Protein: Why it’s Important


Protein: Why it’s Important

Howdy! We hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far! I wanted to take this week to talk about diet. We all know diet is important when it comes to a solid training program, and most of us have an understanding of what proper and improper nutrition is. Yet, it’s also important to understand WHY good nutrition is good. I wanted to go into detail about the importance of protein! We always hear that protein is good and that it does this and that, but we as athletes want to understand WHY we need protein in our diet. There are three key reasons why you should include a good amount of quality protein into your diet.

First, protein is important for building muscle! 

This one you’ve probably heard before, but protein is the building blocks for building lean mass. If we are consistently exercising and breaking down our muscles, we want to make sure that our muscles are recovering properly. A good rule of thumb is 1 gram per pound of body weight. For someone who weighs 150 pounds, a good amount of protein to consume is 150 grams per day. Minimum, we should be consuming 0.8 grams per pound of body weight to make sure our muscles are recovering from resistance training. This will allow our bodies to be primed and ready for the next up and coming workout! Plus, more muscle means we burn more calories at rest!

Second, protein is very satiating! Out of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats), protein provides the most satiety for our bodies. This means that eating more protein will keep us fuller for longer to help prevent us from overeating. For example, eating a chicken breast or a piece of fish will keep us more full than a donut, which is primarily fats and carbohydrates. Individuals who have a diet higher in protein tend to eat less calories due to being more full and satisfied throughout the day. 

Finally, protein has a higher thermic effect. When you consume protein, roughly 30% of all protein consumed is burned just through the process of digestion. This means that you’ll be burning more calories without even having to exercise more! Protein is harder for our bodies to digest than carbs or fats, so it requires more energy to get it processed after we’ve eaten. In summary, eating more protein burns more calories! 

Here’s a list of food options that are considered primary sources of protein:

  1. Chicken breast
  2. Turkey (99/1% Lean)
  3. Ground beef (99/1% Lean)
  4. Greek yogurt (0% fat)
  5. Protein powder
  6. Egg whites
  7. Cottage cheese (0% fat)
  8. Tilapia (any white fish)

If you would like more information on how to improve your diet, talk to our nutrition coach Maria here at the gym or set up a free consultation through our website!