You already know that you need protein in your diet to support your fitness goals. However, if you’re not paying attention to what and how much you’re eating, you could be hindering your ability to fully recover and maintain or build muscle. Keep reading to find out if you’re making these mistakes and learn how to resolve them.
Mistake #1: Not Eating Enough Protein
The biggest mistake most women make when it comes to their protein needs is not getting enough of it. Protein is essential to building muscle and supporting a lean body composition. If you’re working out regularly and want to add muscle and burn off fat, you should be getting about 1 gram per pound of body weight. Sufficient protein in your diet will help fuel the recovery process and will also help your body utilize fat (rather than muscle) as fuel.
Mistake #2: Not Eating Protein Frequently Enough
When you eat protein, the body will release the amino acids to be circulated in the bloodstream where they can be taken up by the liver to power metabolic processes like building and maintaining muscle as well as fueling your muscle pump during workouts. Eating protein frequently will make sure your body gets a steady supply of aminos to support nitrogen. But that’s not all—protein is satiating, which means it helps reduce hunger. Finally, protein is highly thermogenic and takes more energy to burn off than other foods with the same caloric value, so it helps to keep your metabolism elevated.
Mistake #3: Eating The Same Type Of Proteins All the Time
Although you might be tempted to eat the same old chicken day in and day out, it’s not ideal. Eating the same thing can limit your body’s exposure to different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, essential aminos and even amino compounds. For example, red meat can provide not only lots of protein (5 g per ounce), but it is also rich in iron, energizing B-vitamins and muscle building creatine. Fish, on the other hand, can provide a great source of healthy omega fats. Just like eating a variety of fruit and vegetables is important to get a range of phytonutrients, eating a variety of proteins can provide you with a variety of important nutrients too.
Mistake #4: Not Getting Enough Complete Proteins
Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids, which you need for recovery and growth. Complete proteins include chicken, beef, fish, whole eggs and dairy proteins (i.e., yogurt and cottage cheese). Eating proteins from solely vegan sources (i.e., lentils, brown rice, beans and peas) will limit the amount of essential amino acids you get in your diet. If you’re vegan or eat less meat, be sure to combine your proteins or pick vegetarian sources that are higher in essential aminos needed to repair and support your muscle building and fitness efforts. Choose from legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.