By Mike Roussell, PhD
You're hitting the weights regularly, training hard, and pushing your limits. But if you aren’t crushing your daily protein targets, you still may not be maximizing your results. Protein is the most critical macronutrient, and daily, you should be reaching 0.8 grams of protein per pound of goal bodyweight. And yes, that’s a lot of protein. But these three strategies can help you get there.
Protein Stack at Breakfast:
Breakfast is often the toughest meal to load up with protein – and that’s exactly why protein stacking works so well here. Unlike lunch or dinner, you won’t aim to get all your protein from one source (like a piece of salmon). Instead, aim for a little bit of protein from multiple sources on your way to 30-plus grams of protein. (Bonus: research also shows that getting protein from various sources can boost fullness following that meal.)
DO IT: Start with 2 scrambled eggs (12g of protein), a half-cup of rolled oats (5g) in 1 cup of milk (8g), topped with a ¼ cup of pistachios (6g) and you have a 31-gram protein meal.
Own the Post-Workout Shake:
Protein after exercise is a special time. Lifting weight causes your body to ramp up muscle-building signals at the cellular level. If you give your body protein shortly after training, these signals are strengthened and sustained for even longer. A protein shake after training is a quick way to add 20-40 grams of protein to your day while maximizing those muscle-building signals.
DO IT! On all training days, mix 1-2 scoops of your favorite whey protein in water (or add a banana if you need extra carbs). Drink as soon as your workout is over.
Eat Before Bedtime
Common fitness lore once held that you should stop eating in the evening, because your body couldn’t process nutrients while you slept. Research from the Netherlands showed that just isn’t true. In fact, having protein before going to bed will help your body curb muscle breakdown while also boosting muscle-building signals. It also gives you one final shot to hit your daily protein requirements.
DO IT! Mix ¾ cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 1tbsp of peanut butter and a dash of your favorite low/no-calorie sweetener for a 25-gram protein boost before bed.
AUTHOR BIO: Mike Roussell, PhD
Mike Roussell, PhD, is an author, speaker, and nutrition strategist who has spent more than 20 years transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical habits that change lives.
His clients have included NBA all-stars, tech execs, and TV personalities.