5 Tips for Eating More Protein

Since starting the gym this time last year, my biggest challenge (apart from all those heavy weights) has been my diet. I’ve never restricted myself, I’ve always been one of those people that eats everything. Now I work out this isn’t really that different except I follow more of an 80:20 rule – that is, eat 80% healthy balanced stuff, 20% treats. I more or less stick to this, maybe on weekends those treats go up to 40% but hey we’re all human.

My main change has been about what I eat though, and with my strength training there’s a real requirement to eat more protein to help heal and build my muscles. I’m aiming for just under double my body weight in grams, so between 80-100g a day. It’s a pretty big ask but I’ve found a few things that help me that I thought would be good to share.

1. Get a good breakfast

Eggs are everything. A large egg has around 7g of protein, scramble two of those on some toast with a handful of mushrooms and or spinach and you’re 14g down and off to a great start to the day.

2. Make ahead snacks

Your body can only digest and use 30g or so of protein in one serving. Snacks are a great way to keep getting that protein in small amounts throughout the day and here’s some of my favourites:

  • Chicken drumsticks (~13g per drummer)
  • Beef jerky (~20g per pack)
  • Cottage cheese and crudités (~10g per 100g)
  • Peanut butter and apple (~8g/2tbsp peanut butter)
  • Crispy chickpeas (~7g/handful)

3. Lentils, beans chickpeas are your friends

Meat is expensive, not great for the planet and can contain bad fats and other nasties. Plus let’s face it, it gets boring after a while. Varying your protein sources stops boredom and keeps things fresh. Lentils are hella cheap and delicious (hello, lentil curry) and chickpeas you can add to virtually anything. Beans are so versatile, they can add extra bulk to lots of things, or even be a replacement for mash. Stock up on these cupboard essentials and you’ll always have a cheap, protein rich meal to hand.

4. Don’t forget fibre

Your body needs fibre to help you process the protein so don’t be afraid of including brown carbs and plenty of fruit and veg. Basically, don’t ignore the other food groups!

5. Sometimes you have to have shakes

A high protein diet shouldn’t be ALL protein shakes but if you’re trying to meet 100g a day, they become a bit of a necessity. Protein cereal bars (I like Eat Natural) are also good to keep on hand if you get in a bind. Overall though, you should try and get as much from natural food sources as possible, as you need the other nutrients.

Are you eating a high protein diet? Let me know if you found this useful!

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Going From Slim to Swole

So, as none of you will really know, I’ve been on a bit of a fitness journey for the last couple of months. It’s been a bit stop-start due to a rib injury (long story short: don’t let your big handed boyfriend pick you up under the ribs). Now I’m back on the horse, I want to share this journey on my blog. My story is a bit different to the usual fitness, clean living or weight loss stories we see so often (though there’s nothing wrong with those). I want to be BIGGER.

People have joked to watch out for a breeze or I might blow away. There’s never been anything on me in terms of muscle, and a (free, albeit huge advertising gimmick from a local gym) body composition test in my last job told me that my muscle mass was incredibly low for my body weight and size (I was less than 17% muscle).

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever done a body composition test, but those things are UPSETTING. They look inside your body and tell you everything that is wrong with it. It told me a bunch of scary stuff like my visceral fat (the internal fat between your organs) and my body fat. Oh and also that my right leg was heavier than my left (who knew?). I came home and did what any rational person would do. Cry about it.

Tears subsided, I decided the best course of action was to change it, and join the gym. Stop crying over pieces of paper and get strong instead. Before this happened, I’d been doing Pilates once a week and the occasional Zumba class. Enough to give me some energy but not anything that would make me strong. I didn’t know where to start, so I got a PT.

If you’re new to exercising like I am, I really recommend getting a PT. The knowledge she gives me is invaluable. We go through 4-6 different exercises in one hour and once I’ve done anything once, I can repeat without her. And exercising with someone is FUN. I look forward to my sessions and it keeps my gym routine different because I always have something new to do.

I’ve had 6 weeks off with the broken rib but returned to training this week and I’m so excited to get back into it. And y’know what? I’ve completely stopped worrying about the body composition thing. Seeing my body change and the gains I’m making is motivation enough, and I’m coming from a really positive place – working out because I love my body not because I hate it.

Are you training right now? What keeps you motivated?

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