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Challenge Day 7-Protein!

Logs – due yesterday. What happens if you don’t turn them in? Same thing that happens if we still don’t have your applications…we have no information to move forward on!  Hop to it!

A common theme in the logs I’ve seen is protein intake. I feel like a mom harping on y’all to eat your veggies, only this time it’s eat enough protein to rebuild the muscle we’re breaking down in training and to help aid in strength gains. As you’ll see below in the “Protein Post”, keeping your protein intake up not only assists in muscle protein synthesis (making you stronger) but also in curbing your appetite and aiding in body composition improvements. So here we go!

TOPIC OF THE DAY:  PROTEIN

Proteins are made of amino acids, which are molecules of a certain structure.  There are 20 amino acids – 9 of which can only be obtained through food, whereas the others can be made by the body from other acids. So, important note here peeps:  you must eat protein in order to derive the health benefits from it!

For those of you in the fitness, bodybuilding circuits, you’ve heard of people supplementing with carnitine, right?  It’s readily available as a fitness supplement  Well, carnitine is a precursor for nitric oxide or “NO”.  Sound familiar?  I just saw someone at the box w/ a can of  “N.O. Explode”.  Nitric Oxide boosters have been among the most popular selling workout supplements due to their effectiveness at widening blood vessels to increase the flow of blood to exercising muscles. This effect is particularly beneficial to weight trainers as increased blood flow means the delivery of more nutrients, oxygen, and anabolic hormones to working muscles. It all adds up to key benefits that will enhance your performance for greater results.

Let’s use Wikipedia’s general definition here so as not to recreate the wheel:

Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. Aside from water, protein is the most abundant molecule in the body. Protein is found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin. Proteins also are utilized in membranes. When broken down into amino acids, they are used as precursors to nucleic acid (DNA & RNA) and vitamins.  Hormones and enzymes are also formed from amino acids in which they help regulate metabolism, support the immune system and other body functions.  Finally, protein is needed to form blood cells.

Proteins are one of the key nutrients for success in terms of sports. They play a major role in the response to exercise. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are used for building new tissue, including muscle, as well as repairing damaged tissues.

Thank you Wikipedia! 

And did you know the word protein comes from the Greek word πρώτειος (proteios) “primary” or “of prime importance”.

Like carbohydrates and fats, proteins are made of unique combinations of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.  What separates protein structure from that of carbohydrate and fat is that protein also contains nitrogen and a few other elements unique to its structure and function.

We must supply ourselves with fresh protein daily, since proteins are constantly needed to replace the wear and tear of our tissues and keep up the protein concentration in the blood serum. Protein can take the place of some fat and carbohydrate, but fat and carbohydrate cannot serve in place of the body’s need for protein. That is why protein, from a good source, must be consumed daily.


WHERE DO WE GET IT?

So, generally we know where protein comes from, right?  Say it with me:

an·i·mal/ˈanəməl/

Yep!  Eggs (almost equal amounts of protein and fat), chicken, fish, beef, etc.  This may sound bad, but if it had a face, feet or wings…if it roamed, flew or swam, and generally, if it could reproduce, it’s protein.

And you CAN get protein from nuts and some plant-based sources, but many times they’re incomplete proteins (e.g some grains like rice, beans…) which must be combined to create protein in a form that your body can use.  Or protein is not the primary macronutrient in that food, but rather fat or carbohydrate is.  Protein sources from animals, mammals, fishes…tend to be more bioavailable meaning your body can more easily and efficiently draw what it needs from this macronutrient.


WHAT DOES PROTEIN DO?

Proteins perform numerous valuable functions in our bodies.  They are ESSENTIAL to robust health.

  • Proteins function within your immune system as antibodies which defend against disease.
  • Proteins are necessary for muscle contraction. There are specialized proteins located within your muscle cells to create and maintain muscle contractions and movement.
  • Proteins are essential to many processes requiring enzymatic reactions such as digestion.
  • Proteins exist as hormones to regulate metabolic processes (such as glucose metabolism).
  • Proteins of a specific strength and structure exist to build and repair cells and stabilize cell integrity.  Keratin, elastin and collagen (think hair products promoting keratin and collagen and strengtheners) are an example of these. They’re also essential in the structural integrity of your tendons and ligaments.  This is especially important if the body is growing rapidly, injured, or under stress.
  • Proteins provide  energy if sufficient carbohydrates and fats are not supplied by the diet

HOW MUCH SHOULD WE GET?

The topic of how much protein we should consume is an interesting one.   Protein is measured in grams, and sometimes we talk about it as a percent of total calories.  Either way, this is the way we look at it.  If you are CrossFitting, if you are trying to gain muscle mass, or lose body fat…a good rule of thumb is .75 to 1.0 gram per pound of body weight (and if you’re well above your ideal body weight, then pick a number in between where you are and your ideal body weight). Or, if we look at it as a percent of calories, between 25-35% of your total calories from protein.  There’s an upper limit of 30-35% of calories over an extended period of time, as your liver is only able to process protein up to this point.   So, if you weigh 150 lbs, your target (for easy math) would be to try to get 150 grams of protein a day.  This is a general starting point…GENERAL!  Not individual and not specific!  If you come to us and you eat no protein or very little ( because your life is diet cokes, apples and Cheerios!), we’ll not ask that you consider 150 grams of protein right off the bat.    So how do we do this?  How to we figure out how much protein is in what we’re eating, and how to increase it, if that’s our goal?  Use this general rule of thumb: 1 ounce of protein AVERAGES 7 grams of protein.

  • 1 egg = 6-7 grams (of protein)
  • 3 oz of chicken breast, beef or pork = 20-25 grams (the more fat, the less protein per ounce)
  • 3 oz of fish = 20-25 grams (again, the leaner the fish, the more protein per ounce)
  • 1 oz of nuts = 4-6 grams
  • 8 oz dairy (milk) = 8 grams

I didn’t list protein from grain/legume sources as I don’t want this to post to be about combining proteins to get a complete protein (or complimentary proteins).

Knowing how to get protein now, how do we schedule it in?  Any of you who’ve sat with me do draw this out will remember this: (150 gram example)

Breakfast goal:  35 grams  –  which might be 2-3 eggs, 2-3 oz ham (plus other stuff, maybe)

Snack:  20 grams , 3 oz beef jerkey

Lunch  35 grams, 5 oz chicken breast (plus other stuff, right?)

Snack  20 grams, 1 oz sunflower seeds, 2 egg whites + 2 whole eggs, boiled,  chopped up with some onions and about 1 Tbsp mashed up, ripe avocado (weirdo egg salad)

Dinner  30 grams, 4-5 oz Ahi tuna

These are just examples, of course, and are solely the protein part of the meal.  Missing are lots of vegetables, healthy fats and fruits to balance things out.


So, check your inboxes…emails are going out to help with logs and week 2 of this challenge. Hang tight guys!

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