Are you eating enough protein?
1. You have trouble holding onto lean muscle and making gains.
If you aren't eating enough protein, or are eating it inconsistently, the body will turn to muscle stores and break it down for it's amino acid reserves for other needs. If this is happening you would experience a loss of strength and muscle weight. You might notice your body becoming less firm, body fat levels increasing, and your previous fitness level hard to maintain. If you are training hard but progress isn't going so well, protein intake is the first area you should analyse.
2. You feel hungry a lot, get 'hangry', experience brain fog, and have poor concentration.
Protein foods help curb hunger, and stabilise blood sugar and energy levels. It takes a longer time to digest protein than it does carbohydrates. A protein filled meal can satisfy the appetite for hours compared to carbohydrate loaded meals. If you're experiencing strong cravings, have less mental energy and feel grumpy, try to include more protein rich foods. Breakfast time is an important time to do this, and often overlooked due to time and lack of choices. A high protein breakfast can start your days energy levels the right way.
3. You're getting sick more regularly and feel off and lethargic.
If catching colds, the flu, and generally have poor health more often, there is a link when protein intake levels are too low. Protein is an important building block used by the immune system to strengthen resistance and fight off bugs. Undereating protein can reduce the bodies defences and leave it open to infection. Due to the increased demands for protein in the diet, athletes are much more susceptible to coughs and flus, and getting run down.
4. Your hair looks dry, maybe experiencing thinning hair, and nails are in bad condition and break more easily.
Protein is essential for healthy hair and nails. In some cases the body will shut down their support to preserve protein. Dry, flaky, and peeling skin, redness and irritations are signs to look for. Look out for ridges in nails too, and slowed nail growth.
5. You injure yourself a lot, have strains, and take a long time to heal.
Protein is used to patch your body back together when it suffers physical trauma. Without the right levels of protein in the diet, cuts and bruises might hang around a bit longer. Any minor tears and sprains could lead to more serious setbacks too. Pay attention to increased muscle aches and pains, that last for longer than they should. Make sure to include regularly spaced meals of high quality protein sources.
How much protein should you eat each day? I have a great formula I use to work this out for nutrition plans. Just let me know if you would like me to work out your needs.