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.

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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.

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Stay healthy my friends,

Sweat Out The Stress: 3 Tips You Didn’t Know You Needed

 

I talk a lot on here about the benefits of working out – weight training in particular – but one often ignored benefit is the power that exercise has on our emotional well being.

While exercise in itself is technically a stressor (intense exercise causes elevations in cortisol, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) – it can provide a ton of anti-stress effects and feelings to give you some pretty awesome benefits.

It has been found in numerous studies that  even just 5 minutes of physical activity can decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. I’m not claiming that a quick 5 minute run with make all your problems go away, but it might make you feel better.

So how does this all work? Is it from that feel good rush of endorphins we get? Maybe not…

When it comes to the “old” field of thought, exercise will increase your brains endorphins (your bodies endogenous – internal – opioids). However this is little evidence to support that this is a significant amount and we don’t see many hardcore gym goers looking like they are strung out on heroin.

Now many may say that they feel a “rush” of energy or improvements in mood during exercise – while exercise may increase endorphins slightly, the main reason we feel better during a workout is much more physical rather than hormonal – you are just moving, and the body is meant to move! Exercise increases blood flow, oxygen flow, and damn it just feels good to feel your body improving your time or weight lifted.

What has been proven – and is pretty neat, is how exercise helps improve your mind OUTSIDE of the gym

Exercise is technically a stressor on the body – it elevates cortisol – and the more intense the exercise is, the more elevation you get.

Just like training might be a form of practice for a sport or activity, training is also a form of practice for your bodies ability to handle stress outside of the gym.

Along with cortisol being elevated, the hormone norepinephrine (NE) rises as well. This is the hormone that is the target for elevation for most anti-depressant drugs. When NE rises, it forces the bodies systems (cardio, renal, muscular, nervous) to communicate better with one another, and manage stressful situations more efficiently.

So by exercising and increasing our NE during exercise, we are training out body to handle rises in cortisol more efficiently outside of the gym, and from our regular everyday stressors.

Now here’s a curveball…

As I have noted before, too much intense exercise (especially coupled with extreme dieting) is a big no-no and will only lead you down a path of wrecked bodies and hormones.

There is a popular quote out there that says something like “The Only Workout You Regret is The One You Missed”.

While this sounds badass and motivational, it’s wrong to a certain point.

The workouts you regret are the ones where you didn’t listen to your body and guilted your self into doing some crazy high intensity workout while going off of 3 hours of sleep, no food, and in a severely dehydrated state. You don’t get a medal of honor for being a tough guy or gal in this case – you get a weakened immune system, a possible injury, and a body overwhelmed by stress.

To get the stress relieving benefits of exercise you need to train – but it has to be smarter, and not harder.

Here’s how:

1) Workout’s are only as beneficial as your recovery.

if you aren’t sleeping enough, not eating enough, and not taking time to just chillax a little bit, you will not be getting much out of your workouts, and only setting yourself up for more frustration. People need to start listening to their bodies more. If you know you are tired, and underfed – go for a 30 minute walk instead of doing the latest 100 Burpee Challenge (the worst thing ever invented).

You will be fine, you will feel better, and you will be better prepared for your next actual hard session.

2) Exercise is VERY Important…but isn’t for weight loss.

Stop counting your calories burned from exercise. Read that again. Yes, a trainer is telling you this.

When we put the stress of “I’ve gotta burn X calories” we take the fun out of training. Here’s a buzzkill – your calorie burn trackers are inaccurate anyways.

Exercise has so many amazing benefits, but as a primary source for weight loss it’s a terrible idea and its a trap that many gyms like to sell people on…

Exercise is for health, strength, fun, stress relief, social interaction, longevity, vitality…but not weight loss.

3) Have a plan A and B for your workout.

Ever go to bed, thinking about how you are going to CRUSH the weights the next day, or burn the pavement up with your epic sprints…only to wake up feeling sore, beat up, and groggy?

Instead of trying to stick to plan A and grind through, keep a plan B in your back pocket. That doesn’t mean do nothing, but it means pick something that is less stressful. Your body is probably trying to tell you something here.

Maybe work on mobility, lower intensity cardio, a more dynamic effort workout (lighter weights for speed), or at least shorten up your intense part of your session and couple it with some lower intensity walking and foam rolling at the end.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a pass to start going “easy” on all your workouts – because most people truly don’t push themselves to an intensity that they can actually handle – but if you are a hardcore gym goer, and starting to feel a little burnt out, maybe it’s time to take a little step back and let your body level out a bit.

So next time you are feeling “blah”, go for a walk – even 5 minutes – and then assess what’s going on. That might be all you need, or you might be ready to toss around some weights – but either way, listen to your body, and keep the enjoyment in exercise.

 

 

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Stay healthy my friends,