If you’re taking your training seriously, then you ought to take your nutrition seriously too.
Putting it simply, if you’re looking to build muscle in the gym then you will be breaking down the muscle fibres, which will need repairing. Protein is what will help them repair, and therefore grow.
Even if you’re not looking to build muscle, but to lose fat instead, a high protein intake has been shown to decrease levels of ghrelin (which is the “hunger hormone”). Protein also increases your metabolic rate after eating and during sleep, meaning you’ll burn fat at a faster rate. Ideal, right?
I really struggle sometimes with getting the balance of “enough” food and “too much” food – I am a bit of an all or nothing person at times. But I’ve slowly been able to challenge that pattern and am finally eating the right levels of protein in order to promote muscle repair (GAINZ!).
Here are a few changes in my diet which have massively increased my ability to hit my protein macros.
1. Eggs for breakfast
Porridge and cereals are amazing, no doubt. But adding 3 eggs to your morning routine will give you roughly 20g protein.
If you’re eating breakfast following a morning workout, this is a priceless aid to muscle repair.
Not only that, but 3 eggs teamed with spinach and cherry tomatoes is surprisingly filling, despite the lack of carbs!
If, like me, you can’t get through the 11am or 3pm slump without an extra boost then make sure you’re choosing protein-rich snacks.
I tend to keep a packet of pre-cooked sliced chicken in the fridge, or babybels. Cheese in general is high in protein, but you don’t want to overindulge in it toooo much.
3. Protein shakes
I don’t like using these as meal replacements, but rather as a way to make sure I’m hitting my protein macros. These are ideal to take within the first 30 minutes after your workout, as that’s when your muscles need the protein most. I personally use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Vanilla Ice Cream (YUM!).
Don’t ever eat a main meal that doesn’t have protein in it. (I sound really preachy here but if you’re reading this with a view of increasing your protein intake, its important).
Fish, chicken, beef – whatever it is, make sure that the primary ingredient is the protein.
5. Little extras
Nuts n’ Seeds. Basically most of what goes on my plate has an additional nut or seed combo. Nuts have a reasonably high protein content, as well as being a fantastic source of energy! I put chia seeds in my porridge (4g P per serving), cashews on my salads (5g P per serving), and peanut butter on my apples (8g P per serving)
Where to buy
Chia Seeds – https://www.goodyfull.com/
Every nut ever discovered (at amazing cheap prices) – http://www.healthysupplies.co.uk/sussex-wholefoods.html
Peanut Butter – Whole Earth