The other day I was having a conversation with my co-worker about protein. He’s a workout maniac like me and we always have
debates discussions on food and exercise. I love talking about fitness stuff especially fuel for fitness. I’m sure that comes as a surprise with all my recipes.
Remember when I said I’m not a fan of protein bars? Well, I lied. But only sort of lied. I like protein bars and protein shakes, but only as an option when I don’t have time for real food and need something on the go. I only like the kind made with real food ingredients too. The problem I have with protein bars and powders is that I don’t believe they’re for everyone. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Last month I started adding a Vega protein shake to my breakfast after my morning workouts. I recently reviewed Vega‘s products recently and love their plant-based, real food ingredients. #fuelyourbetter
Why? I noticed I was really hungry late in the day and eating way too much at night. My stomach wasn’t happy with me either and I felt very heavy during my morning workouts.
When I was having the protein discussion with my co-worker, he asked how much protein I was getting. I showed him my Lose It app where I track my daily eats and you guess it, I was on the low side. For the amount that I workout and the intensity (2-3 hours per day), I had a slight protein deficit.
How much protein do you need?
The average sedentary person needs .36 grams of protein per pound – i.e. 56 grams for a man and 46 for a woman per day. [Source]
Athletes need more protein. Endurance athletes (bikers, swimmers, runners) such as myself synthesize more protein as fuel during workouts . Power athletes (cross fitters , body builders) synthesize less protein as fuel rather retaining it for muscle development. This is why more protein is recommended for athletes than the average person. The range for athletes is anywhere from 66 to 94 grams for women and 84 to 119 grams for men. [Source]
Why is protein important?
Most sports involve physically breaking down muscle during activity and repairing it afterward. So the protein needs of active people are influenced by the length, frequency, and intensity of their workouts.
Protein is good for weight-loss too. It takes more energy for the body to metabolize and digest protein. When you eat protein, you burn calories. Protein as 25-30% of your total daily calories, can boost your metabolism anywhere from 80-100 calories more per day. The other factor that protein helps with weight-loss is that it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Protein maintains blood sugar levels under control avoiding hunger spikes throughout the day.
Where can you get protein?
Before you run out and buy protein powder, bars and shakes first consider how easy it is to get protein from these real foods.
- 4 oz chicken breast – 25 grams
- 4 oz hamburger – 20 grams
- Glass of milk – 8 grams
- Low fat yogurt 10 – 12 grams
- Greek yogurt – 14-18 grams
- 1 egg – 6 grams
- 2 slices of whole grain bread – 6-10 grams
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter – 8 grams
- Handful of almonds – 7 grams
- Mozzarella cheese string – 6 grams
If you’re working out like a semi-pro athlete like me then you may need a supplement, otherwise stick to the real stuff peeps.
Do you watch the amount of protein in your diet? Do you try to maintain a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat? What are your thoughts on protein bars and powders?
Linking up with Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness
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