Protein is an absolutely essential part of any healthy diet. Proteins are the building blocks for just about every single part of your body. They help build and maintain your muscles, organs, and cells. Proteins also play a role in enzyme and hormone production. Simply put, protein keeps your body working as it should.
If you are trying to lose weight or build lean muscle and are putting in regular, intense workouts
, protein is a must. Exercise, especially intense exercise, breaks down muscle fibers. In order to repair and build those tissues back up, you need protein. But you need to get the right amounts, at the right times, and in the right way. Here's a list of some common protein mistakes that may be standing between you and your fitness goals:
Not eating protein with every meal or snack.
Most women get the majority of their protein with their evening meal. If you are eating light during the day, and then eating a meat based meal for dinner, you aren't doing your weight loss efforts any favors -- to say nothing of your energy levels. Getting protein throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable and keep you feeling satisfied. Aiming for 20-30 grams of protein per meal will prevent those dreaded energy dips and help stave off your mid-afternoon sprint for the vending machine.
And don't worry about getting 'complete' proteins at every meal. Many plant based sources of protein are missing one or more of the nine essential amino acids, making them 'incomplete.' Don't spend all of your time trying to match incomplete proteins in an effort to round this out. If you are eating a variety of proteins over the course of the day, you are likely already covered. For some tasty variety, try these great protein packed snack ideas
Eating the same protein sources every single day.
As we mentioned above, you need to eat a variety of proteins to ensure you are consuming all essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are called that because they cannot be produced in the body and must come from dietary sources. Variety not only provides your body with access to these aminos but also gives your body access to a wider variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A balanced, well-rounded diet, is a healthy diet. If you need a little help balancing your diet and increasing the variety in your proteins, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan
If your primary source of protein is a bar or shake, you may want to reconsider. Hitting up the juice bar for a shake or smoothie after your workouts may seem like a good idea but they are often loaded with extra sugar. Same goes for most brands of protein bars. Your better bet is to eat whole foods, as close to their natural state as possible. Stick to nuts, seeds, hardboiled eggs, or a serving of Greek yogurt if you need something quick and easy. If you are using protein powder at home, make sure it is a high quality powder using only quality ingredients. If the price is super cheap, you're best to take a pass!
You aren't consuming your post-workout protein with carbs
As mentioned before, protein is an essential part of your workout recovery process. It is protein that will help your muscles bounce back from your workout, bigger and stronger. The amino acids in protein are what does this but it is carbohydrates that transport these amino acids to the cells in your body, promoting muscle growth. This is why lots of people reach for dairy-based protein shakes at the end of their sweat session. It is an ideal mix of protein and carbs!
Don't let these common, and easy to correct, mistakes stand in your way! Are you guilty of any of these protein missteps? Share your story with us!
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