“Am I eating enough protein?”
This, by far, is one of the greatest concerns among my clients. With good reason! Getting enough more protein in your daily diet can seem like a mystifying quest by itself. Getting enough protein for your personal fitness goals? Now that can seem impossible! I have more than a few clients who are shocked to discover their protein intake is not only low, but waaaay off the mark when it comes to realizing their physique goals. Weight lifting is already difficult and requires insane amounts of mental and physical effort to stay the course. Combine loads of physical effort with low protein intake, and you’ve got a recipe for THE STRUGGLES.
- By why the heck is protein so important anyway?
- How do I know if I’m getting enough for my fitness goals?
- How can I get more protein into my daily diet?
Well, dear readers, that’s what this four part series is all about!
Why the heck is protein so important anyway?
Did ya know that you can build more muscle simply by increasing your protein intake? You don’t even have to pick up a weight! Protein is literally the building block of lean muscle tissue. Read that again. If your muscles were a brick house, then protein are the bricks! If your main goal is to BUILD lean muscle tissue (hence, the term “bodyBUILDING”), then you absolutely must be supplying your body with enough building material! Every time you lift, provided you are lifting with the intention to progress in some small way each session, you are literally ripping your muscle fibers apart. This is partly where muscle soreness post workout comes from. After the workout, your body uses your dietary protein to “patch up” and repair all those teeny tiny rips. This makes the muscle denser, thicker, stronger, and more resilient. Overtime, these various “protein patch jobs” result in an increase in muscle size, aka: mass! That bigger booty you want? It’s made outta protein, not just squats!
Now think about it: if you’re goin’ in and tearing your muscle fibers apart lifting hard and then depriving your body of the nutrient it NEEDS to sufficiently repair those muscles… well… the struggle will be real as heck! Let this go unchecked long enough, and you will surely hit a wall in terms of gaining size or strength.
Unless you measure and log everything you eat, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting enough protein. Let’s start with some more obvious signs:
PHYSICAL SIGNS YOUR DIET MAY BE LACKING IN PROTEIN
- Feel lethargic or tired often
- Stalling muscle gains
- Workouts may feel lacking or “heavy”
- Lifting weights for exercises may lag or even decrease
- Struggling with weights you used to be comfortable with
- Feeling hungrier more often/ getting hungry quickly between feedings
- Hair/skin/nails may be brittle, lack luster, or weak
- Being consistent, but feeling like your workouts “aren’t working”
- Not seeing any results over a long scope of time (3-12 months)
If you’re a badass babe OR fella and building muscle is your goal ( examples: a bigger butt, bigger biceps, ripped quads, thick lats, etc), you need to start paying attention to your daily protein consumption. Period.
Next up, figuring out your magic protein number for your goals:
( Part II - Beefing Up Your Protein Intake )