories per day (reference).
While this might seem like a chicken or the egg (good source of protein by the way) scenario (need muscle to burn fat) the goal is to exercise, FUEL (this iw where protein comes in) build muscle and as you do you’ll increase your calorie burn, which in turn burns fat and the cycle continues.
How does Protein play into this?
You Need Protein to Build Muscle
We’re a carb heavy society. We love crackers, bread, chips and other carb-dense foods that have very little, if any, protein. Getting into the habit of adding some protein to every meal and snack each day will shift some caloric intake from carbohydrates to protein.
How much Protein do I Need?
If you’re an active individual, working out several times a week, then aim to consume 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight for a woman and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for a man.
Protein Rich Foods to Eat?
Protein powder is an obvious way to get more protein in your diet each day. While those tubs of powder might seem expensive, when you compare the cost per serving of protein powder to that of another food with similar protein content (fish, chicken, greek yogurt) you’ll see the price is not that bad.
Other foods to work into your diet that high in protein are:
- Chicken, Fish and lean Beef
- Greek or Icelandic style yogurts
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Navy or Black Beans
- Almonds and Cashews (reach for the unsalted variety)
- Nut Butters
Other Diet Changes You Can Make
Adding more protein to your diet will likely cut out some of the lower quality carb dense foods you have been eating, but there are other changes you can make too.
Cutting out processed foods, cutting back on alcohol intake and increasing your water consumption each day will all help you cut fat and build more muscle.