To build muscle and lean out, most of us know we should be getting a certain amount of protein in our bodies daily. But did you know that protein is also vital for many other bodily functions?
Protein is the building blocks of life. The macronutrient is found all throughout the body—in the muscles, bones, ligaments, skin, hair, blood and virtually every tissue and cell. It plays a role in:
Clients always tell me they need to get more protein in their diet but don’t know where to start—I completely agree and can relate. There’s so much information and so many different types of proteins out there that it can be confusing at times to decide what is the best type to fuel our bodies. Is it plant-based or animal-based? A mix of both? And then there are the millions of protein powders and bar options.
I’m not a certified nutritionist by any means, but as a Pilates instructor and overall health and wellness advocate, I know what has worked for me over the years. And I know what I would recommend to my clients to help them make the best decision for their bodies. So here are my top recommendations when it comes to three different categories of proteins—plant, animal and powder-based.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or just trying limit your animal intake, plant-based protein is a great way to fuel your body for Pilates or any exercise activity. Some of my favorites include:
If you’re interested in learning more about each of these plant-based protein options, I highly recommend this Healthline article.
Of all of the animal proteins, I usually recommend seafood. My go-to’s being salmon (wild-caught), shrimp and scallops.
Of course, not everyone loves seafood, so I always suggest listening to your body and, if possible, try to eat a mix of both animal and plant-based proteins.
In addition to these seafood proteins, I love a good grass-fed steak occasionally, to enrich my red blood cells. There are mixed reviews on whether red meat is healthy, but my rule of thumb is that once a week can be highly beneficial if it’s the “healthy stuff” (think grass fed and free of harmful hormones).
I always say, if you’re craving it, eat a steak or have a good quality burger. Your body probably needs it!
Through the years I have always been advised to use a protein powder to supplement the daily recommendations. It’s an easy way get leaner or lose weight. And for me, it’s become a staple in my diet.
As a simple, quick meal replacement, you can put a clean protein powder in a shaker-bottle with water or nut milk. I try to get one or two in daily when I’m trying to lean out. (Chicken bone broth is another one of my favorites on-the-go as it’s highly nutritious with minerals and vitamins.)
Next time you’re at the studio, check out Premium Protein. It’s one of the few powder protein supplements that I recommend since it’s super clean with just 3 ingredients. Plus, it has 19 grams of collagen peptide proteins and only 80 calories. I also love it because it tastes great.
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