When it comes to working hard for that dream physique, the time you put in to the gym is only half of the battle! The other half takes place in the kitchen and in your nutrition choices.

 

Diet is extremely important when trying to improve your body composition. Without proper nutrients, no matter how much time you spend weight training or doing cardio, you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

 

If we don't get enough from our diet, our health and body composition suffers. There are vastly different opinions about how much protein we actually need, but the 'right' amount of protein for any one individual depends on many factors - activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals and current state of health.

 

What are your goals?

Weight Loss:

Eating protein can help with weight loss by boosting metabolic rate (calories out) and reducing your appetite (calories in).

Protein at around 25-30% of calories has been shown to boost metbabolism by up to 80 to 100 calories per day, compared to lower protein diets. This amounts to 150 grams per day for someone on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Arguably, the most important contribution of protein is its ability to reduce appetite and cause spontaneous reduction in calorie intake!

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Mass Gain:

Muscles are made largely of protein. As with most tissues in the body, muscles are dynamic and are constantly being broken down and rebuilt.

To gain muscle, the body must be synthesizing more muscle protein than it is breaking down. For this reason, people who want a lot of muscle will need to eat a greater amount of foods with protein.

Those who want to hold on to muscle that they've already built will need to increase their protein intake when losing body fat, because a high protein intake can help prevent the muscle loss that usually occurs when dieting.

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When it comes to muscle mass, the studies are usually not looking at percentage of calories, but daily grams of protein per unit of body weight (kilograms or pounds).

It is recommended that getting between 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight is ideal. If you are aiming for a gram of protein or more per pound of body weight, you're overdoing it and your body won't be able to process those extra calories!

Optimal protein intake decreases with training age, because your body becomes more efficient at preventing protein breakdown resulting from training.

 

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