Hey dreamers! Your fitness dreamer here with the real secret to losing fat and building muscle.
That’s great, right? But now the questions start. How much protein is enough? What type of protein should I eat?
The opinions this secret to weight loss vary wildly depending on who you talk to.
The bodybuilding camp has specific goals to build muscle. You may not think this is the group of experts to listen to but here is a teaser on why you may consider muscle building a goal.
Muscle is your #1 calorie burning support for weight loss. Not necessarily for the reasons you think.
There is a myth floating around that every pound of muscle you add will give you more calorie burning every day. Yes, muscle does help you support a healthier body composition. Not by burning a ton more calories than fat, but rather this simple fact.
Muscle takes up less volume than fat. Less volume equals less space, and a more toned figure for you.
Protein is the secret to weight loss because it supports your fitness goals by helping you build muscle up.
Let’s get back to the question of how much protein is enough. There are calculations all over the board depending on the healthy weight loss goals you have.
You could be maintaining your weight with little exercise and need far less protein in your day than others who are very active and are focusing their energy on toning and building muscle.
This is a place to start. A basic caclulation – yes, it’s math – is to use your goal weight and multiply by 2.2 to find your weight in kilograms.
Now multiple by a number based on your activity:
- .8 if you are not very active
- 1.3 if you are active or pregnant
- 1.8 if you are very active
To get you started, here’s a chart with a few examples. If you don’t see your goal weight listed, try the calculation above.
Use the power of protein as your secret to weight loss
As soon as you eat lean protein, it starts working its magic. Eating high-protein foods take more work for us to digest and use, which means more calories are burned just processing them in your system.
Those high protein meals take a while longer to leave your stomach, which leaves you feeling satisfied and full longer.
If you are working on changing your muscle tone and adding exercise into the mix, your goal is to burn off the body fat. Protein contains the amino acids to build lean muscle, that helps make you stronger and adds tone to all those muscles you are working.
Now that you know protein is going to help you out with your weight loss goals, start using is wisely.
Aim for at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast to kick start your metabolism.
Eating protein first thing in the morning, after your body has been fasting all night, reminds your body that the day has begun and to start burning fat. It’s also a great way help regulate your appetite for the rest of the day
Have a protein goal and plan for it.
This could be said for any part of your weight loss journey. Planning is key, and knowing what your goal is makes those plans possible. Keep your daily protein goal in mind when packing your meals and snacks for the day and make it a priority. Every time I feel hungry I remind myself “Protein first.” Not only will it fill me up with less, but it kills the desire to dive into not so healthy food choices.
Choose your protein wisely to get the most out of the meal
There is protein in a lot of foods. Nuts, whole grains and veggies technically have protein but they are missing out on all nine of the amino acids that you need to build lean muscle. Complete proteins are typically in animal products.
For those of us who do eat animal protein, stick to lean options. All of these food options have only 1-3 grams of fat per 50 calorie serving:
- Skinless white chicken or turkey
- Pork tenderloin
- Lean beef
- Low-fat dairy
Vegetarians need a little creativity but pairing up incomplete proteins make it easier. Brown rice and beans or peanut butter on whole wheat bread are great combos that get you the complete proteins you need. Grab some of these complete proteins to add to your mix:
- Hemp seed
Protein can be your secret to weight loss.
Based on the numbers, are you getting enough protein? The way you feel after a workout may tell you exactly what you need. Check in with yourself after your next workout and see if you are energized or a little worn out.
Tweak your protein amount and comment below – I want to know how it worked out for you!
Go get your fit on – Heather
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Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.