Recently I had a conversation with a new personal training client and I immediately thought it would be a great topic to address in an article.
So, client x said,
“I just can't consume enough protein (couldn't get within 50g of her target each day), is it really all that important for fat loss?”
Without question, YES! 100% yes it is!
When looking at body composition changes (fat loss/fat gain, muscle loss/muscle gain), to lose stored fat tissue, you need to remain in an energy (calorie) deficit for a sustained period of time.
To gain muscle tissue, you need to remain in an energy (calorie) surplus, provide this tissue with the fuel source that helps it to grow and repair (protein) and then regularly provide appropriate stimulus for the muscle tissue (movement).
Well; protein contains calories and therefore contributes towards this daily calorie intake.
When breaking down your days calorie intake, I recommend getting:
35% from Protein
35% from Carbohydrate
30% from Fat
In actual fact, when it comes to the percentage breakdown, what really matters is 30-35% Protein and 65-70% of the other two in whichever combination works.
But it is VITAL you hit that 30-35% regardless of your goal/daily calorie requirement.
Well as humans, we haven't actually evolved a whole lot over the past 10 000 years from when we were hunter gatherers that plodded around draped in fur, living day to day, meal to meal. Our body's back then were built for one thing… to survive… and that’s still pretty much the case now. Our body’s adapt to our current surroundings to allow us the best possible chance to survive.
When we deplete our body of energy (calories) it doesn’t collapse in a heap on the floor, it survives by turning to an alternative fuel source to provide it with energy which will allow us to move… stored body fat... *hence the calorie deficit being the underlying reason you lose fat.
But why the need for protein?
You see, when being depleted of energy, our body essentially goes in to survival mode and it is going to get rid of tissue that isn't efficient for us to hold on to. We have two types of tissue that our body will rid itself of, fat and MUSCLE. So if we deprive our body from it's primary energy source (calories) and then we deprive our muscle tissue from it's favoured fuel source (protein) that it NEEDS to grow, repair and move, then our body will get rid of it as it is inefficient to store muscle tissue.
Muscle requires energy (calories) to contract.
A bigger muscle (lat - the big muscle in your back), is going to require more energy to fuel this contraction than a smaller muscle (calves - the back of the lower leg - have a look around your gym, most guys have tiny little ones).
So me with an additional 10KG of muscle on my frame is going to require far more energy on a daily basis than what I currently do.
This is why top level bodybuilders are able to consume far more than you or I ever could and still not put on any fat… because their muscular frames require more energy to move (that and they’re juiced up to their eyeballs, but that's another post for another day).
So give that muscle it's desired fuel source! 35% of your total days calories! Focus on becoming strong as balls! Maintain a deficit if you’re looking to lose fat and you’ll look strong, lean and absolutely incredible in no time!
If you are interested in learning more about energy balance, if you would like some guidance on structuring your calories to induce rapid fat loss and you would like a training program that is going to accelerate progress faster than you have every experienced before… then click here and download one of our amazing eBook programs now.