So we know the most important thing when it comes to diet is your daily calorie intake, eat at a surplus (more calories than your body uses) and gain weight or eat at a deficit (fewer calories than your body uses) and lose weight. The next most important part of diet in my eyes is “Protein” it is literally the building blocks of your body. Now this is across the board, what I mean is don’t sit there thinking “It’s not important to me as I don’t lift weights” It’s essential to everyone regardless of how active you are. Lets look at some facts;
- Maintaining Muscle; When eating at a calorie deficit if you’re not eating enough protein your body could burn your muscle tissues instead of your fat.
- Burning Calories; That’s right eating enough protein can actually help you lose weight. Basically all food you eat burns calories to digest it. Protein burns the most calories to digest it for the body.
- Controlling Your Hunger; Out of all the macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs etc) Protein is the most filling. This is essential in controlling your hunger.
- Builds Muscle; Protein is essential for building muscle, without it your muscles will not grow and ultimately you will not get stronger.
There’s a brilliant explanation that I’ve seen being used several times. I’ve read is once over at T-Nation and also read a newsletter from Mehdi (5×5 Stronglifts) about it.
Imagine you’re trying to build a house and your muscles represent that house. The bricks you use to build that house are represented by protein you ingest – now you need to pay your workers something otherwise they won’t work for you, in this case the workers payment is represented by the carbs and fats you eat.
Now if you don’t give your workers enough bricks (Protein) they won’t build your house as quick. So not eating enough protein will slow muscle growth.
Now that quality of your workers pay also effect’s their motivation. If you don’t pay them enough they might not work as hard so your house will be built slower, if you pay them too little they will get angry and start smashing the bricks you already have (weight loss/possibly muscle loss if you don’t have enough bricks)
Now if you pay them too much they may work faster as their motivation is higher. However there comes a point that they can’t work any faster and the excess will just build up. (weight gain)
The same can be said by sending extra bricks. Yes to start with the house may be built faster, but just as before there will come a point where they can’t build anymore. For example they can only lay 500 bricks in a day and you send them 800.
So How Much Protein?
This is a question that we always here in the fitness world. And if you google it there are lots of good breakdowns out there with really fine details. But the general middle ground is that you should be consuming 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. It’s a really good target to aim for, regardless of if you are lifting weights or just wanting to live a little healthier.
As always thanks for stopping by and reading my posts. Any questions feel free to ask and I’ll try to help if I can, or if you just want to share your diet stories feel free.