Protein – What Is It & Should You Be Taking It?

what is protein and should you take it - protein shakes and supplementsProtein Supplements – What are they and should you be taking it?

The market nowadays is so full of shakes, balls, bars, vitamins and powders it can be so easy to get lost in all of it and get confused. Should you be taking it? What does it do?  Which one should I buy?

I have been using fitness supplements for a while now throughout my weightloss journey and I thought I would share my thoughts on using supplements and why I use them. Protein is the supplement I take the most, in the form of shakes and bars mainly and I believe it has helped no end in my fitness journey.

So lets start with the basics: What is Protein?

The word ‘protein’ refers to a type of molecule in food that can be broken down into amino acids. The body needs twenty amino acids – as a biological machine it can create 11 of these itself.  However there are nine, called ‘essential amino acids’ that the body cannot create and has to gain through the consumption of food. When we eat, the body breaks down the protein in food in order to create the amino acids that it needs. Source

Now that’s the fancy science bit done, What does Protein actually do for us?

Protein is so important! Our organs, skin, muscles, nails and hair are all built from proteins. It repairs all internal and external damage, and from a cellular level its used for just about everything!

Protein is a must for anyone that exercises, not just for the bodybuilders! When you exercise you are tearing and breaking muscles fibres apart, which then need to be repaired by the body, thus using protein!

How does Protein help with weight-loss?

  • Helps you feel fuller for longer as it slows digestion down, so you are less likely to go back for seconds and save calories!
  • It takes more energy to process protein in the body than carbs or fats, so burns more calories!
  • It fuels fat burning! You can’t actually burn fat without the help of proteins or carbs, and when you lose weight you also lose muscle mass (cue the tears!) so the higher intake of protein, the more muscle mass you can preserve!
  • It promotes GAINZ! – It helps the muscles repair and grow, so you can get super strong and have an amazing body too!

How much Protein do I have and why?

I have just redone my macros this week now, as I don’t like to get stuck in a slump!

Currently my macros are 1797kcals, 157P 157C & 60F. My protein amount is 0.8g per lb body weight as this is the recommended daily amount! I have dropped it slightly this time as I am unable to lift weights so a higher amount wouldn’t really achieve anything. This amount is perfect for me for fat loss and trying to preserve muscle mass!

Previously I had a super low deficit in the week (Monday-Friday) at 1480kcals, 180P, 100C and 40F and then Saturday & Sunday I had extra calories: 2070kcals, 140P, 220C and 70F.

I had a really low deficit in the week because I tend to go a bit mad at weekends and binge, so I got together with my trainer to come up with a plan so I ate less in the week when I am more disciplined so I can have the freedom at the weekend to fit in some treats! My protein was so high during the week because I am trying to sustain muscle mass whilst have a 25% deficit and also it is more filling so I still feel full even though I am not eating loads!

What do I take?

Some days I find it hard to meet my goals without eating loads of meat so I often opt for protein supplements! It’s also a great way to get a treat in too that isn’t too unhealthy! Every morning I take a shake (normally 60g protein powder + 250ml almond milk) to work for breakfast, and then if I fancy a treat or need extra ways to get in protein that day I choose from my vast selection of bars, cookies, brownies + yoghurts! Also as a post gym treat at the weekends, I head to gym 2 minutes from my own gym, and grab one of their amazing protein shakes! They make them with Yoghurt and protein powder and my favourites at the moment are salted caramel or snickers! No matter how hard I try I cannot whip them up at home the same!!

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Hopefully this has addressed some of the taboo around Protein. It’s not just for the wannabe Arnold Schwarzenegger’s of the world, and it can benefit all of us!

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