By Brian Woodford, Director of Nutrition
Protein, protein, protein…. A word that goes hand in hand with reaching goals. However, through my endeavors I have found that many people just don’t get enough of this wonderful macro nutrient into their daily intake. I have found that many over estimate the amount of protein they take in and UNDER estimate the amount of carbohydrates they take in! Hard to believe right?!? As we dig into this I want to be able to answer one important question for you: “Am I eating enough protein?”
What is Protein?
Let’s start from the ground up so we know what we are dealing with here. Protein is a macro nutrient that is ESSENTIAL to building muscle mass. It is commonly found in animal products, but is also present in nuts and legumes (beans). Now to the big time male gym goer this sounds great but not so much for Ms. Jones who just wants to lose weight or tone up. However, it is important to know that when protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass which will help with your metabolism. Yes that means it can help ramp up your metabolism or how fast we break down food in your body. News flash, when your body is working on the inside to break things down you are burning calories! Exciting right?!?! Moral of the story, eat more protein to help speed metabolism which in turn will help you ramp up caloric burn!
What is enough?
Dependent on your goals, most humans should take in about 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass broken up into 5 or 6 meals. Don’t know how much of you is lean mass? Go to your local Edge Fitness Clubs and ask for an IN-body scan and that will give you all the information you need for this. For example, if Ms. Jones is 150lbs and 30% body fat then her lean mass is 105lbs. Therefore, she should eat about 21g of protein 5 times a day. Sounds like a lot right? It’s not as bad as you think. Here are some examples of what 20g of protein looks like: 1 scoop of Dotfit Whey smooth protein found at The Edge, 3 oz. of chicken breast or turkey breast, 5 egg whites (hard boiled is fine), 3 oz. of canned tuna, 4 oz. of lean beef, etc. Again, if your goals are accelerated muscle build then you must eat more.
Am I eating enough?
First and foremost, you must determine what your goal is. We need to know that first. If you don’t have a goal and are just following RDA guidelines then follow my recommendation above. Majority of people are not eating enough. I would suggest you take a look at what you are eating now and keep a log. You can use an app for this or good old fashioned pen and paper. After you have compiled a full day of information then it is time for you to do some research. How much protein is in those 2 tbsp. of peanut butter I just ate? How about the cheeseburger I just inhaled? Is it a good source of protein? Meaning how was it prepared? Boiled, baked, grilled, or broiled? After you compile all this information find out how much of you in lean muscle mass like I mentioned before. Once you know that, divide that number by the number of times a day you will eat. Using our example above, Ms. Jones has 105lbs of lean body mass and eats 5 meals a day. Therefore, she should be eating about 21 grams of protein daily.
There are many other factors that play into this consumption. Lifestyle, work commitments, children, time, etc. It is unrealistic to think many are going to sit down and prepare well rounded meals all the time so that is why protein shakes are so important. It is a quick and effective way to make sure you are getting more protein in. Macro nutrients are very important and having plenty of them in our body is what will help us reach The Edge in Life that we are looking for!!