“We’re almost going home!”
“Psst! We’re going home!”
“Just a few more days!”
That’s what Lauri Ann keeps reminding me as I wake up every morning. All I can think about was just how awesome Star Wars was. Suffice it to say, I am pretty excited that I get to be home with my family for the holidays. It’s tough being away when you’re trying to climb the proverbial ladder of success, so to speak.
The predicament I always seem to have when I’m back home though, is trying to stay on track with my nutrition. Call me bias, but I think Saipan makes the best food (Hawaii would be second on my list), so it’s pretty obvious as to why I have such a difficult time staying on track. The food is just too damn good!
With 2015 coming to a close, the vast majority are getting ready to hop on the “get fit” wagon in hopes of becoming a better version of themselves. They’re all probably going to start “eating clean” and cut back on carbohydrate rich foods such as rice and bread, in an attempt to start strong on their new year’s resolution.
Let me make this clear: Carbohydrates are not inherently fattening. *Gasp*
You heard me… carbs are not fattening.
Much like fat back in the early 90’s (when I was still in diapers), carbs are being demonized for the cause of weight gain. People who are looking to get lean are quick to dismiss certain foods that are high in carbs. While it has been shown that a reduction in carbohydrates are extremely beneficial for fat loss (topic for another day), it’s not the real cause of why we’re failing miserably to get the body we want.
Get Your Protein, You Must
In reality, many of us don’t get enough protein in our diet. Funny thing, before I started to meticulously track my clients macronutrient intake, they weren’t getting enough protein either. Earlier this month, I came across an article online on protein intake and why we necessarily don’t need that much. Interestingly enough, the author stated that we only need 40-60g of protein. All I could do was scratch my head at such misleading information — don’t believe everything you read, folks.
Without a doubt, the most important macronutrient for fat loss and improving body composition is, protein. People don’t realize that it does such a good job at increasing your metabolism and limiting hunger. It’s damn near impossible to find a fit person who doesn’t consume a moderate to high protein diet. If you’re adamant on living a sedentary lifestyle then yes, a minimal intake will suffice. However, that minimalistic approach just won’t do, when your goal is to get lean.
Strength training is catabolic (breakdown), so when you’re strength training on a consistent basis, you’re increasing the rate of muscle-protein breakdown, with the goal of building more muscle, so eating minimal amounts of protein isn’t going to give your body enough supply to rebuild itself. Hit the gym and get your protein; supply and demand.
It is suggested that athletes or highly active individuals should make it a priority to get in anywhere from 0.68 – 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. If you weigh 160 pounds, your daily protein intake should range from 108 grams to 160 grams. Now just to make things clear, this is purely dependent on your goals and activity level. If you are training to build muscle and/or preserve what you have while losing fat, then you should absolutely make it a priority to consume a high amount. With most of my clients, I’ve found a gram per pound to be just right. The only time I’ll increase their protein intake above that mark is if I reduce their daily calories.
Obviously, the take home message here is to eat protein in every meal and combine nutrient-dense vegetables with sources of protein and fats such as meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy for sustainable fat loss and improvements in body composition.
And as always, don’t forget to continually get stronger in the gym.