Are you eating enough protein? Do you know how much you need? Do you know why protein is important? The latest research shows that in order to maintain your current lean muscle mass, you need 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean muscle mass. If you’re trying to increase lean muscle mass, you need another 15-20% above that number.
Now, if you’re trying to lose weight, protein is crucial. The fewer calories you consume, the more of the calories you consume should come from protein. In fact, if you cut back on calories without increasing protein, you’ll be losing lean muscle right along with fat. You need to boost your protein in order to maintain muscle while cutting back on calories to lose body fat.
There’s science behind this, and it’s important to know: The more lean muscle mass we carry the higher we raise our Basal Metabolic rate.
The basal metabolic rate is the number of calories we burn during a typical sedentary day (no exercise). And, if you follow typical weight loss thinking, we could simply subtract 500 calories per day from the diet of the sedentary individual and they should lose approximately 1-2 pounds per week. The problem with this approach is that we end up being what we in the industry call “skinny-fat” – a nontechnical term that describes an individual who’s lighter on the scale, but still carrying a spare tire around their waist and their muscle tissue that has dwindled away from a lack of protein and strength training.
On the other hand, if your basal metabolic rate is 1,800 calories per day and you burn through 500-calories doing a metabolic workout, then that puts your daily burn at 2,300 calories. If you only eat 2,100 calories that day AND eat enough protein, not only have you a created the caloric deficit that you need to lose weight, you will become stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.
So, how do we to determine our baseline lean muscle mass and how much protein do we need to maintain it? To be honest, until recently, we guessed. But now we have tools like the Inbody body composition analysis device. This medical-grade machine accurately measures your lean muscle and body fat. It allows you to get a clear picture of how many pounds of lean muscle mass you carry versus how many pounds of body fat you carry. With this report, we can suggest an accurate amount of daily calories and grams of protein that aligns with your goals, be it to lose body fat or gain muscle mass or both!
And Did You Know?
- Contrary to previous claims, more recent studies show that consuming extra protein won’t hurt you or your kidneys. You’ll just burn it off as energy.
- The best sources of protein are dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish. Animal protein is complete—it contains the right proportions of the essential amino acids your body can’t manufacture on its own.
- It’s possible to build complete protein from plant-based foods by combining legumes, nuts, and grains at one meal. But you’ll need to consume 20 to 25 percent more plant-based protein to reap the benefits that animal-derived sources provide. And beans, nuts, and legumes contain carbs that make it harder to lose weight.
- Scale back your carbohydrate intake to make room for the extra protein.
- Protein keeps you feeling full….longer.
- Spread your protein throughout the day, don’t try to get them all in at dinner. A recent study from the University of Texas found that consuming 90 grams of protein at one meal provides the same benefit as eating 30 grams. It’s like a gas tank, says study author Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D.: “There’s only so much you can put in to maximize performance; the rest is spillover.”
- One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pinpointed at least 20 grams as the best amount of post-workout protein to maximize muscle growth.
- Supplements are for Everyone. Everyone—not just powerlifters and football players—can benefit from the quick hit of amino acids provided by a protein supplement, bar, or shake. Your best bet is a fast-absorbing, high-quality kind like whey protein powder (derived from milk): “It appears in your bloodstream 15 minutes after you consume it,” says Jeffrey Volek, Ph.D., R.D., a nutrition and exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut. Check out our line of protein, vitamins and supplements: https://next-level-supplements.com/
- Whey protein is also the best source of leucine, an amino acid that behaves more like a hormone in your body: “It’s more than a building block of protein—it actually activates protein synthesis,” Volek says. Whey contains 10 percent leucine while other animal-based proteins have as little as 5 percent.
- Casein, another milk protein sold in supplement form, provides a slower-absorbing, more sustained source of amino acids, making it a great choice for a snack before you hit the sack. “Casein should help you maintain a positive protein balance during the night,” says Volek. Building muscle while you sleep? Thanks to protein, anything’s possible.