We all know a bit about the importance of protein. But just how important is it? Let me tell you – very important. Not just for meatheads looking to gain muscle, this macronutrient is vital for keeping your body healthy and functioning well. Read on to learn more about this magical substance.
Why Eat Protein?
First of all, protein is the main ingredient used for building and repairing tissue in your body. This means it maintains the health of your muscles, cartilage, bones, blood, hair and nails. It regulates the function of your enzymes and hormones. It’s also needed to sustain a healthy immune system. Sounds like just about everything important right? In fact, without protein we would be nothing but a puddle of goo. Maybe less.
For those of you who exercise (all of you), protein plays an especially important role. Working out breaks down muscle tissue. Which sounds like the opposite of gains right? Wrong. This breaking down promotes a response from your body to rebuild and get stronger, which of course requires protein. If you’re neglecting protein after workouts, quit wasting time busting ass for no reason! It’s a good thing protein is found in a wide variety of food and is already a part of your diet. But what are the best sources and are you getting enough? What about protein shakes and supplements?
This guy knows.
Meats are the most complete sources. Sorry to break it to any vegetarians out there, but you’ll need to work very hard to catch up and get on par with omnivores. Protein consists of amino acids and meats contain more of the essential amino acids that form a “complete protein”. Meaning not only do vegetarians need to eat more to compensate but also from a greater variety of sources. But as with many things in life, variety is key. Omnivores should still be looking at a variety of protein sources. Solely having red meat all the time will give you cancer. Or so I’ve heard. Don’t fuck with cancer.
How Much Protein per Day?
A good rule is to match your current weight in lbs with grams of protein per day. And if you want to gain weight/muscle, target that number instead. So someone who is 150lbs should aim to get about 150 of protein per day but if they want to get to 180lbs (of jacked up musculature) they should shoot for 180 of protein per day.
Here’s a list of great Protein Sources (in my personal order of preference):
- Whole Milk
- (Greek) Yogurt
And if you can’t meet your intake requirement from these sources, go for a protein shake as a supplement to help get there. But protein shakes shouldn’t become a replacement for real food. That’s really all I need to say on the matter. Unless you’re a real bodybuilder (and I mean real bodybuilder), over complicating the subject is a waste of time. There is no secret method to getting ripped. Put in the work.
So keep in mind, include some protein in every meal and start your morning off with protein rather than sugar.
Get your body running on some real fuel.