In the quest to eat for our weight loss goals, naturally we’d want to go for nutrient dense, lean protein. That’s why you’ll hear debates on different types of proteins. However these differences may not mean much for your health.

Here, we look at what makes something a complete protein, and how it affects vegetarian and vegan diets and what sources you should prioritize.

How Are Proteins Different?

A food that is looked at as a “complete” protein has all the essential amino acids the human body needs but can’t produce on it’s own. This stands to the opposite of “incomplete” protein, which usually lacks one or two key amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks the body uses to build and rebuild at all levels, from body cells to bigger tissues and organs.

Different proteins from food contain a variation of amounts of 20 common amino acids. Of the 20, only 9 are considered essential. All animal products (such as: eggs, meat and fish) are complete proteins but very few plant foods meet this criteria.

Vegetarian sources of complete proteins include quinoa, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, buckwheat and seeds such as hemp, chia and pumpkin. Some cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are also complete protein sources.

Should Vegetarians Be Concerned?

For many years, the concept of complete protein helped point people toward animal proteins. However, it’s a common misconception that vegetarian and vegan diets will not satisfy our needs for essential amino acids.

Still a vegetarian or vegan diet can meet and exceed protein needs providing you’re not being overly restrictive with your food intake. You can still get essential amino’s from plant based sources by eating them in combination with each other. In reality pairing foods is tasty but not always necessary. Protein metabolism is fluid and dynamic. The amino acids you can get from food or from recycling old cells and tissues join up and “pool” together. The pool is freely available for all cells to tap into when they need it. In other words, vegetarians and vegans don’t need to worry about finding complete proteins or pairing foods together within the same meal. They just need to eat a diet that contains a variety of plant proteins.

To Summarise

Don’t worry about various types of proteins unless you are aiming to get another macronutrient from that source. Instead carnivores and vegetarians can benefit from eating high-protein plant based foods from a variety of sources including grains, beans, nuts and seeds.


It’s time to quit the lone gym act and join the pack


The traditional male gym-goer cuts a lonely figure; headphones in, prowling around the weights area. Meanwhile, in his side view he’ll notice the hourly groups and flow of (mainly females) into the gym’s studio. Out of curiosity, he may pick up a copy of the timetable by the door. But then he’ll scoff at the names of some of the classes and then swag away.


If that sounds familiar, you could be making a big mistake. Exercising has got social, not talking about the gym selfies clogging up our feeds. Group training is taking the UK by storm. The latest figures suggest that 43 per cent of all gym members in the US participate in some form of group exercise. You can bet your bottom dollar that the British fitness industry is catching up.


Men have historically avoided classes because they mistakenly believe that they’re for girls. I get it. Most guys had though that, too. But gone are the days of happy-clappy step, pump aerobics. Instead, there are now classes for almost every training style and fitness philosophy in the group training format.




Let’s clear up one thing though, group training doesn’t mean and should not be easy. Structured around time, rest periods and progressive load which is what we do at Lean Body, they’re scalable for everyone from newbies to someone who has been training for years. If you’re working at maximum effort – those 12kg kettlebells should do it – you will sweat, you will suffer, and you will reap rewards. One of the best things about group training, is that it creates a team environment. This brings three scientifically backed benefits; motivation, competition and enjoyment, all recipes to sustainable exercise. The desire to win or at least not to lose, means that if the person next to you is smashing out the kettlebells, you will push through the pain to keep up. Researchers also found that the fitter your classmates, the fitter you’ll become – a simple trick for any sceptic beginners. If the person next to you doesn’t motivate you, the PT will.


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For those dragging their heels to workout, struggling to find that structure that sticks, think of group training as a mix of functional, variation of different body movements, which leads to a stronger, leaner you. Furthermore, group exercise was proven in recent research not to just boost fitness and motivate you, but also to lower stress levels by 26 per cent when compared to going it alone.


So if you want to get fit ‘like a man’ and pump iron on your lonesome, with no progressive program or external motivation, be my guest. But personally.. I’ll be in the studio, training and getting fitter for it, and helping others do the same.

Coach Paul and team,


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