By Joshua Capazorio, Biogen-sponsored Strength & Conditioning Coach & Co-Owner at Performance Purist.
Let’s talk about what is possibly the most glamorous macronutrient in health and fitness, protein.
I think we should clarify that we all need protein but athletes and active individuals need more to develop and maintain muscle mass and perform in the gym and out on the field.
Protein plays a role in the majority of our bodily functions while also working to heal and repair the body, which enables us to bounce back from life’s challenges and demands.
Read More | Taking a Strong-First Approach to Life with Coach Joshua Capazorio
Determine your requirements
Now that we know it is important, the next question is, how much protein do you need?
When looking at an individual’s protein intake, we want to be generous but also realistic. Not every male athlete weighing 90kg needs over 200gram of protein, especially if they don’t possess much muscle mass.
We simply cannot spit out numbers without considering the following:
- Body composition, and
My approach for most of my clients is conservative at first. My advice is to always do something that you can maintain with consistency.
Most people do not understand how tedious it can be to eat over 220g of protein a day, but it is doable and it is manageable. However, it takes a lot of work if you are not equipped and disciplined.
The first step
If you cannot learn how to track and consume at least 75% of that intake for three months without fail, you most likely will miss your daily protein target, which sets you up for failure.
I recommend that most active ladies consume 1.2-1.7g per kg bodyweight, and that guys aim for 1.5-2g per kg of bodyweight.
Granted this is without assessing the person but this margin should allow you to not only meet your daily requirements but allow you to develop and maintain a good level of muscle mass, while aiding in better recovery post training. Setting a great base for a healthier lifestyle.
With regard to hitting our protein targets, selecting the right protein sources can prove challenging, both from a budget and meal prep perspective.
This is where protein supplements come in handy. Personally, I am up at 4 am every day with a newborn in the house. I don’t like eggs that much and I can’t make any noise (if you know, you know), so preparing a protein-rich breakfast for me always involves whey protein.
Incorporating protein supplements into my diet means I never miss a meal, and it suits my early morning time constraint perfectly, which ensures that vital consistency.
So, let’s discuss your options if you need to supplement protein:
I rank this one first as I use it daily. With its protein blend of whey isolate, hydrolysate and concentrate, I find it easy to mix, it digests quickly, and offers great value for money per gram of protein. This complete protein blend meets my dosage per gram, and it is rich in amino acids – which ticks all my boxes.
The body easily absorbs whey isolate and has a higher biological value over any other whole food protein source, which means your body retains and uses more of it to support repair and growth. You pay a premium for it but the product is premium.
If you find that you’re always short of your protein targets at the end of the day, use casein protein. This protein serves as a great dietary hack. It digests more slowly, which makes it ideal for use overnight while you sleep to support the muscle growth and repair process. Get creative after dinner by making a delicious protein pudding before bed.
Even those who follow a vegan or diary-free lifestyle need to meet their daily protein requirements to perform optimally. Comprising rice and pea protein, this plant-based product is free from diary, gluten and lactose, which makes it the ideal solution for breakfast or an on-the-go snack or meal replacement.
Consuming protein from whole food sources will always remain your priority. However, when we cannot meet our protein requirements from food alone due to logistics, price or lifestyle, we must other ways to reach our protein intake targets.
Supplementing with one or more of the products I have mentioned can save you money per serving and time. And they also offer massive convenience. So, make sure you keep your macros on point by tracking your intake daily with various protein options on hand to hit the numbers that matter most! Ultimately, all roads to success in strength and conditioning are paved with consistency.