Over the last few weeks we have seen quite a large audience of people talking about supplements.They do say that 3 things in life gets large amounts of people debating and nutrition is certainly one of the three-politics and religion being the other 2.A couple of weeks ago I gave you the top 5 common mistakes people are making in and around the gym 

The last few articles I have broken down a few of the 5 points in the above article.In point number 5 I delved into supplements and basically talked about people going down this route before they have the basics nailed down with their nutrition.Time and time again I see people going down the route of buying certain supplements with the hope it can help them drop a little more body fat, improve their performance in the gym and aid their chances of losing weight.From working in the industry the last 10 years I can safely say that yes some supplements do have a place for certain individuals but they should only be looked at once you have the basics covered when it comes to your nutrition and other lifestyle factors.

For a lot of us supplements can be quite overwhelming and perhaps its an avenue we really have little to no knowledge on and I generally find that most people follow the trend when it comes to going with certain supplements.So today I am only going to focus on protein and to be honest if you are new to taking supplements this is a good starting point to look at.In this article I will highlight basic info on what is it, why and when you should use it,how to use it best and give you some other useful options and brands to look out for.

Let me point out by mentioning I am not a nutritionist,dietitian or affiliated with any supplement store or brand but what I am covering is basic and honest information that I have used myself and with certain clients over the last 10 years of working in the industry.

What is Protein and why do we need it?

Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass.Every individual needs muscle mass in their body for sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The term muscle can sometimes scare people away from protein but the truth is that you need muscle just like you need a certain amount of bodyfat in your body to for fighting off colds,flus and viruses. Protein is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes. There are three macronutrients: protein, fats and carbohydrates.The body requires large amounts of macronutrients to sustain life,exercise,train,recover and overall for living a well balance healthy lifestyle.

How much Protein do we need?

This really varies for each individual.It really all depends on gender,age,goal,activity level.A low level of daily protein intake ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight right upto 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes.Over the years of working with all kinds of individuals over the years I would regard the average person needs most to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.However if you are an active individual looking to improve performance,aid recovery,increase your strength well then you need to be working a lot higher than 0.8 grams.

Couple of examples here would be

Active 80kg male that trains 3-4 times per week and is looking to recover a little bit better in between workouts and overall looking to stay on top of his sessions needs to be getting in at least 150g-200g of protein per day.If he finds during the day he can’t find enough time to be squeezing 20-40g of real food per meal/snack he then could look at incorparating a protein shake or two into his daily regime.A protein shake with 1-2 scoops can generally cover 30-40g

80kg male that doesn’t really train too often,jumps on the bike to work and plays tag rugby once a week might night need as much protein as example above.In my opinion he still needs a good daily allowance and would ideally be aiming for this individual to be looking to hit at least 80-120g of protein per day.The same applies as the example above.The first port of call should be to try get your daily protein from real food sources but the shake here can be a good convenience into your day.

When do you eat protein?

A good rule of thumb is to have 20-40 grams of protein within each balanced meal spaced out through the day.Ideally you should be shooting for at least 3/4 meals a day(This includes breakfast,lunch,snack,dinner)This could be something simple as eggs in the morning,a tuna or chicken salad at lunch or even a turkey breast or two for dinner.Of course the best option first is to be eating real food and getting sufficent amounts of protein from food first but a lot of the time we don’t have the time to be cooking up food 3/4 times a day and we need to find far more easy and convenient ways of keeping our protein levels topped up during our day.An easy approach here is looking at a basic protein supplement.Whey,casein,pea or hemp based are certain paths people can go down.Personally whey is what works best for me and would generally use a very simple whey based supplement.Whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids and is low in lactose content.There are three primary types of whey protein : whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), and whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) The reason I use whey is beacuse I can tolerate it firstly as a supplment to my diet,aids with my training and recovery and overall is convenient for me to have on days I know I am quite busy and dont have the time to be always cooking my food.It is perhaps when I am on the road,first thing in the morning,after a training session or even can make it a good snack idea in between meals.First thing in the morning I would pop a scoop of whey into my morning smoothie or morning oats to set me up for the day.Not only is this saving me some time but overall its quite easy to stomach for me.Along with that after a tough training session I find it handy to have a protein shake in my bag after my session.The brands I have used over the years and have worked well for myself and my clients are Kinetica  and Optimum nutrition

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Above is a basic example of how I sometimes start my morning smoothie putting together a well balanced shake of some fruit,veg(carbs),nut butter(healthy fat) along with a basic whey vanilla flavor protein scoop from Kinetica. Out of all the supplements out there protein is certainly one of the first options I would look at.For some reason it can get a bad rep but I really have had no issue with the protein supplements I mention above I have used over the years.Okay a certain client may not be able to tolerate whey and may need to look at pea or hemp based proteins but that’s really the only obstacle I have come across with regards to protein.At the end of the day we all need a certain level of protein in our daily allowance.If you struggle to find time or you find you just cant get in certain solids into you at certain times of the day then looking at a simple protein shake is something that really can help you out.Over the years of encouraging clients of looking at bringing shakes into their diet I have seen positive outcomes like improved muscle tone,decreased sugar binges,better performance when it comes to their training and overall I feel it has helped a lot of their fitness goals.

The bottom line here is that if you are totally unsure about what you should do I would simply go source someone that knows what they are talking about and will help you out with your goal.This could be a trainer,sports nutritionist,or even dietitian.Plenty of these guys can help you out on what path to choose first and break down the step by step approach you need in order to get after your goals.

I hope you’ve found this information useful and if you need any more advice you can pop me a direct message from the links below.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.


One thought on “Protein

  1. Interesting blog post overall, although I found that I don’t even need 170-200 g of protein per day, but 150 grams is enough. I am 5’11 and 175 pounds fairly lean.
    I might try going a bit higher in my protein consumption to see if I get some better results. Thank you for your post!


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