Protein is the macro-nutrient that builds muscle. Your body uses protein to maintain the amount of skeletal muscle you have on your body and to make new muscle cells. This increases the size and shape making your muscles firmer and less squishy. Meats, milk, and eggs are great examples of high quality protein.
If you don’t get enough protein throughout the day, your body will begin taking energy from your muscles, (called catabolism; very bad since your body is basically eating itself!)
This will make them get smaller and smaller, and you’ll be looking and feeling like a wet noodle. Not hot at all, noodle legs!
Protein is found in meats of all kinds such as steaks, chicken, fish and pork. Breads and pasta are mostly carbs but contain some protein as well.
Most people do not eat enough of it! In the U.S. It seems that carbs are the number one macro in people’s diets. Think pizza, chips, nachos, breads, candies, sugary drinks. Even today’s coffee drinks are loaded with sugar, thus carbs. Fats are a close second, and poor protein is usually left in last place as a topping or afterthought.
In order to build a sexy body, both men and women need to get enough protein to repair muscle fibers that were damaged during workouts. Yes, when you workout with weights you are inflicting little micro tears into the muscle fibers by lifting more weight than you are used to. Then at night as you sleep, the brain goes to work repairing the muscles using the protein you ate during the day to feed the muscles and prepare them for the next day.
One gram of protein has four calories in it, so a 4 ounce steak or a chicken breast will roughly have around 28 grams of protein, and around 300 calories.
Some good sources of protein:
Greek yogurt, 90% lean hamburger, lean steaks like top sirloin or filet mignon, chicken breast (virtually no fat), dark chicken meat has the same amount of protein but it has more fat, salmon, any sushi, halibut, milk, eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, beef jerky.
Cheeses have protein but are mostly fat, so therefore I don’t consider them “good sources of protein” because you will eat too much fat to get some protein and the fat will take up too much of your daily calories.
A good guideline for planning your meals is to emphasize eating mostly meat, eggs etc. with carbs been slightly less amounts and fats even less. Contrary to popular belief, meats are not bad for you and your cholesterol does not rise with eating meats or fats. Eating meats will raise your testosterone which helps get rid of body fat. People with higher testosterone have low body fat percentages while people with low testosterone are usually carrying unsafe amounts of body fat, specially around the gut.