The moment you step into the gym, it almost feels mandatory to chug a protein shake and eat a lunch that is packed with lean protein. But, what about the days when you aren’t training at the gym?
You might find yourself slacking on your protein intake on your off days. You might even naturally eat a diet higher in carbohydrates and fat or live in a caloric deficit.
If you are nodding your head right now, we’re here to share that this isn’t the best solution for optimal performance, recovery, and body composition.
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A quick google search and you will have a sea of answers to sort through on how much protein your body needs daily.
If you are someone working out frequently and lifting weights, you actually need a diet that’s higher in protein than someone that’s not active.
The recommended dietary allowance for healthy individuals is 0.8 grams/kg of your body weight. When we look at the research for those that are working out, the recommended range is from 1.4-2.0 grams/kg/day(1).
So, no you likely don’t need to be eating over 200 grams of protein per day, but someone that does train and weighs 170 pounds, could benefit from eating 108 -154 grams of protein per day.
Eating enough protein can sometimes feel like another job if you don’t have a plan at first. The first step is to create some awareness around how much you’re currently eating.
If you are overspending on a budget, you track and review expenses, right? The same goes for protein intake, you’ll benefit from tracking your food occasionally and getting insight on how much protein you are eating daily.
Then you’ll be able to make small changes and build on that to improve your protein intake. One super simple trick that’s used by protein eating professionals is starting the day with a high-protein breakfast.
Need something quick and easy? Grab a protein like this convenient and high-quality chocolate protein powder from Naked Nutrition.
The most important thing you should focus on is meeting that daily protein target based on your activity level we talked about earlier.
Now, if you are someone that’s doing over an hour of cardio at a time, maybe you are training for an ultra marathon or ironman, then you might benefit from some additional protein.
Drinking a beverage with carbohydrates and 0.25 grams of protein/kg/hour can help decrease the muscle soreness you will feel. Anyone ready for improved recovery?
The cool thing about protein shakes is that there are no strict rules, you get to make the rules here. Protein shakes are really beneficial for those of us that live busy lives and have goals we are trying to crush.
You don’t have to meet specific criteria to enjoy the convenience of a protein shake on an off day. So, if you aren’t going to the gym today but want to make life easier and get a boost of protein, go ahead and enjoy that protein shake!
Is there even a wrong time to grab a protein shake? It’s no secret that having protein throughout the day, every 3-4 hours with an emphasis after training is optimal. Most foods before bedtime get a bad rep, but not protein.
Now, we aren’t talking about a pint of ice cream, but we are talking about 30 grams of casein protein 30 minutes before you lay down to sleep. It can potentially help improve your metabolism and your recovery(1)!
Protein can be found in various sources and there are so many products on the shelf that are packed with protein.
Regardless of your budget, preferences, and taste buds, there is definitely an option waiting for you.
There are simple sources like milk, but what about options like cottage cheese that are naturally loaded with casein protein? Consider reaching for that before bed.
You can also enjoy convenient snacks like yogurt, beef jerky, roasted or steamed edamame, protein shakes, roasted chickpeas, protein bars, deli meat, and many more.
Want to make a smorgasbord loaded with protein? Mix a seasoning packet into greek yogurt and enjoy with turkey roll-ups and veggie sticks!
If you are an active person, you have higher protein needs than the average person. Figure out what would benefit your goals first, track your meals for a few days to gain some insight, and then incorporate healthy options!