Day 37 – 39 (10th – 12th June): Protein – What is it & Why do we Need it?

My last blog outlined the difference between essential supplements and non-essential supplements. Now I’d like to share with you the importance of one of those supplements and macronutrients – protein.

Protein – why is it essential in our diet?
First you need to understand that proteins are made of a long chain of amino acids. Think of amino acids as the building blocks of life. They are critical for nearly every metabolic activity in our body, as well as the structure and function of every cell. Without adequate intake, our bodies wouldn’t function very well at all!

There are two types of amino acids – essential amino acids that our body cannot make (and therefore we need to consume them in our diet), and nonessential amino acids (those that the body can make itself).

Without getting too technical, here are a few points to note about protein

* Amino acids are lost every day and must be replaced from outside of the body – hence maintaining an adequate intake of essential amino acids
* Consuming protein can increase levels of the hormone glucagon (which helps to control body fat). Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels drop and this causes the liver to breakdown stored glycogen into glucose for the body
* Post workout nutrition should include whole protein where possible, or in the least a protein supplement if you can’t stomach food immediately after a session, to decrease protein breakdown and increase the synthesis of protein (in other words – to rebuild and recover). After resistance training, the body is synthesizing protein for up to 48 hours, but for a short time after the session, the body is breaking down protein at a rate faster than it is building it – hence the importance of post workout nutrition!
* Protein uses the most energy to digest – around 20-30% of the calories in protein go to simply digesting it! Ie if you eat 200 calories from protein, your body uses 40-60 of those calories to digest and absorb it! Interesting huh?!

How much do we need?
The recommended minimum protein intake for a sedentary individual (sedentary meaning not very active) is 0.8g of protein/kg of body mass. This amount simply accounts for protein turnover (the minimum amount required for functioning, or to prevent deficiency), and during periods of training, protein needs can increase to 1.4-2g/kg of body mass

For example, for a 70kg individual this would mean 56g of protein…and what does 56g of protein look like?

A chicken breast would be around 25-30g

A scoop of whey protein powder would be between 20-30g

A tin a tuna in spring water would yield 16g

A hard boiled egg (large) would yield around 6g

 

 

Want to know more? Check out this article

Dietary record for day 37:
Breakfast: 2 rashers bacon, 2 fried eggs, sautéed kale, 1/4 avocado, long black with 1 teaspoon cream

Snacks: apple & cinnamon protein slice (recipe below), protein shake (1 scoop protein & 1 cup water), 1 cup grapes, 1 x long black with cream, 1 x chai tea with soy milk and honey

Lunch: Leftover chicken parmigiana (2 x mini serves) with broccoli

Dinner: Slow cooked lamb madras (2 cutlets, with veg – mushrooms, onion, potato), with 2.5 x cauliflower tortillas (pikelet size) – AMAZING served alongside a curry and so easy to make!

Dessert – cauliflower tortilla with rice malt syrup – they don’t taste like cauliflower at all!

Training:
6am Interval training session: 6 x 1km repeats (first 3 repeats at current half marathon pace, second 3 at goal half marathon pace)

 

Apple & Cinnamon Protein Slice

Apple & Cinnamon Protein Slice

 

This tastes like an apple crumble but the great news is… it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein so you can eat it anytime! Super easy to make and kid friendly!

Recipe: Mix 2 egg whites with 1/2 cup apple sauce (I just stewed 2 diced apples and blended half).In a separate bow mix 5 scoops of vanilla whey protein with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup oats, and 2 cups of nut meal (blended nuts – I used walnuts, hazelnuts and peanuts). Stir in the wet mixture and lastly, fold through the rest of the stewed apple. Bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 min, cool and cut into muesli bar sized slices or 16 smaller portions as above (they are very dense and quite filling). Freeze and wrap in portions for an easy to grab snack!

 Dietary record for day 38:
Breakfast: Protein shake (1 scoop protein, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1/3 cup coconut cream, 2/3 cup water, 1 teaspoon cacao powder), 2 x omega 3 caps

Lunch: (post workout) 2 slices quinoa toast with scrambled eggs, long black with cream

Snacks: slice nut/seed loaf, apple & cinnamon protein slice, long black with teaspoon honey and cream, slice homemade choc bark (recipe shared next blog!)

Dinner (post workout) Entree – paprika chicken wing x 1 on1/2 cup steamed rice
Chilli con carne (beef mince, tin tomatoes, chilli con carne spice mix, 4 bean mix, spinach, small portion grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon sour cream)

Dessert: 1 slice homemade choc bark

Training: (BIG DAY)
Strength session (superset of DB bench with lat pulldown & leg press with prone hamstring curl) – 8am
RPM Xpress – 9am
Flex & Stretch – 1pm
Bootcamp (Boxing, kettlebells) – 6pm
Flex & Stretch – 7pm

Dietary record for day 39:
Breakfast: (post workout) polenta toast with mushrooms and scrambled eggs, chai tea with soy milk and honey

Snacks: Roobois tea with milk and honey

Lunch: 2 x bacon, egg, kale & whole egg mayo wrap (chia mountain bread wrap)

Dinner: 2 x Kangaroo kebab with 1 x roast potato, 500ml coconut water

Dessert: 1 x choc coated flax cracker (homemade), 1 x homemade chocolate

 

Training:
RPM – 45 min 6am

 

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