By Faith Barbare, Owner and Certified Personal Trainer at SimplyFit
Let’s discuss the power of protein, and what it can do for us:
1. Lean Muscle Gain – Exercising purposefully damages our muscle tissue, only to be repaired and grow back stronger. Our muscles are a powerhouse for calorie burning; therefore, the more protein we fuel our bodies with, the more calories we can burn. When we begin replacing fat with muscle, our bodies burn calories to maintain healthy, lean muscle.
2. Speeds up your Metabolism – That’s right! Did you know that eating enough protein each day can actually aid in speeding up your metabolism, which will help us burn fat quicker? It takes a greater amount of energy to process protein than it does carbohydrates, so our metabolism increases when consuming higher amounts of protein.
3. Weight loss and Weight Maintenance – Consuming higher amounts of protein will boost fat loss in your body while helping you maintain lean muscle. On the flip side, for those who just want to maintain their current weight, protein helps regulate our appetite. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein makes us feel more full for longer periods of time, resulting in reduced cravings.
4. Quick Recovery – Because of the breakdown our muscles experience when we exercise, we need to fuel our bodies with protein to help grow and repair our cells. Protein provides necessary energy to help speed up this process. Most people believe that protein will enhance athletic performance, but that isn’t the case. However, it can aid in increasing muscle recovery, which makes our muscles stronger, quicker.
5. Overall Health – Protein has been proven to help balance hormones and acts as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies also show that it helps improve our response to stress. As I mentioned before, protein is a building block to our cells, including our skin, hair, and nails. Our hair and nails are actually made up of mostly protein.
A few things to consider when consuming large amounts of protein in your daily diet:
- Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, not just at one meal. This helps your muscles rebuild throughout the day.
- Having several sources of protein will make your goals much easier. Consuming protein shakes numerous times a day will get old, quick. So explore other options! There are many types of food that provide our bodies with important vitamins and nutrients.
- Protein supplements are a great way to help us reach our protein goals. The key word being supplement. Drink protein powder as an addition to your diet as opposed to solely relying on it. Do not exceed more than 2-3 shakes a day. Drinking too many a day can lead to digestive issues and can cause bloating.
- Women tend to skimp on food with large amounts of protein because of their caloric density, but eating a balanced diet with a significant amount of protein yields many great benefits, including weight loss.
- The USDA recommends a daily intake of 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women at a minimum. This is just a starting point and is based on an average activity level and an average weight individual. For people that are doing more intense exercises or attempting to lose weight, a higher level of protein is recommended.
Because protein is a macro-nutrient, our body needs a large amount of it. Our bodies don’t store protein like they do carbohydrates and fats; therefore, we need to consume large amounts of it daily. Now knowing the benefits of protein, it shouldn’t be hard for us to want to eat more of it. It’s just a matter of working it into our diets. There are tons of foods that you probably already eat that are packed full of protein. Start taking a closer look into labels and be sure you are getting enough protein to help aid in the achievement of your fitness goals!
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