I ran a post online looking for common gym / nutrition questions and one topic that seems to get the most interest is PROTEIN! This really got me excited because I'd say about 75% of people are not consuming near enough protein in their diet and that number is probably even higher for people over 55.
Protein is the building blocks of our muscles. It serves our body by helping repair cells and helps make new ones. So let's face it, we put our bodies through a lot in the gym... it's important that we support the repair process! I am not going to complete nerd out on the biology of protein but here's a few important things you should know.
The big ONE- How much protein do I need?
Adults should be consuming over 100g protein per day. If you're lifting in the gym I'd suggest starting with 1g / pound of lean body mass. The best thing to think is- what is my "ideal weight". Great, eat that in grams of protein!
Does is matter how you get it... (supplements vs whole food)
Yes and No.
Protein in any form has 4 calories per 1 gram of protein. So essentially you're getting protein no matter what. BUT...for your overall health, you should consume primarily quality protein that comes from meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and plants. A protein is made up of a chain of amino acids that work together in your body. Most supplements and bars are lacking in essential amino acids and micronutrients that your body needs. That being said- I think a balance between the two are fine (by balance, i mean 80/20)! I am a fan of having an emergency protein bar or shake in my bag in case my day gets out of control, but for the most part I am consuming my protein from whole food sources!
What protein can do for you beyond the cells. A high protein diet can: reduce hunger and cravings boost metabolism by supporting increased BMR boost muscle recovery support muscle growth (this is how you get "tone")
reduce age related muscle loss
How can I start to increase my protein intake?
Ideally you should be eating 3-5 meals a day. When you plan or pick those meals- first think... what is my protein? Pick your protein and then build around it. Don't opt for your meals to focus on convenient carbs at some grab-n-go Wawa snack bar! Find something protein packed! If you're a tracker... each meal or snack should have about 30-50g protein.
Here's the SECRET:
If you eat less, you'll lose weight.
If you eat less and eat plenty of PROTEIN, you'll lose body fat.
If you eat less, eat plenty of PROTEIN, and strength train at the gym, you'll LOSE body fat and GAIN muscle.
Now you know how to burn fat and build muscle!