As promised, here is Part 2 of 2 of "Simplifying Protein." Part 1 can be found here - Simplifying Protein (Part 1 of 2). Part of me really debated if I wanted to even do a Part 2 because this is such a stereotypical article from health and fitness bloggers but, after thinking about it, I do believe I have practical tips for you to take away. Part 1 was created to give a background of what experts suggest on how much protein you should be consuming each day, whether you are on a diet or bulking up. Part 2 is more to share what I use to help reach my protein goals.
Tip 1: Create a Routine
A routine for your diet? What?! ... Yes, I think this is the easiest way (at least that I've found) to keep track of things when counting macros and calories.
I, for one, progressively eat more calorie-heavy as the day progresses. I like starting my day with a light meal, eating an average (anywhere from 600-1,000 calories, depending on if I am cutting or bulking) lunch, and eating a large (800-1,000+ calories, depending) dinner. I find this helps my energy levels throughout the day.
For breakfast, I start with light protein and once I start snacking towards lunch time, my protein intake increases quite a bit. I also try to make sure my lunch and dinner each includes about 8oz of some sort of meat, which gives me at least 50g of protein each meal right there.
Tip 2: Make Your Snacks Protein-Packed
Whether I am cutting or bulking, I rely a bit on snacks just to ensure that I hit my protein goal. When I'm cutting, I'll have very small snacks that are very low in carbohydrates but when I am bulking, I'll have a larger variety of snacks with a good mix of carbohydrates and protein.
Tip 3: Track What You're Eating So You Don't Go Overboard
People are so worried about not reaching their protein goal but it's actually really easy if you follow these tips, at least in my opinion. I think you should be more worried about overdoing it. If you're eating foods that contain protein throughout the day, it can be easier than you think to overshoot your goal. You may want to check if you need that extra protein shake your drinking every day.
For tracking, I like using www.calorieking.com. I suggest tracking for about a 30-day period, once a year. If you want to check out my experience doing this, here is an older post of mine - Counting My Macros.
Whether you are bulking or cutting, protein is the macro that experts seem to stress the most. Below, I'll share what foods I typically eat in order to ensure I hit my protein goals.
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Various Foods to Help Hit My Goals
My Typical Diet, Related to Protein
For breakfast, I usually start with about 2 cups of yogurt (14g of protein).
For snacks, I usually have 4-6oz of mixed nuts and a Clif Bar or something similar (34-46g of protein total).
For lunch and dinner, I usually have 8oz of one of the proteins listed above along with vegetables/starches to go along with it (~50g of protein for each).
This brings my total protein to around 150g of protein per day. Since I am currently bulking at 170lb, I'm not worried as long as I hit somewhere around 0.8g/lb, or 135g per day. Some days I run out of certain snacks to eat or my meals change a bit but because my average day hits above that 0.8g/lb per day, I'm not worried.
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