Hey Kelly, I was just reading your post on rest, and you mentioned the importance of protein intake. I hear so many different things on this topic. I tried doing Body For Life not too long ago, and I did notice a difference in my arms and legs, but I felt like I was eating so much protein. How much is truly necessary when trying to add lean muscle mass, and what are the best sources? I’ll eat meat, but I find myself eating less and less these days. I love yogurt and cottage cheese. Do I really need to be drinking whey protein shakes right after a workout and eat some type of casein protein before I go to bed? Are 6 smaller meals really better than 3 big meals? Ugh, totally confused. I would love some input whenever you get a chance. Thanks so much! Sincerely, Heather
Protein’s function is to rebuild your muscles. When you work out, you tear your muscles, and protein swoops in to repair them stronger than when you started.
Every person needs a certain amount of protein a day. Just like calories, if you eat more protein than you need, you store it as fat.
To figure out how much protein you need in a day; plug your stats into this equation:
Weight in pounds/2.2 x .8= protein needed per day in grams.
Its as simple as that. No more, no less.
To put it simply- it doesn’t matter when you eat it. A lot of people think you have to eat it right after a workout to repair your muscles, but it will do that whenever you eat it. Calcium repairs bone, but you don’t eat calcium right after you break a bone, do you? You should eat calcium everyday to make sure when you need it, its there. Protein is the same way.
As far as where you get your protein, its up to you. But, when you get your protein from natural sources, such as meat and dairy, you also consume a whole host of other vitamins, and minerals- its like killing two birds with one stone. Most people get more protein than they need in a day anyway, so most of the time, protein powders and bars are unnecessary. When you get your protein from meat, however, you are also consuming saturated fat, so watch your portions. In terms of health concerns, too high saturated fat intake is more of an issue that not enough protein- so pay attention.
The world got on a protein kick after science discovered it repairs tissue. Scientists touting findings that eating protein would make you stronger physically, as well as mentally (by repairing brain tissue), caused people to start pumping themselves full of protein. This caused a saturated fat (ie. heart disease and high cholesterol) epidemic, which then brought us to the obesity epidemic we have today. Unfortunately, people are still stuck with this idea that the more protein the better- but that’s old, out dated science.