How Protein can help you lose fat and gain lean muscle

By July 18, 2023No Comments

Today, we will talk about the importance of protein in your diet and how it can help you with fat loss, building muscle, and feeling more satisfied. So there are many myths about how much protein you should consume daily. What I’m going to talk about is, in our opinion, what we’ve seen over the last 15 years of training clients; we’ve personally, I have tried almost every single diet that you can think of. And I went to the extreme of even taking blood labs during these diets and testing out different hormone levels; I would journal and reflect on how I felt about my progress in the gym, my sleep, everything that I could think of. And we found that for most people, including myself, higher protein diets worked well whether your goal was for fat loss or building muscle fibres doesn’t have to be huge muscles if that’s not your goal, but it does also work. If you’re trying to look like the rock or Arnold. Keep in mind it’s tough to do. And I’ve been trying to do that myself for over a decade in bodybuilding. So if you’re worried about putting on bulky muscle, it’s not as easy as you would think.


So why am I talking about protein? It’s a commonly asked question amongst lots of our clients. And initially, once our clients start tracking how much protein they’re taking, in how much carbs and how much fat, they realize that they’ve been not focusing on the protein too much and more gravitating towards carbs and fat before starting a program with us. And when reflecting on the protein, the protein numbers are really low. So lots of people, when they come to us, no matter what their goal is, yet to optimize their posture, have more lean muscle, and lower body fat percentages, typically on average. And when we increased the amount of protein, our clients were taking, and didn’t even change the calories. I will talk about calories here, but I don’t particularly appreciate counting calories. Okay, so typically, if you’re talking to a professional, they might be talking about macronutrients; they won’t necessarily talk about the calories. But what we do, and if you want to know for yourself as well, is start logging everything you’re putting into your body; you can use it; we have our app. But another free app is my fitness pal; there are many different apps that you can track what you’re eating; I would eat. However, I normally eat for about a week, then reflect on average how much protein I consume every day, carbs, fat, and calories. Let’s say the average calories you consume is 3000 calories a day; let’s just use a random number. And you notice that your protein intake is maybe 15% of your diet, and the carbs and fat make up the rest of your diet by not even modifying the number of calories because most people will enter a calorie deficit to lose weight.


Losing weight is different than losing fat. Almost anybody can lose weight rapidly. However, when you’re losing weight, you’re also losing muscle if not done properly, and even done properly. It’s hard to lose body fat and maintain or grow muscle. So usually, what people make a mistake is they’re like, I want to lose some weight, I want to get leaner, they instantly start counting calories, and then they enter a calorie deficit before you even attempt a calorie deficit. And typically, we don’t do that with our clients. We do it through movement once you figure out your metabolism again. Let’s say it’s 3000 calories a day. Then, you notice Yeah, your protein intake is about 15% of your total daily calorie intake. Try playing around with that number; bump it up a little bit. On average, what I’ve seen over the last decade with people is their protein intake, and again, keep in mind everybody’s different. So experiment for yourself, the journal reflects; the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. So if the average person’s protein intake is around 30 to 35% of their daily calorie intake. Typically, without even changing, let’s say again, 3000 calories you have over here, you change The ratio from 15% to, let’s say, all the way up to 35% is now your protein intake. The carb percentage and fat percentage are going to be modified lower. Just from doing that and resistance training, we’ve noticed that many people start changing the body fat ratio and putting on a little bit more lean muscle mass. And when you have more lean muscle mass, naturally, your body fat percentage changes. And if you ever noticed that you feel warmer when you have a higher protein meal, that’s because it takes a lot of energy to break apart the protein into essential amino acids and fuels your body. So just changing the amount of protein takes increasing the amount of protein, sorry, creates this environment where even your body temperature will be rising a little bit more throughout the day because you’re going to try to fit in a lot more protein throughout the day, and you’re going to burn up more calories. And when you’re resistance training, your body loves to consume protein to help repair the muscles that you damage. Because as you’re doing resistance training, you’re tearing apart the muscle fibres. And when you’re resting and recovering, they’re replenishing. And they’re trying to grow stronger to survive the next workout. So, again, lots of people are like, Okay, well, can I consume? I can’t consume that much protein; I read that you can only consume 20 grams in a sitting; I would say yes, based on peer-reviewed articles and studies out there that will say in an optimal window of time, more fragrant, smaller protein meals would be better. However, we don’t live in the perfect world, and we’re not retired, we don’t have an abundance of time, and we don’t have a chef with us. Your body will utilize what it needs to utilize. So if you have a bigger portion of protein, let’s say in the morning, you wake up, you have, let’s say, 40 grams of protein, 20 of it is not going to be just last. Because of that magic number that somebody put on the internet that says you can only consume 20 grams at a time, your body will utilize what it needs to utilize at the end of every day. So let’s say your goal for the day, again, we’re going to pick a random number, is 150 grams of protein. As long as you get to that 150 grams of protein. It’s far more beneficial to stay consistent every day versus trying to play at perfect and having 20 grams as soon as you wake up a couple of hours later, another 20 grams, a couple of hours, another 20 grams, another 20 grams. Then you got a little bit busy. And then you only consumed maybe 110 grams, and they’re daily and input. And your goal, again, is 150. So I would say the best way is to do what works for you.


There are so many different easy ways to get protein. Obviously, through real food works best. However, experiment with protein shakes if you can’t get it all through real food right then and there. I typically like a protein isolette. I’ll have that after a workout and even have it for breakfast because my protein intake is quite high for my personal goals. So there are little tricks throughout the day, then, again, some meals are easier to digest, such as I might have a protein shake in the morning super easy to digest, then I’ll have some Greek yogurt, and maybe some oats and some honey. So in Greek yogurt, there’s also a decent amount of protein. You don’t have to eat exactly what I’m eating; I’m just sharing examples of easier food items that you can quickly get into the body without feeling so full because you will feel full when you have higher protein. And typically, when you have a more aggressive higher protein intake throughout the day, you won’t have those sugar cravings as much. So you’ll find that naturally, the carbs and fat you normally consume in a day will decrease when you increase your protein because you’re going to feel satisfied for a lot longer. And when you’re making your meals or ordering them, whatever you’re doing. Try to eat the protein first because you might be full versus, let’s say, you’re having rice and broccoli or a big salad, and you eat all that first. And then you’re almost already complete. And you still need to get to the protein source. I’m not saying ignore the other things. If you’re trying to increase your protein goals, try consuming the protein first and still have the other items, and then it will be more manageable over time. And when you find your new protein goals, again, let’s say typically, on average, you used to be 70 grams of protein a day, and your new goal is around 150 grams. Tomorrow, you’re not probably; you’re probably not going to be able to hit 150, but you’re going to try. And if you fail, it’s okay, I think, a baby step, because we baby steps every day, try to do a little bit better, a little bit more protein, a little bit more protein. Over the coming weeks, you’ll find that it’s easier to be a little bit consistent; you’re going to play around, and you’re going to be curious about the foods that you’re putting in your body as you’re learning what has protein in it. And you’re going to find that, okay, and now, let’s say a week, 170 grams of protein, week two, at week three, you’re at 95. And you keep getting higher and higher and having these wins. And then, eventually, you’re at your goal of 150 grams of protein a day. And again, keep a number of these in mind, and these numbers are all random. So don’t just write down the numbers I’m stating here; I’m just using it as random.


What other things are commonly asked for protein? So lots of most of it’s when is the most optimal time. Again, we already mentioned this; there are optimal windows of time; you can argue that it is more beneficial to get the protein in. But again, when you’re starting, the main thing, try to be consistent. So if you wake up, have a coffee, and try to have a source of protein with it. And then throughout the day, as you look at different food options. Think about okay? I’m trying to have protein, so if I order or go to a restaurant, I look at food items with protein and higher protein content. If you’re not sure, again, you can use free apps such as my fitness pal, as I mentioned before, and if it’s a chain restaurant that you’re ordering from, typically you can look up any menu item on there, and it will tell you the protein, carbs and fat breakdown. If it’s a mom-and-pop restaurant, it might not have it. However, you can guesstimate. So if you had a mom-and-pop restaurant, and they have this big burger, 12 ounces, whatever it is, search 12-ounce burgers, and again, a free application and see what the average is for that based on what you’re going to eat at this mom and pop shop. And then, at least, you have a rough guesstimate versus not knowing. If you have any other questions regarding protein, muscle building fat loss, leave a comment below. Again, the average person coming to us is typically to improve posture, relieve past injuries that they’ve had, and typically lower body fat. And the trend, I’ll recap, is to have a higher protein intake than what they were having before. Few people like me have a high protein intake unless they are already athletes and know how protein can help them. Again, I want you to test and measure like anything else in life.


Once you find out the new protein goals that you would like to have and why you are thinking about okay, I will start journaling and reflecting. So you’re probably going to journal in an application log in the food you’re taking so that you hit your protein goals, your carb goals, your goals; you’re also going to journal and reflect on being in a diary or notes in your phone. How did you feel your workouts go every single day? How did you feel your sleep went? Everything that you can think of makes you a little more energetic today. Are you feeling lethargic? How are your bowel movements? Test all that out for a couple of weeks and look at the data. Like, is this serving me or not? And then with that data, you can manipulate, okay, it’s not working, let’s try something else. If it’s working, excellent. Keep going with it till it’s not working anymore. And if you need more clarification and want to ask a professional again, reach out to dieticians, your natural paths; you can reach out to many trainers who have their nutrition licenses as well.


Author TurnFit

TurnFit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day. With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver for the 5th year in a row. Every trainer at TurnFit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life. We look forward to hearing from you! -David Turnbull

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