Are You Getting Enough Protein?
Last week I spoke about the trend towards in-home exercise versus training in a fitness facility. (See full post here.) And although I think any kind of safe movement that makes you feel good is a win, regardless of the setting, becoming disconnected from the coaches that have often been invaluable resources can leave us vulnerable in this new world.
When a person goes from very little movement, to regular exercise that includes some weight bearing or weight lifting, your protein needs temporarily increase, as your body goes through an adaptation phase.
Since many of us are barely hitting our protein requirements on a good day, needing more without getting more can set up a gap in our nutrition.
So, how do we know how much protein we need? Every body and everyone's health status is different, so keep that in mind and know that any advice from your doctor or primary care practitioner trumps what you read in a nutrition blog.
But assuming you are generally in good health with two working kidneys and a new found love of fun fitness apps, here is some simple math to calculate your protein needs.
Take your total body weight in kilograms and eat one gram of protein per kilo of body weight. If you are just starting a weight lifting regime, or embarking on an intense hypertrophy (muscle gaining) phase, increase to 1.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. If you are a seasoned exerciser, are using low to moderate intensity in your weight training or have completed the adaptation phase to a new routine, you can look at 0.75 to 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight.
Your protein intake should be divided throughout the day. You can only absorb a limited amount of protein at a time (typically around 35 grams) so thinking you can jam it all into one meal is a mistake.
For example, if you are 75 kilos you would want to divide your daily protein into 3 meals of 20 grams of protein each, plus one snack with 15 grams of protein. That's 20+20+20+15 which gets you to 75 grams per day. You can go up or down a little depending on your phase of training but this is a good place to start.
Consuming adequate protein while exercising will help optimize your results and recovery, so that you can reap the benefits you are after and build the habit of daily movement without depleting your nutritional building blocks.