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    Should You Take Protein Powder?

    top performance protein powder and nutrition advice

    Protein powder is probably the most popular supplement amongst gym goers. There seems to be a lot of misconception about protein so let's look at the basics.

    I talk a lot about the importance of building and maintaining muscle and to do this the body needs protein. You can get protein from food sources such as lean meats, nuts and eggs. So if that's the case why do we need protein powder? The fact of the matter is most people do not consume enough protein. This is very common amongst new clients I get. Protein is not only needed to build new muscle, it is also required to help repair the damage to the muscles after a weight training session therefore emphasising the importance of consuming enough protein.

    If someone is unable to eat enough protein via their food intake adding protein powder can be a way of getting the extra protein. For the majority of people supplementing your diet with one or scoops of protein powder per day will allow them to eat their daily requirement of protein quite easily providing they are making a conscious effort to increase protein consumption through their diet.

    If you are able to consume enough protein through your diet you may not need to supplement with  protein. As a really basic way to get started you should be consuming AT LEAST 1g of protein per kg of body weight. If you are unable to consume that amount of protein via your diet I would personally recommend a protein supplement.

    Another important reason to consume enough protein is if you are on a caloric deficit protein tends to make you feel fuller for a longer period of time which is key for hunger cravings. It's important to understand that you do not need a protein supplement to build muscle you just need enough protein within your diet because the marketing behind protein supplements encourages high usage of their products and could even potentially lead someone to believe muscle can't be built without it. There are plenty of people with great physiques who do not take protein, you only have to look at some of the callisthenics athletes a lot of whom do not supplement with protein.

    Protein is also not a steroid. I'd like to this most if not everyone reading this is aware of this but I just wanted to make sure we cover all basis. You can buy protein just about anywhere these days if we're a steroid I don't think it would be readily available on Tesco shelves. I personally use protein most days as my current protein intake is quite high and I find it hard to eat my daily amount just through food.

    If you would like any help on calculating your protein requirements contact me.


    Calorie tracking

    Should you track your calories? In my opinion everyone working towards a specific goal should have some method of tracking their food intake and making sure they are getting enough or not over indulging in their macro nutrient targets.

    Macro nutrients are protein, carbohydrate and fats.These make up your overall calories. Most of the more popular weight loss programmes on the market have some method of counting calories such as awarding points to certain foods and giving the individual a points target to hit each day. While this is fine for losing weight most people especially the people I work with are more concerned with dropping body fat as opposed to overall weight and this is where I personally feel that tracking macros as opposed to calories is a better method. A point scoring system is not focusing on how much of each macro nutrient the individual is getting and this can be quite bad for long term weight and more specifically fat loss.

    I cannot stress the importance of getting enough protein when trying to drop body fat. Too many programmes out there fail to address this which is why I have all my clients track their calories for at least the first 3-4 weeks of working with me. I understand this method is not for everyone and I am certainly not saying everyone needs to track calories everyday. I think once you have done it for a few weeks if you are confident enough to have a general understanding of how much you are eating then maybe you can stop tracking. In my experience the clients who track their calories long term generally make the fastest results. Furthermore, I believe the benefits of tracking by far out weigh the negatives. It will allow you to be able to include some of your favourite foods while staying on track with your goals, makes it a lot easier to adjust the calories when progress stops or goals change and adds extra accountability when you can see how much you have eaten.

    Calorie tracking doesn't have to just be for when you are trying to drop body fat either. Many of the men I meet trying to add some muscle mass eat a lot less than they think they are and only realise this when they start to track their calories.

    You can track your calories/macros using online apps such as my fitness pal. Its very simple to use and the database has pretty much any foods you can think of. Why not download it and track your calories for a few days. You may learn quite a lot about your current diet.