Most Common Mistakes - Not eating enough protein
So many people train, expecting to build muscle or lose fat, but they fail to eat the protein necessary to actually do that.
It’s like trying to build a wall without bricks… It’s not going to happen.
Obviously there’s a LOT more to it than just protein; vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbs and fats are also needed, but whilst protein shakes are all the rage, ironically, many people just don’t get enough protein.
Amino acids in proteins are what your body needs to build muscle tissue. You’ll struggle to see results from your efforts if your protein intake is too low.
When you work out how much you need it may seem excessive (or it may not depending on what you’ve been reading), but if you shoot for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight you’ll be in the right ballpark.
If you’re eating cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a “normal” dinner, snacking on fruit and crisps in between, chances are you’re not even getting half what you need!
It’s important to get protein at EVERY meal. If you don’t, it’ll be tough to make up the difference in the remaining meals.
If you have the regular 3-meals-a-day routine, it’s likely you’ll need about 50g of protein in each (if you weigh 150lbs), so missing one of those leaves 2 meals of 75g! That’s hard going!
You can add in protein based snacks to help out, and protein powders come in very handy if you really struggle to hit your target, but remember they are just a “supplement to” and not a “replacement for” real food.
So make sure you get protein at every opportunity.
Breakfast - protein
Snack - protein
Lunch - protein
Snack - protein
Dinner - protein
You get the idea!
If our example had 40g protein at each of the 3 main meals, and another 15g at each of the snacks, they’d hit the 150g target.
Missing just one of these (having toast for breakfast for example), would leave you almost 40g short of your target.
You have to take nutrition seriously.
Eating is something you have to do pretty much every day of your life, from birth to death, so you really do need to learn what to eat! The vast majority of people just eat “food”, giving it no thought, and not paying any attention to what they eat or how it affects them in every way.
You may be guilty of this.
I have been in the past.
It’s partly a lack of education on the subject and partly the food industry advertising their most profitable products, which are rarely the ones that are best for us.
It’s your responsibility to see through the industry BS and give your body what it needs, for your own sake.
Especially if you want to build muscle.
So set your protein goal - about 1g per lb bodyweight - and aim to get within 10g of this target every single day.
If you need to, build up to this over a couple of weeks.
Use a supplement to top up where necessary. I’ve never had a huge appetite at breakfast so shakes are really handy for me here, and the usual breakfast for most people in the western world seems to be based around toast or cereal and only occasionally meat (fry-up style), so it’s a good place to start and knocks a good few grams off your daily target right from the word go.
If you focus solely on this one thing to begin with, you’ll soon start seeing some results.
Obviously calories are the other important number to keep an eye on, so hit your protein target and stay within your calorie target.
Once you get the hang of that, definitely start looking at getting as much quality nutrition as you can. Get 80% of your calories from nutritious foods. The other 20% you can use on foods you enjoy a bit more, but aren’t so nutritious (like chocolate).