There are periods when I supplement with protein, and there are periods when I don’t. I’ve done this off and on enough so as to notice the difference between those two periods. In this article, I’ll briefly go over what protein is, my thoughts on supplementation, and what a protein supplement can do for your fitness, and fat loss (fat burning) journey. If you have any questions, as always, you can comment here or contact me via e-mail on my social media accounts.
Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs to run it’s metabolic processes. Protein is important for repairing, maintaining, and building muscle tissue. When you exercise, you are stressing and taxing your muscle tissue which cause micro tears. When those micro tears are repaired, the muscle comes back stronger and more capable of handling the stress and tax you previously placed upon it.
My favorite food sources of protein are fish, chicken breast, eggs and red meat. There’s a few problems with attempting to get enough protein via food alone. One, is the time required to cook. Another, is that you can get in an excess of other macronutrients and calories by eating high protein meals. If you’re trying to reduce body fat, that can be an issue. For example, an egg contains 7 grams of protein but it also contains 7 grams of fat.
Those that don’t consume animal products can look to get there protein form something like quinoa. While a cup of quinoa would give you 8 grams of protein, you would tack on a whopping 40 grams of carbs. Obviously a bad choice for those on a low carb diet that are also trying to get in enough protein. So how much is enough protein?
Experts differ in the amount believed is enough protein. But, generally, 1-2 grams per pound of lean body weight is considered good. For me, I’ve done best with around 1.2 -1.5 grams per lean pound of bodyweight. I suggest you experiment with different amounts and keep a log of how you feel, how you recover, and how you perform during your workouts and or athletic events. Everyone is different, so the truth is that there is no set amount that will work for everyone.
Whether I supplement or don’t, I know that 1.2- 1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight works well for me. That means that I shoot to consume around 200 grams of protein a day. If I eat 6 times a day, that breaks down to a little over 30 grams of protein per meal.
Through experience, in the periods where I’m not supplementing with protein, I’ve found that it becomes very difficult to consume that much protein through food alone. When I consistently miss my protein consumption goals, I’ve noticed that I stay sore longer, my strength seems so suffer and my body fat begins to slowly rise.
Why does strength matter for fat loss? Keep in mind, the stronger you are, the more weight you can move. The more weight you move, the more of a tax you’re placing on your metabolic processes. The higher the tax on your metabolic processes, the higher you BMR (basal metabolic rate) will be. Your BMR will dictate how many calories your body will burn each day. When you’re attempting to lose fat, the more the better.
Anything that interferes with your strength, or strength building, will eventually affect your fat loss in a negative way. For me, not consuming enough protein has interfered with my strength and strength building. So, while getting in enough protein with food alone is possible, supplementing just makes the process a bit easier. For someone like me with an extremely busy schedule, supplementing is a practical and almost necessary route.
In Summary, protein helps you build muscle and strength. That strength and muscle will help raise your BMR so that your body burns more calories, those calories can come from stored body fat. You don’t necessarily need to supplement with protein, but supplementing will make consuming enough protein easier and it can help avoid consuming extra calories coming from the other macronutrients.
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Here are some affiliate links to protein brands that I’ve suggested to my clients. I like shopping at Amazon because of their quick delivery and because you can look through plenty of costumer feedback to help you decide.