Protein is a key player in weight loss, and by consuming enough of it and at the right times you can really maximise your weight loss results.
Bonus: this can be done without losing out on all that lean muscle that you have worked so hard to gain in the gym!
Sources of protein
Protein is in a huge amount of foods from meat, to dairy, eggs and fish.
These sources are to be considered as being of high biological value, which means it is readily available to be used by the body.
✓ Dairy (cheese, yogurt, eggs, milk)
✓ Meat (beef, chicken, lean pork cuts, turkey)
✓ Fish (particularly high in protein tuna, halibut, salmon, sardines, tilapia.)
Plant-based protein is of lower biological value – nevertheless, it is still just as beneficial to be used by the body for fuel.
✓ Soy products
✓ Beans and lentils
✓ Leafy greens
#1 Protein promotes effective recovery
Protein is essential for recovery: if you do not eat enough protein, your body will not be able to repair itself enough to perform optimally during your next workout.
Recovery is crucial to the quality of your workouts as if you are too sore to exercise from a previous workout, you will not be able to train at the intensity necessary for you to make progress.
#2 Protein is filling
Protein is also very filling. This is because it takes time for the body to digest and break down in the body.
By eating protein with every meal, you will feel more satisfied and this may help you stick to your food plan and be less likely to hit up the junk food press with cravings due to hunger.
Choose lean sources of protein where possible and get creative with some new recipes to keep things interesting at mealtimes.
Exotic meats such as ostrich are great sources of protein that are low in fat too!
#3 Protein promotes lean muscle mass
Protein is also crucial for muscle growth. Muscle is really important for weight loss, as the more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate will be. This means that you will burn more calories, even at rest.
By incorporating weight training into your routine with enough protein in your diet, you will be able to maintain as much muscle as possible while losing fat. The lower body fat that you are, the leaner you will look, regardless of your weight on the scales.
#4 Protein supplements/snacks may avoid binging
Supplements are really helpful if you are struggling to get enough protein into your daily diet.
They are convenient and easy to transport, making them great for if you are on the go.
There are two main types of protein supplement that you can buy which includes whey protein and casein.
Whey protein is a fast absorbing protein making it fantastic for after a workout. Casein on the other hand is a slow digesting protein and is very useful to have at night before bed.
Casein forms a gel in the stomach which means the protein is released slowly into the body. Casein is also found in foods such as yoghurt and cottage cheese!
Supplement with Amino Acids if necessary…
Branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are the building blocks of muscle. They consist of three essential amino acids, including Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine. This means that the body cannot make them itself and so they must be consumed through the diet.
They are important for recovery and also the maintenance of lean muscle mass, especially in times of calorie restriction. This makes BCAA’s a fantastic supplement for anyone whose goal is weight loss as they will help to prevent any unnecessary muscle loss which can be caused by dieting.
Take home message
By keeping track of your protein intake and ensuring you are getting enough in your daily diet you will get the best results possible from your training routine and will find it easier to shed any unwanted body fat.
Consider some supplements if you are struggling to get enough protein from your diet – for example, using protein powder to…