Monday, June 13, 2011

Nutrition Is Everything: Protein

Really it is and there’s no getting around it. If you want to make strides in your health or your physique, your current eating habits are probably not helping the cause.

I'm a believer in first setting your fitness goals - reasons for why you want to modify your eating habits. Is it for general health, to lose body fat, or to gain muscle mass? This should drive your modifications. Once that's determined, slowly incorporate your plan into your lifestyle. Sudden changes to your normal routine will not be sustainable and make your more tempted to cheat or binge. Healthier eating is a lifestyle not a crash diet.

{my 2nd meal of the day is 6 egg whites and 1/4c of oatmeal}

Protein consumption is something that I get asked about often. Below is my take on it and how I've incorporated it to meet my fitness goals. Remember protein intake is only a piece of overall nutrition.

My Goals
1. To increase lean muscle mass
2. Decrease body fat

How Protein Supports My Goals
My caloric intake supports daily function and heavy workouts. Depending which week it is, my protein intake ranges from 175-200g of protein. I eat protein throughout the day. Your body can only absorb so much protein in one sitting. So I constantly fuel it for muscle growth. My first meal post-AM cardio is a protein shake, followed by eggs, then my next two meals include chicken and my last meal is steak. If you're training and especially on heavy lifting days, protein and carb intake 30-45 minutes before and after your workout is recommended. Protein and carbs will help fuel your muscles as well as help with recovery.

{earlier in prep: meals 1, 2, and 3}

How Much Protein?
Rule of thumb for those wanting to gain muscle mass is 1g-2g of protein per kg of body weight. You can incorporate lean protein into your meals by adding in

- 6 oz of chicken or white fish (~28g of protein)
- 1 scoop of whey protein (~25g of protein)
- 1 c black beans (~30g protein)
- 1 egg white (~3g of protein)

Dressing Up Your Protein
Eating protein doesnt' have to be boring or bland, especially if it's chicken or fish. There's a handful of sodium-free spices mixes that I've been coming across at the grocery store that have been making seasoning easier. My new found favorite way of cooking chicken in grilling. Chicken is even juicier than when baked. One of my gym buddies recommended boiling and shredding chicken for salads. Here's 2 meals that you'll frequently see me with on and off season :)

1. Small salad with 4 oz of grilled chicken and onions

{This salad is usually paired with a cup of vegetables or 1/2 avocado.
Onions whether raw or grilled add heathy flavor.}

2. 6oz of grilled chicken with side of asparagus

{2 oz of asparagus is pictured above. Usually a full meal would
be 8-12 stalks of asparagus.}

3. 4 oz of chicken with 1/2 avocado

{Avocado in moderation is a source of "healthy fat" that can be added to your
nutrition plan. I like to use it as the "sauce" or "dressing" to my meals. This is a
common on-the-go snack for me.}

Taking it to go... if you know you're going to be out and about, make sure you pack a lunch box. I drive around the Bay Area to client sites throughout my day, so prepping and packing a cooler is a must.

4. 6 egg whites scrambled

{I even eat eggs in the car while I'm driving. Just bring napkins too}

Here's two articles that I found helpful about protein:

Do you have any tips or recipes for chicken or fish? Or know of other foods that are high in protein?

Happy training,


Liz said...

I love your posts because they break everything down into easy to read (and fun to look at) segments :) So informative!

Nathalie said...

Thanks Liz! I edited the post again so it'd be less jumpy... thanks for reading!

MT said...

I wish I could eat healthy and enjoy it all the time... haha