Your best body is not something that can be achieved by hitting the gym a few times a week. It is a 24/7 effort, which is why this last week encompasses a little more time. For Week 5, you will eat a source of protein at every meal.
Protein is the building block of muscle. Remember that we are actually breaking muscle down during the training sessions and adequate amounts of fuel need to be present for the rebuilding process to occur. For the amount of weekly training sessions you are doing, you need to consume it steadily to support your efforts.
Shoot for a decent source with at least 80 percent of your meals. If you eat six smaller meals a day, roughly one meal per day could be noncompliant. If you're a three square meals a day type of person, four per week could go without protein.
I know that seems like a tall order. And it is because protein is lacking in most people's diets. Just look around next time you're out in public. You know the saying "you are what you eat"? Refined carbohydrates and processed foods are abundant in the average American's diet and it's reflected in our disease state and fluffy appearances. Imagine what we'd look like if ate more lean protein instead. Your ideal body should come to mind.
Here are some examples of protein sources to incorporate into your meals:
- Poultry - look for white, skinless varieties
- Lean meats - cuts ending in "loin" are generally lower in fat
- Fish and seafood - shrimp, salmon, shellfish, etc.
- Eggs - even the yolks, which contain certain types of protein that isn't found elsewhere
- Beans - lentils, black, navy, kidney, etc. A great option of vegetarians.
- Dairy - try for low or nonfat versions. It offers less protein than meats, but still a good option.
- Nuts - natural nut butters, unsalted nuts, etc. Though the majority of their nutritional content is from healthy fats, they still contain some protein.
- Protein powders - casein, whey, soy, etc. This supplement is a convenient way to add more protein. Vegetarians can choose soy varieties. Those sensitive to dairy should avoid casein and whey.
Below is an example of how to include a protein source at every meal:
6:00am Two pieces of whole wheat toast with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
10:00am Apple and one piece of low-fat string cheese
12:00pm Mixed greens salad with grilled chicken breast topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
3:00pm Smoothie made with ice, skim milk, protein powder, and fruit of choice
6:00pm Broiled fish, steamed broccoli, and a side salad
8:00pm Greek yogurt topped with chopped walnuts
There you have it. Put this final week together with what you've been practicing so far. Next week we'll wrap up with post-measurements and talk about what's next. Have a great week!