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One super simple step you can take to improve both health and body composition without setting foot inside a gym is to eat more protein.
First off let’s cover what proteins actually are. Without getting mega sciencey (this isn’t that kind of blog) proteins are molecules made of things called amino acids (this is important later). That’s all well and good, but what do they look like in our day-to-day lives?
Here’s a very delicious-looking picture of some.
Photo credit: Jetfit
We see eggs, red and white meat, fish, milk, cheese, nuts, some grains, and some seeds.
One thing I work with clients on is getting some form of protein eaten at every meal throughout the day. Proteins have some fairly unique properties which make them really handy if you’re looking to change your body composition, potentially reduce/eliminate cravings, or work towards a weight loss goal.
Protein is incredibly filling (if you’ve ever been to one of those meat places where they have the red and green cards you know what I'm talking about). It reduces levels of certain hormones that make you feel hungry (those are a thing) and boosts levels of a peptide that makes you feel full. Due to how they are built at a molecular level, they also physically take longer to digest, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Or potentially in the meat sweats for longer if you’re like me.
Are meat and dairy your only protein options? What if you’re vegetarian or vegan? There are tonnes of protein options that aren’t animal products, however, this is where the aforementioned amino acids come into play. Your body needs certain amino acids that it can’t make for itself, these are called essential amino acids. Meat and dairy proteins each have all of these amino acids, making them what people call complete sources. You get everything you need, from one place.
Plant and non-meat protein sources (unless specifically combined like powders) don’t have all of these amino acids in just one place, so you have to make sure to eat several sources in order to get the complete profile of amino acids. Like assembling Exodia in Yu-Gi-Oh, except for getting jacked.
Speaking of getting jacked, if you are participating in exercise you’ll want to make sure and have adequate protein intake so that your muscles can recover between bouts of exercise. Different forms of exercise have different demands on muscles, resistance training for example places a much higher demand on muscles than running. Your muscles need those amino acids to repair after exercise, however, if you aren’t providing them through diet, your body will break down other less used muscles for the parts it needs.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to start getting some more protein into your daily diet. If not, maybe we should chat about it? Hit me up @atsapproved on all social media, or down in the comments.