One of the most common struggles clients have, at least nutritionally, is consistently getting enough protein each day. But given its value for any kind of body composition change, and its importance for maintaining strength, joint and bone health and the fact the the amino acids from protein are used to build every tissue, hormone and neurotransmitter you need, it’s kind of important that you get enough.
And, at least for the health benefits and to ensure an adequate supply for tissue replacement and the building of those hormones etc, the requirement is pretty low, around 50-60g/day. Most people can get that without even thinking about it.
But in order to see the fuller range of benefits, including optimising body composition changes, you need a little more.
For fat loss, anything above 1.5g/kg of body weight is a good place to be, so if you are 75kgs, you should aim for around 112g per day, or for a little more flexibility, let’s use a range of 100-120g per day.
For muscle gain, you want a little more, around 2g/kg of body weight, so if you’re the same 75kg and looking to add some muscle, you’ll be aiming for somewhere a little North of 150g/day. And combined with the extra calories you’ll consume for muscle building, that should get the job done nicely.
The problem is that it can be a little difficult to visualise what that amount of protein looks like on a daily basis. And that lack of understanding of what you’re aiming for can make it difficult to actually manage it consistently. So let’s break down how you could go about getting enough protein each day. We’ll use fat loss as the example, but the same approach applies to building more muscle, just add in slightly bigger servings or add an extra supplemental serving.
Breakfast: 150g Greek yoghurt + 1 scoop of choc whey = 40g. Add in some fruit such as banana or berries for your carb serving.
Lunch: Chicken salad using 100g of chicken breast = 25g plus whatever is in your salad veggies, let’s say around 10g. You could also use fish, prawns, or any other lean protein of your choice and the numbers will come out around the same.
Dinner: Pasta of your choice, adding in 100g of lean protein of your choice. That serving of chicken, beef or tempeh will come out at around 25g + some protein in the pasta* and any sauce you use.
So far we’re at about 100-110g, and all we’ve done is to ensure that each meal includes a serving of protein. Use this in conjunction with reasonable serving sizes and you’ll be in a calorie deficit with enough protein to help increase satiety and reduce hunger between meals.
*The reason you can’t get all your protein needs just by eating more pasta is that pasta isn’t a complete protein source, so you won’t get the full range of amino acids you need. Sorry.
Meanwhile, over on TikTok…
I posted a video with the simplest fat loss program that got a bit of attention.
Some most people were super positive about it, saying they had been doing something similar and had seen great progress which is awesome. But as always, there were a few who only wanted to focus on the negatives, taking the video as an absolute and not applying any kind of context or looking for strategies they could use to implement the principles I had outlined.
And while this bothered me for a little while, I realise that this is an example of the difference between those who take action and look for ways to apply useful strategies to their unique circumstances and those who immediately look for any negative or the smallest of obstacles to avoid taking action.
The thing is that there is no one size fits all approach to fat loss, but there are some key principles, that when applied will lead you to great results. For example:
Creating a calorie deficit. This can be done a number of ways. You could cut down on certain food groups (ie Keto, paleo etc), reduce your eating window (Intermittent fasting), or use a portion control method or count calories. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as the strategy you choose fits your needs and lifestyle.
Resistance training 2-4 times a week. It doesn’t matter if that’s doing a powerlifting type program like 5,3,1 or starting strength, or a bro split bodybuilding routine or another approach that better suits your goals and ability.
Walking more. Either in one go, or by splitting up your walks into 15 minute chunks. It all adds up the same way.
The point is, look at the principles first, then find a strategy that will work for you as an individual. Then get to work.
If you want, you can check the video here: http://bit.ly/dbpttiktokvideo
If you, like many of my clients, are stuck with home working, you’ll likely spend even more time than normal at your desk or on the sofa, in less than optimal position than normal. And in that case, your back and hips are probably giving you a bit of a kicking. So, to help, here are 4 ways you can take some of the pressure off and ease out your aching back.
- Kneeling T spine rotations. The kneeling position locks your low back in place and forces you to rotate from your upper back, the way it is designed. For extra help, breathe in as you open up on the rotation to expand your ribcage and increase your range of movement. Start with 5-6/ per side
- Band pull aparts. These target the mid-back muscles that are stuck in a stretched position all the time you are at your desk. To give them a little boost, turn your palms to face each other and you’ll improve the external rotation capacity of your shoulder. 15-20 reps.
- The best stretch in the world. This hits a lot of the areas that cause problems when you’re stuck in the same position all day. Hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, upper back extension and rotation, shoulder stability and lots more. If it’s a struggle getting into position with your hands on the floor, use a chair or low table to make it all a bit more accessible.
- Get outside for a walk. This is probably one of the most underrated options on the list. It opens your posture, takes the pressure off your low back, gets your blood pumping a little, and energises you for the rest of the day. For a bonus, if your schedule allows, take a walk around the block (or for 10 minutes) every 2-3 hours.
Give these simple fixes a try, schedule them into your day, and reap the benefits.