The health and wellbeing column with Mel Spencer

Good sources of protein include fish, meat, nuts, pulses and soy products.
Good sources of protein include fish, meat, nuts, pulses and soy products.

Today we are taking our last look at all things nutrition, our focus this time being protein, the buzz word in the world of fitness – and for good reason.

When exercising – weight training in particular – we need protein, the building block of muscle.

Basically when you’re training and lifting weights, muscles get damaged and protein then helps to repair them.

I encourage my clients to aim for five servings of protein throughout the day – almost drip feeding the body with it as there’s only so much the body can take on at any given time, any surplus usually being stored as fat.

Good sources include meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, pulses, beans and soy products.

There are a few considerations to be taken into account in relation to protein and your consumption of it:

1) as much as we need protein, you can have too much of it. Any excess is usually stored by the body as fat.

2) a high protein diet in isolation won’t get you the results you want – exercise in the form of weight training is the key in shaping the body you want.

3) the food industry has massively jumped onto the protein bandwagon.

If you look at the supermarket shelves virtually everything is protein this or protein that.

Be very careful.

I would class anything with around about 20g per serving as a good source.

Very often these ‘protein’ bars, cereals, yoghurts are woefully lacking and coming in at far below this. So that’s protein in a nutshell, hopefully that’s cleared up a few misconceptions!

I want to finish with a quick look at hydration.

Government guidelines tell us we should be having eight glasses or two litres of water per day.

The reality is that we are all different shapes and sizes and have differing requirements.

The best way to tell whether you’re hydrated or not isn’t to wait until you’re thirsty - you’re dehydrated by then.

Without wanting to sound crude, the colour of your urine is the best indicator.

Straw coloured is good, anything darker than that needs addressing – keep those levels up!

If I could describe the best diet pill in the world it would be water.

Stay hydrated and become a fat burning machine.

On that note, until next time!

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