If you want to build your perfect body, it all starts with nutrition, and more specifically, getting enough protein.
The biggest misconception about protein is that it’s only for bodybuilders. While it is essential for building muscle, it’s also important for everyone to get enough protein in their diet – whether you’re trying to look like Arnold or not.
Read on to learn more about how protein helps you hit your aesthetic goals.
Protein and Satiety
The first thing to understand is the link between protein and satiety.
Satiety is the technical term for feeling full. When you’re sated, it means your appetite is filled and you no longer feel the need to eat anymore.
Protein increases satiety more so than carbohydrates or fats. If you eat the same amount of calories in protein, carbs, or fats, you’ll feel full faster with protein than the other two.
How Satiety Plays a Role in Body Composition
Satiety is pretty important if you want to build your dream body.
Let’s say weight loss is your goal. A clear way to lose weight is to simply eat less.
Eating less is a lot easier if you feel full quicker. You’ll be less likely to break your diet by snacking between meals and more likely to be satisfied with a smaller meal.
In comparison, low-protein meals leave you wanting more. You crave more calories, carbohydrates or fats, and eat far too much.
It’s also worth mentioning, however, that if your goal is to gain weight, you should also think about how protein affects your satiety. In this case, you don’t want to avoid protein, but you could think about saving it for the end of your meal so you have the appetite to get enough calories overall.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Each Day?
The ideal protein intake depends on various factors, most notably your body type and activity level.
For a sedentary person who doesn’t exercise much, if any, the recommended daily intake is 0.8 grams per kg of body weight.
For a 150 lbs (68 kg) person, this means they should aim for 54 grams of protein per day.
The more active you are, the more protein you should aim for, especially if you want to build muscle.
How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Fat?
The ideal calorie intake also depends on a lot of factors.
This number is even more reliant on your activity level. To lose weight, you essentially need to burn more calories than you eat.
That means the ideal number of calories per day will be vastly different for someone who sits in an office all day and doesn’t work out, compared to someone who works in physical labor and works out or plays sports.
Use a TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculator to figure out roughly how many calories you burn and keep your calorie intake lower than this.
Eating a higher proportion of protein vs. other macros will help with keeping calories down, allowing you to feel full faster and thus cut down your overall calorie intake.
What If I’m Too Busy to Make High-Protein Meals?
Many of us know the value of protein, but we have too much going on each day to sit down and prepare high-protein meals.
That’s fine – you don’t have to abandon your nutritional goals because you’re too busy. You just need to get a little creative in getting enough protein into your diet.
Carry high-protein snacks
Snacks can throw off your nutrition, or they can take it to the next level.
If you’re busy, the convenience of snacks can benefit you. By carrying snacks that are nutritious and high in protein, you can increase your overall protein intake and reach your goals more consistently.
Jerky, trail mix, greek yogurt, and nuts are a few convenient and portable snacks that are high in protein, and low in other macros.
Take a morning and evening shake
Protein shakes are another convenient and easy way to get more protein, no matter your schedule.
By taking a morning and evening protein shake, you can get a lot more protein in your diet, without spending hours on meal prep. A natural, plant-based mixture like this lemon blueberry protein powder from Naked Nutrition is perfect for ensuring you start and finish your day with the right nutrition.
How to Track Your Protein Intake
You’ll want to track how much protein you get each day to ensure you hit your goals. You may want to use an app for this, such as MyFitnessPal or MyPlate Calorie Counter by Livestrong.
Alternatively, you could do it manually by noting down your protein consumption in a notepad.
You’ll want to match it against your body weight, as we mentioned earlier. Take 0.8 grams per kg as a baseline, but increase this if you’re active during the day, and you want to gain muscle.
Even if you just want to slim down, getting more protein than the average will be beneficial, making you feel full quicker and helping you eat fewer calories overall.
Whatever your fitness goals and ideal body composition, don’t ignore the value of getting enough protein.