Well week five of my Three Phase Challenge has come and gone and the general consensus is that the team is feeling strong….and tired. With extra cardio and heavier weights introduced in this phase is now more important than ever that our nutrition is dialled in. Today I’m talking specifically about protein and the roll it plays in our progress.
Protein is the major structure of every cell and tissue in our bodies. Everyday protein is broken down into amino acids to be used in many essential body functions. When we eat protein our body breaks it up into amino acids which are required for muscle building, strong immune function and the regulations of hormones and metabolism. Protein is found in different quantities in both animal and plant foods. Animal sources include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. Protein is also found in combined with carbohydrates in beans, whole grains and vegetables. While organic, grass-fed, hormone free foods can be more expensive you want to be sure you are purchasing the best quality animal proteins for the following reasons:
- Like humans, animals store their toxins in their fat.
- There are always hormones present in animal products, so you don’t
want any extra added
- Animals that are raised naturally and happily will make a more
So, how much protein do we need? Protein is needed for growth and healing so at certain times we may require more. Since phase 2 of my Three Phase Program is all about building strength and lean muscle we are aiming to consume between 0.8-1.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. The body can only process so much per day, and any additional protein is inefficiently converted to energy or even stored as body fat.
Protein isn’t just beneficial for muscle building, it can also be very useful in weight management. It helps us feel satisfied and full longer and is believed to actually reduce the feeling of hunger. When exercise is paired with protein it can actually increase the weight loss effects. Our metabolism is the rate in which we burn energy, or calories. Lean tissue, or rather muscle, which is composed of protein, is known to burn calories more efficiently and at a faster rate than any other tissue in the body. When we put our muscles to work during resistance training or weight lifting, important amino acids are lost. (Amino acids are what make up proteins.) After a strength training work out, our bodies are breaking down amino acids faster than they can build new ones. In order for us to build and repair muscle we must have extra proteins available, therefore the intake of protein post-workout, as well as the B.C.A.A’s that I recommend throughout the program, are crucial to getting those defined muscles we are working so hard for.
This week I’m challenging each of the participants to come up with their own high-protein snack or meal and I can’t wait to share their creations! Here’s one of my favorite protein packed snacks that is perfect for those on the go 🙂
Nutritional Value per serving (2 cakes) Calories 350, Fat 10g, Protein 50g, Carbs 15g
4 (5-oz) can tuna in water, drained
8 sliced green onions
6 egg whites
1/4cup coconut flour
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup lime juice
Dash hot sauce, to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup salsa
Combine all ingredients, except coconut oil, salsa and avocado, in a medium sized bowl. Let sit 2 to 3 minutes so the coconut flour absorbs the moisture of the egg whites and lime juice.
Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan medium-high heat. Divide and shape mixture into 8 equal fish cakes.
Heat coconut oil in the pan and cook cakes about 4 to 5 minutes, then flip. Fry cakes until both sides are golden brown.
When fully cooked, top cakes with salsa and avocado.