All You Need to Know About Protein

Protein – it’s what every gym rat likes to talk about.

The truth is, protein is very important for everyone looking to maximize their health. To keep it simple, protein is made up of the building blocks of tissue – amino acids. In addition to muscle, protein also makes up hair, skin, nails, hormones, and enzymes.

Besides being important for rebuilding muscle, protein has a few other pretty important attributes;

  • Protein helps with satiety, or fullness, and will help control overall intake and hunger pangs (especially late at night!)

 

  • 20-35% of calories from protein are burned through digestion or the Thermic Effect Of Food (vs. 5-15% from carbs, and 0-5% from fat) – so eating a higher protein diet keeps your metabolism revved up. Have you ever gotten the meat sweats after eating a ton of meat? It’s a real thing.

Where Do I Get Protein?

High protein foods are pretty much anything that comes from the flesh of animals, or anything produced by an animal that is edible (milk, eggs, and dairy-based protein powders).

High protein, non-animal sources include tofu and beans – which also are a moderate protein source at best and also a significant carbohydrate source.

What About Protein Shakes?

Protein shakes are technically supplements – but, they are whole food supplements. They are made from whole foods like milk, eggs, meats, or plants. They are a GREAT option to help fill in some gaps in your nutrition and are NOT just for gym bros.

Protein powders have come a very long way, and most are actually quite tasty. I recommend building a custom blend based on your needs over at TrueNutrition.com – and use coupon code “MGFITLIFE” to save some $$$

Protein is the most under-consumed macronutrient in the average American diet. For a healthy, lean, and active individual looking to maximize performance (performance not necessarily meaning athletic performance, but overall performance throughout the day to day tasks), health, and overall strength, I always recommend eating 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

(200 lb. healthy male = 200g of protein per day, 150 lb healthy female = 150g protein).

The current US RDA for protein is a sad recommendation of 46 grams per day for females and 56 grams per day for males. These are the level you need to be at to prevent muscle wasting. Not optimal health, but the bare-bones minimum to make sure you don’t get too fit and healthy. Just another reason to trust the government…

Where this recommendation changes a bit is in overweight or obese individuals.

If looking to lose body fat, a caloric deficit is still crucial, and if somebody is 300 pounds, eating 300 grams of protein per day might not be possible or necessary.

In these cases, I like to use 1.25 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass.

Let’s say that someone is 260 pounds, and 40% body fat. 260 x .4 = 104 pounds of body fat. Taking the total weight (260) minus the body fat (104) gives us 156 pounds of lean body mass x 1.25 = 195 grams of protein.

If you are serious about your training (or health for that matter), you need to be serious about your protein intake.

Training is catabolic – meaning it breaks down muscle tissue. Sufficient protein is key for proper recovery and boosting performance. Yes, you actually BREAK DOWN muscle in the gym and build it outside of the gym!

If you are more sedentary, maybe it’s time to consider getting some weight training in – but that’s for another time. Our bodies eventually get to a point in our 30s and 40s where we start losing muscle mass – aka sarcopenia.

It’s been proven that this process can be slowed or even reversed by following even a basic full-body strength program and eating enough protein to facilitate recovery and maintain muscle mass.

How Do I Start Getting More?

Take a good look at how much protein you currently eat, and most likely you will be looking to increase your intake. If you are currently eating 100 grams, and your goal is 200 grams, I don’t recommend trying to make that jump overnight.

First, try to find what your consistent daily average is. For this example, we are going with 100 grams.

Then, try increasing by 10 grams per day for the whole week (110 grams per day). Keep increasing by 5-10 grams per day every week until you get close to your goal intake.

When people focus on increasing their protein intake, they start cutting out less nutritious foods, especially foods that are loaded with junk carbs and greasy fats – because most processed junk is high in carbs and fats, but not protein.

By simply starting slow, and slowly increasing until you get to your desired goal intake, you will be one step ahead of everyone else who is still trying to jump from fad diet to fad diet.

Now go get that protein!

If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.

Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!

5 Ways To Sneak Extra Protein Into Your Diet

A busy mother of 3, trying to lose 20 pounds, wants to fit into that sexy dress for the summer – What’s your protein intake look like?

Skinny college guy, trying to pack on some serious muscle gains, wants to impress the chica’s at Spring Break  – What’s your protein intake?

A retired older gentleman, a former CEO of a big company, recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and had a melanoma removed from his back, want’s to be able to keep up with the grandkids – What’s your protein intake look like?

No matter what your goals are, having an adequate protein intake can help you reach them.

Protein is not the end-all, be-all, cure-all of all of our world’s problems, but it does hold merit when it comes to many goals. Body composition changes wound healing, proper immune health are just a few of the areas that adequate protein is necessary to help with.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) specifies that the dietary protein requirement for all individuals 19 and older is 0.8 grams of protein per each kilogram of body weight per day. This is (unfortunately) still recommended by many in the nutrition world. This level was set as a bare-bones minimum to help maintain proper nitrogen balance in the body and prevent nutritional deficiency and muscle wasting.

If you are reading this blog, you likely exercise pretty regularly.

For most of my clients, regardless of goals, I recommend .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. (Sometimes higher if we are doing a short-term cut)

Example: 55 year old, 5′ 6″ – 170 pound woman looking to lose body fat – works out 3 days per week, relatively sedentary otherwise.

In this case, her goal based off of body weight would be 136-170 grams of protein per day.

136-170 That’s a ton!

I have found, especially for many of my female clients, that is a high number that they are not used to. When looking through their intake journals, I often see 60/70/80 grams per day. Maybe close to 100 if they do a shake.

So how can you get your protein numbers up, without going over your calorie goal?

You need to track your intake and see if you are even hitting your calorie goal, then look at where those calories are coming from. In the above scenario, let’s say this client is eating 1600 calories. If we are looking for at least 136 grams of protein, then the other calories coming from carbs at fat should be right around 164g carbs and 44g fat. (don’t worry about how I got this numbers)

164 grams of carbs and 44 grams of fat per day are not hard to hit in our culture. We could easily be hitting the 1600 calorie goal, but you may be getting 60% from carbs, 30% from fat, and 10% from protein.

You will likely need to reconfigure where your calories are coming from and skew them more towards getting your protein intake up, and carbs and fats down. Luckily, carbs and protein are isocaloric – 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories. Simply cutting back on carbs, and replacing them with some protein is a good start. If your diet is heavier in fat, then sub 2 grams of protein for every gram of fat you need to take out – since fat has 9 cals/gram.

Here are 5 ways you can up your protein intake (just make sure you are replacing something in your diet with them – instead of just adding them in)

1. Spread your protein out. I have written on here about the importance of protein at breakfast, and this is a great place to start. Trying to get at least 1/4 of your protein goal at breakfast is a good number to reach for. Eggs, Greek Yogurt, and protein smoothies are all great sources to incorporate into your breakfasts.

Be spreading your protein out throughout the day, this will make that huge number seem much more attainable, and help you get much closer to it than you’d think.

2. Base each meal around protein. Make sure you have a protein source at every single meal you eat, and in every single snack you eat. Ladies, start with a palm-size portion. This will be right around 20-25 grams of protein if it is coming from a meat source. Guys, shoot for a hand size – 40-50 grams of protein. For snacks, reach for jerky, Greek yogurt, or just have a protein shake.

While I’m not a fan of multiple shakes/meal replacements during the day, adding one can help you get to your goal, and feel fuller longer.

3. Up your intake per meal. Once you have incorporated protein at each meal, try having just a little bit more than you usually would. Generally speaking, most animal proteins contain about 7 grams per ounce of meat, especially in leaner meats. What does an ounce look like? See below.

IMG_3347

This chicken breast was 6.3 ounces. Here you see what 4 and 1 ounces looks like as well.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SCALE I USE AND RECOMMEND TO ALL CLIENTS

Adding one ounce of protein per meal may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a day and a few meals, it can add up to an additional 20-25 grams. If your calorie numbers are pretty stable at your goal intake, make sure you are replacing something with the added protein. Cut back on your starchy carbs at the meal, even just by the same volume of the protein you added. Add 1 ounce of protein, remove one ounce of rice, etc.

4. Add in a protein shake. As stated above, I am not a fan of adding in multiple shakes during the day. I want my clients’ intake to come mostly from whole foods. However, starting with a protein shake post-workout, or as a late afternoon snack might be all you need. Especially in my clients who follow more vegetarian style diets, protein numbers can be very hard to hit. You want to look for a powder that contains whey protein and provides 20-30 grams per scoop. That is a good starting point.

Try this protein powder if you need a good break from the standard flavors.

5. Replace your carbs with protein-carbs. Replacing something like rice or pasta with beans can make a huge swing in your protein intake. The same amount of rice and beans will contain close to the same amount of calories (the beans are slightly less) but the beans will contain 4 times the protein. A half-cup of rice is just about 2 grams of protein, while a half cup of beans is 8. While this may not seem like a lot, remember, it all adds up throughout the day.

Try these 5 tips for increasing your protein intake throughout the day. You may still not hit your goal number, but you will be much closer and will probably find that you feel more full, fat starts coming off easier, and you might just start lifting heavier as a side effect.

How should you start?

Figure out how much protein you currently eat daily. Is it 60 grams? Great! Is your goal according to calculations 120 grams? That means you need to double your intake!

That can be a pretty hefty challenge. So here is where you should start:

Aim to get 10% more next week – and maintain for two weeks. Average 60 this week? Get 66 grams a day the next 2 weeks. Then 73 grams each day the following 2 weeks, and so on.

Throughout this process, only focus on your protein numbers. Believe it or not, many times the rest of your macros (fat and carbs) will adjust accordingly on their own.

If you need help getting started, look no further than online coaching. Training and nutrition! Let me help you find the best plan for you – from anywhere in the world.

For more information, click HERE!

Like what you read? Want to get even more weekly wisdom, training tips, and nutrition nuggets along with up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up HERE!

 

Protein 101 – What, Why, And How Much?

 

Protein; what every gym rat likes to talk about. The truth is, protein is very important for everyone looking to maximize his or her health. To keep it simple, protein is made up of the building blocks of tissue – amino acids. In addition to muscle, protein also makes up hair, skin, nails, hormones, and enzymes.

Besides being important for rebuilding muscle, protein has a few other pretty important attributes;

Protein helps with satiety, or fullness, and will help control overall intake and hunger pangs.

Also, 20-35% of calories from protein are burned through digestion or the Thermic Effect Of Food (vs. 5-15% from carbs, and 0-5% from fat) – so eating a higher protein diet keeps your metabolism revved up. Have you ever gotten the meat sweats after eating a ton of meat? It’s a real thing…

High protein foods are pretty much anything that comes from the flesh of animals, or anything produced by an animal that is edible (milk, eggs, and dairy-based protein powders). High protein, non-animal sources include tofu and beans – which also are a moderate protein source at best and also a significant carbohydrate source.

Protein is probably the most under-consumed macronutrient in the average diet. For a healthy individual looking to maximize performance (performance not necessarily meaning athletic performance, but overall performance throughout the day to day tasks), health, and overall strength, I always recommend eating 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. (200 lb. healthy male = 200g of protein per day).

Where this recommendation changes a bit is in overweight or obese individuals. If looking to lose body fat, a caloric deficit is still crucial, and if somebody is 300 pounds, eating 300 grams of protein per day might not be possible or necessary.

In these cases, I like to use 1.25 grams per pound of Lean Body Mass.

 So lets say that someone is 260 pounds, and 35% body fat. 260 x .35 = 91 pounds of body fat. Taking the total weight (260) minus the body fat (91) gives us 169 pounds of lean body mass x 1.25 = 211 grams of protein.

If you are serious about your training (or health for that matter), you need to be serious about your protein intake. Training is catabolic – meaning it breaks down muscle tissue. Sufficient protein is key for proper recovery and boosting performance.

If you are more sedentary, maybe its time to consider getting some weight training in – but that’s for another time. Our bodies eventually get to a point in our 30s and 40s where we start losing muscle mass. This is called sarcopenia. It has been proven that this process can be slowed or even reversed by following even a basic full body strength program and eating enough protein to facilitate recovery and maintain muscle mass.

So take a good look at home much protein you currently eat, and most likely you will be looking to increase your intake. If you are currently eating 100 grams, and your goal is 200 grams, I don’t recommend trying to make that jump overnight.

First, try to find what your consistent daily average is. (100 grams per day)

Then, try increasing by 10 grams per day for whole week (110 grams per day). Keep increasing by 10 grams per day every week until you get close to your goal intake.

I have found that naturally when people focus on increasing their protein intake, they start cutting out more and more less nutritious foods, especially foods that are loaded with junk carbs and greasy fats.

By simply starting slow, and slowly increasing until you get to your desired goal intake, and you will be once step ahead of everyone else who is still trying to jump from fad diet to fad diet.

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts, newsletters and other special goodies sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

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Stay healthy my friends,

5 Ways To Sneak Extra Protein Into Your Diet

A busy mother of 3, trying to lose 20 pounds, wants to fit into that sexy dress for the summer – What’s your protein intake look like?

Skinny college guy, trying to pack on some serious muscle gains, wants to impress the chica’s at Spring Break  – What’s your protein intake?

The retired older gentleman, the former CEO of a big company, recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis and had a melanoma removed from his back, want’s to be able to keep up with the grandkids – What’s your protein intake look like?

No matter what your goals are, having an adequate protein intake can help you reach them.

Now, protein is not the end all, be all, cure all of all of our worlds problems, but it does hold merit when it comes to many goals. Body composition changes, wound healing, proper immune health are just a few of the areas that adequate protein is necessary to help with.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) specifies that the dietary protein requirement for all individuals 19 and older is 0.8 grams of protein per each kilogram of bodyweight per day. This is (unfortunately) still recommended by many in the nutrition world. This level was set as a bare bones minimum to help maintain proper nitrogen balance in the body and prevent a nutritional deficiency.

If you are reading this blog, you likely exercise pretty regularly, and possibly match one of the 3 scenarios stated above in some way. 

For most of my clients, regardless of goals, I recommend .8-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Another common recommendation if we have calculated a calorie goal, is 30-35% of calories from protein.

Example: 55-year-old, 5′ 6″ – 170-pound woman looking to lose body fat – works out 3 days per week, moderately active (8000-10000 steps) otherwise.

In this case, her goal based off of body weight would be 136-204 grams of protein per day.

Because of her age, height and weight, and she is trying to lose fat, I would go with the percentage of calories. Using my method of calculating her goal calorie intake, she should be eating right around 2000 calories per day. 35% of 2000 = 700/4 cals/gram of protein = 175 grams of protein.

175 grams of protein! That’s a ton! This picture shows 70 grams…

I have found, especially for many of my female clients, that is a high number that they are not used to. When looking through their intake journals, I often see 60/70/80 grams per day. Maybe close to 100 if they do a shake.

So how can you get your protein numbers up, without going over your calorie goal?

You need to track your intake, and see if you are even hitting your calorie goal, then look at where those calories are coming from. In the above scenario, 1400 calories is not a whole lot. If we are looking for 122 grams of protein, then the other calories coming from carbs at fat should be right around 155g carbs, and 35g fat.

155 grams of carbs and 35 grams of fat per day are not hard to hit in our culture. You could easily be hitting our 1400 calorie goal, but you may be getting 60% from carbs, 30% from fat, and 10% from protein.

You need to reconfigure where your calories are coming from and skew them more towards getting your protein intake up, and carbs down. Luckily, carbs and protein are isocaloric – 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories. Simply cutting back on carbs, and replacing them with some protein is a good start.

Here are 5 ways you can up your protein intake (just make sure you are replacing something in your diet with them – instead f just adding them in)

1. Spread your protein out. I have written on here about the importance of protein at breakfast, and this is a great place to start. Trying to get at least 1/4 of your protein goal at breakfast is a good number to reach for. Eggs, Greek Yogurt, and protein smoothies are all great sources to incorporate into your breakfasts.

Be spreading your protein out throughout the day, this will make that huge number seem much more attainable, and help you get much closer to it than you’d think.

2. Base each meal around protein. Make sure you have a protein source at every single meal you eat, and in every single snack you eat. Ladies, start with a palm size portion. This will be right around 20-25 grams of protein if it is coming from a meat source. Guys, shoot for a hand size – 40-50 grams of protein. For snacks, reach for jerky, nuts (watch the fat intake) or just have a protein shake.

While I’m not a fan of multiple shakes/meal replacements during the day, adding one can help you get to your goal, and feel fuller longer.

3. Up your intake per meal. Once you have incorporated protein at each meal, try having just a little bit more than you usually would. Generally speaking, most animal proteins contain about 7 grams per ounce of meat – especially in the leaner meats. What does an ounce look like? See below.

IMG_3347

This chicken breast was 6.3 ounces. Here you see what 4 and 1 ounces looks like as well.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SCALE I USE, AND RECOMMEND TO ALL CLIENTS

Adding one ounce of protein per meal may not seem like a lot, but over the course of a day and a few meals, it can add up to an additional 20-25 grams. If your calorie numbers are pretty stable at your goal intake, make sure you are replacing something with the added protein. Cut back on your starchy carbs at the meal, even just by the same volume of the protein you added. Add 1 ounce of protein, remove one ounce of rice, etc.

4. Add in a protein shake. As stated above, I am not a fan of adding in multiple shakes during the day. I want my clients’ intake to come mostly from whole foods. However, starting with a protein shake post workout, or as a late afternoon snack might be all you need. Especially in my clients who follow more vegetarian style diets, protein numbers can be very hard to hit. You want to look for a powder that contains whey protein and provides 20-30 grams per scoop. That is a good starting point.

Try this, or this one, my two favorites!

5. Replace your carbs with protein-carbs. Replacing something like rice or pasta with beans can make a huge swing in your protein intake. The same amount of rice and beans will contain close to the same amount of calories (the beans are slightly less) but the beans will contain 4 times the protein. A half cup of rice is just about 2 gram of protein, while a half cup of beans is 8. While this may not seem like a lot, remember, it all adds up throughout the day.

Try these 5 tips for increasing your protein intake throughout the day. You may still not hit your goal number, but you will be much closer and will probably find that you feel more full, fat starts coming off easier, and you might just start lifting heavier as a side effect.

How should you start?

Figure out how much protein you currently eat daily. Is it 60 grams? Great! Is your goal according to calculations 120 grams? That means you need to double your intake!

That can be a pretty hefty challenge. So here is where you should start:

Aim to get 10% more next week – and maintain for two weeks. Average 60 this week? Get 66 grams a day for the next 2 weeks. Then 73 grams each day the following 2 weeks, and so on.

Throughout this process, only focus on your protein numbers. Believe it or not, many times the rest of your macros (fat and carbs) will adjust accordingly on their own.

Give it a try, and let me know if you need more help!

 

Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!

Stay healthy my friends,