Protein is obviously needed for muscle repair and growth, maintenance of the organs and to keep the immune system functioning properly. The human body can’t store protein like it can with carbs, so we have to obtain it from our food.
The amount of protein per day varies between the individual: on average the human body needs 0.8g protein, but in the case of intense training ie 2 hours per day, you can go up to 2g (even more, but that’s a crapload of protein to consume)
For women, the most they can generally consume is about 120g and for men, a bit higher say 140-150g. If you’re aiming to eat more than that, you consciously have to have high protein sources such as chicken, eggs, fish/tuna, with every meal, plus protein shakes with a minimum of 20g protein per serve. Two protein shakes per day is fine short term, but long term, this is not good for kidney function, as it puts pressure on the kidneys.
One of the main problems with increasing protein in the diet, is it can then in turn slow bowel function down, which in turn slows metabolism and energy down. Fibre with every meal and snack is a good habit to get into.
The major lean protein sources that you want to be including in your diet, plus the approximate protein content are listed below:
- Eggs = 6g
- 2 x scrambled eggs with 2 2 tbsp cottage cheese = 14g
- Chicken breast per 100g =33g
- Lean beef per 100g = 28g
- Small tin of tuna 70g =16g
- Turkey breast per 100g =35g
- Chicken mince per 100g =20g
- Turkey mince per 100g = 18g
- Salmon per 100g =19g
- Oysters per dozen =11g
- Bacon (middle cut) grilled and fat removed =36g
- Beef fillet per 100g =25g
- Mince, lean, per 100g =20.9g
Veggie proteins are still a great source of protein, plus less inflammation is involved in the body by consuming this type of protein.
- almonds 25g =6g
- cashews 25g =4.6g
- peanut butter 20g =4.7g
- chia seeds 15g =3.3g
- oats per 50 g =6.4g
- Cottage cheese per 100g =10g
- Greek yogurt per 100g =10g
- Milk, 250 mls =8g
- Almond milk = 1.4g
- Lentils per cup =18g
- Quinoa =8g
So ideally for the sake of the intensity challenge, you want to be consuming a high protein source with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Normal protein sizes at meals should be the size of your palm which is 150g; for the sake of the challenge up to 200g is OK (then reduce protein portion sizes after the challenge)
If you were to eat in a day:
-2 x eggs plus cottage cheese for breakfast
-nuts for morning tea
-Tuna and quinoa salad for lunch
-Chicken and lentils and vegies for dinner
This comes in at approximately 104 g protein for the day, which is why sometimes protein shakes for the sake of the challenge help out, plus boosting your protein content where possible with extra nuts, LSA in your shakes, chia seeds in your yogurt for example.
Veggie proteins are a great way to top up your protein content, plus increasing your fibre intake, reducing the chance of constipation and fibre makes you feel fuller for longer.
Snacks should ideally be protein based too whether it be with nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, protein balls, Carmens protein bars or other protein bars.
Times of protein should ideally be spaced 3 hours apart. Ie breakfast at 7, snack at 10, lunch at 1, afternoon snack at 3-4, then dinner at around 7. For the nights that you are training I would try and have dinner earlier (only if possible) so then you only need a snack after training. If you cant do that, make sure you have a decent protein plus carb snack around 3 or 4 to keep you fuelled for training. Then a very light dinner after training such as scrambled eggs.
For optimum muscle repair and building you ideally want to have protein straight after training within 20 minutes preferably….however it is still building and repairing 2 hours later. You also want a small amount of carbs with this protein to help carry the protein and provide muscle growth. Carbs (the right type) provide proper fuel for training and prevent the body from breaking down protein.