Yesterday, to kick off our 90 Fitness Answers series I addressed a common question that I get which was “How Much Protein Do I Need?“.
After establishing that most people who strength train are looking at somewhere in the 0.8g to 1.0g of protein per pound of lean or goal weight, the next question I get from a lot of people is:
“Holy cow! That’s a lot of protein! How am I going to eat that much?”
That’s a fair question, especially if you’re not used to it.
So here’s some basic strategies to up your protein intake:
1. Eat more frequently/add a snack. If you’re a three-meals-a-day (or less) person, and your target protein ends up being 120g/day or more, you may find that you struggle to cram down 40-50g at each sitting. Honestly, for those of us who’ve been doing it for a while that’s not that big a deal (so it gets better), but at first it can be a challenge. A great way to add some more is to sneak in a high protein snack like turkey roll-ups, Greek yogurt, or something similar. Often you can get in 15-30g in a snack and that’ll take a little pressure off of your big meals. Plus, you’ll feel a little less hungry during the day, so when meal time comes around it’s easier to make good decisions.
2. Make sure you get your Pre/Post-workout meals in. It’s important to go over eating around your workout so your body has the nutrients it needs to start the repair process. We’ll go into that in more depth later, but some protein before and after will add to the count, give your body what it needs, and sneak in an extra “meal”.
3. Use a liquid protein. You don’t need to spend your life chugging down protein shakes, like the supplement companies would like you to, but they are a handy supplement. Plus, liquid is easier to get down than cramming in more food. At Relentless we like 1stPhorm Nutrition (pictured) for both quality and flavor. Plus, since most of these products are powder (just add water or milk), they’re portable and convenient.
Getting in more protein is pretty simple, but the key is to start with small increases. Let’s say you’re eating 80-90g now, which is pretty common, but your goal is 150g. Well, that’s a pretty big increase. So instead of basically doubling your intake, start with just adding 5-10g per meal or add a 15g snack. Do that for a few days and make a little bump. You’ll find that your ability to eat it will increase, you’ll have more energy, be less sore, and start to feel leaner.
Looking for some high-quality, high-protein options when you’re on the run or eating out? Check out the FREE Relentless Strength Restaurant Guide here!