The question I get asked more than any other question by clients is…
Why is protein so important?
There are many reasons why protein is at the top of the nutritional food chain.
- Firstly, protein keeps you fuller for longer more than any other macronutrient.
- Secondly, it curbs any highs or lows you may experience with blood sugar levels. You won’t have the cravings that a carb will give you.
But that’s not the reasons why I push, push, push protein onto PGPT clients. The number one reason (if you’re looking at the long game) is the impact protein has on your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Your BMR is the amount of calories/energy you need at rest to maintain your current weight. Metabolism has a direct correlation with numerous factors such as your sex, age and the amount of lean muscle your body holds. Are you following me?
There are two instant points you can action to gain lean muscle:
- Start doing strength training.
- Eat the required amount of protein your body needs.
If I take the second point, I can guarantee that 90% of the population don’t hit their daily protein requirement. Ideally you want to be eating 1g of protein per 1lb of lean muscle. If you know your body fat then that’s easy to workout (this is the method PGPT use). Most of the population don’t know their body fat, so they are not going to know their lean muscle figure.
So what is the alternative to make sure you’re eating enough protein?
Use the following equations:
- Weight in KG x 1.5 if not exercising or lifting weights regularly.
- Weight in KG x 2 if training 3+ days a week.
So what’s going on here?
The more muscle your body has the higher your BMR will be. If you use myself as an example. The difference between me having an extra 3kg of lean muscle at my current weight of 80kg will allow me to eat an extra 110kcals a day. This is priceless.
Why is it Priceless Pete?
Because if you want to lose weight then you need to create a deficit. Remember 1lb of fat= 3500kcals. If you’re looking to lose at least one pound of body fat a week, then you need to create a deficit of 500kcals a day. Now if we go back to BMR the difference between someone being able to eat 1900kcals a day to another person who can only eat 1600kcals a day starts to weigh up.
Does this Make Sense?
Take Jane who weights 68kg and has a body fat percentage of 28%. Jane’s BMR comes in at 1427kcals. Jane only started exercising once a week, two weeks ago so her BMR would need to be multiplied by the lowest multiple to work out her daily calorie allowance which is 1.2. Therefore, we use her BMR of 1427 x 1.2= 1712kcals
Now take Rebecca who weighs 64kg but has a much lower body fat of 14% (hence higher lean weight than Jane) and exercises regularly. Rebecca’s BMR comes in at 1559. However, because Rebecca trains 3 times a week we use a higher multiple of 1.5 to work out her daily calorie allowance. 1559 x 1.5= 2338kcals
You can now see that if both girls want to shift a couple of lbs that the freedom Jane has to eat is far more limiting than Rebecca. If you go 500kcals under for both girls Jane is now on a meal plan of 1217kcals and Rebecca is on 1838kcals. I guarantee that Jane will be miserable trying to lose weight where Rebecca will be able to eat quite a variety of protein and food and still shift weight.
I hear you ask. What foods are protein & how much protein is in each food?
- Whey protein shake= 30g per serving
- One chicken breast= 28g
- Egg 9g
- 20 nuts =7g
- Greek yogurt pot= 19g
- 75g of smoked salmon=15g
- 1 cup of quinoa= 9g
- 1 cup of chickpeas= 11g
The older you get the less lean muscle you have. The more body fat you hold the less lean muscle you have. Seeing a trend? If you want to have the freedom to enjoy more calories incorporate strength training with a high protein diet to pick your metabolism up off the floor!!