Now that we have discussed how important water is, let’s talk about another essential nutrient.
Protein is one of the major building blocks of the body and is essential for the growth and repair of virtually every cell. It is a macronutrient meaning that our body requires protein in large amounts and because we do not store most of it, we need to eat it on a regular basis. This is especially important for fighters as it helps to feed and repair muscles.
Although the quantity of protein differs for each individual, the standard amount is about 15-18% of your total calories. It is important to note that this number will vary depending on age, gender, lifestyle, and what feels right for your body.
To calculate your daily protein requirements accurately, multiply your weight in kg times the amount of protein in grams. For most non-athletes, 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram is suggested. Athletes require more protein, between 1.2 and 2.0 grams.
Here is an example of how to calculate your protein requirements:
A 200 pound male fighter who trains regularly,
- 200/2.2 = 90kg
- 90kg x 1.2 = 108 grams of protein per day
- 90kg x 2.0 = 180 grams of protein per day
This means that the athlete requires between 108-180 grams of protein per day depending on the amount of training he is doing.
So what do you eat? Lean animal protein such as chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, tuna, salmon, eggs, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt are great options. If your diet is more plant-based, then be sure to include quinoa, black and kidney beans, lentils, tofu, hummus, edamame, hemp and chia seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, rolled oats, and nuts.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to get protein after training is a good quality protein powder. It can be consumed quickly and has the perfect balance of macros to be used by the muscles immediately. I have mine ready in my gym bag and drink it on the way home from training.
Body Systems Barrie in support of Legacy is giving members 20% in store and a free protein shake for members who visit for the first time! Be sure to swing by and mention you are from Legacy so that the staff there, who are super helpful and are all educated in the health profession, can help you choose the right protein powder for you.
Your next nutrition challenge… Calculate your protein requirements to ensure you are eating enough. Add a few of these easy, high protein meals to your day:
- 1 scoop plant-based protein powder + 1 cup soy milk = 30 grams
- 1 cup Greek yogurt + ⅓ cup blueberries = 20 grams
- 1 slice rye, pumpernickel, wheat bread + ¼ cup tuna = 16 grams
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese + 1 cup raw celery or carrots = 12 grams of protein
- banana roll-up: 1 small whole wheat tortilla + 1 banana + 2 tbsp almond butter = 11 grams
- overnight oats: ½ cup milk + ½ cup rolled oats + 2 tbsp hemp seeds = 11 grams
- chia pudding: ½ cup plant milk + 2 tbsp chia seeds + fresh berries = 6 grams
- 3 oz of baked salmon in a large green salad + ½ cup edamame = 30 grams
- lentil curry = 23 grams
- tofu and quinoa bowl = 18 grams