AMA: When Do Your Clients Need to Protein Deload?

James FitzGerald on Protein Deloads

This post is a sneak peak into one of James FitzGerald’s answers during a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) session hosted on the OPEX Membership site. During AMAs OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP) Coaches have the opportunity to submit questions for FitzGerald to personally answer. This week James was asked “When should my clients protein deload?” here is FitzGerald’s answer.  

What is a protein deload?

A protein deload is the process of removing protein from a client’s diet for a specific amount of time. The concept of protein deloads came about because athletes that were training very hard were breaking down a lot of muscle and to keep up were, in turn, consuming mass quantities of protein. However, consuming this much protein can produce negative side effects such as food aversions, joint pain, mood issues, and adrenal function problems. A potential solution? A protein deload.

Who needs a protein deload?

A few examples of clients who need to protein deload are those that are training with intensity and breaking down a lot of protein or general health clients that need a break as the process of assimilating proteins is tough on the gut. They might also exhibit food aversions, joint pain, mood issues, and adrenal function problems. Disclaimer, this is a common avatar for those who need to deload, to truly understand who needs to deload coaches must conduct further testing.

How do you protein deload?

The process of a protein deload is quite simple, think of it as a vegetarian diet with a focus on quality cooked foods and a lowered amount of fat. Before you get all up in arms don’t worry your clients will not lose all of their muscle during the deload. The idea that if you do not eat enough protein you will shrivel up and die is sheerly a marketing tool sold to you by supplement companies. The process of anabolism (retaining muscle) is quite complicated and is based on hormones, immune function, and overall health more than just the sheer amount of protein consumed.

Most protein deload protocols entail a couple of days up to a week on a vegetarian diet focusing on quality cooked foods as mentioned above. Which will give the gut, lymph node, and gallbladder a break. For clients that are training with high intensity, a protein deload at the end of every month is a great way to maintain optimal performance. It could also be a good practice to introduce a protein deload at the end of intense training cycles that include high amounts of lactic work.

These AMA sessions are exclusive content available to OPEX CCP Coaches through our membership site. CCP is our flagship coaching education course that provides coaches with the tools they need to turn their hobby into a profession. Apply for CCP today and get access to our AMAs while taking the next step in your coaching career

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