Blog Header Image

Wendy Shafranski


February 9, 2024

Get Your Protein!

Protein is a hot topic. Us coaches talk about it a lot. Many are confused due to mixed messages - documentaries (with an agenda) telling us that protein is bad, articles saying protein is dangerous in large amounts, some in the medical community claiming it damages your kidneys. Luckily, more research has been circulating about the benefits of high protein, including that the body can handle more than 30 grams of protein at a time, that it's key for bone density and that it accelerates recovery.

We are fans of protein and preach prioritizing it for the following reasons:

  • It builds muscle (and helps retain muscle), which is especially important as we age. In fact, the older you are, the more your protein needs increase to help combat sarcopenia.
  • It provides all the essential amino acids your body needs. (Our bodies use amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes.)
  • It can help speed recovery.
  • It’s satiating, meaning it keeps you full, which is a benefit when trying to lean out.

In our opinion, if you’re following the government’s protein recommendation, you aren’t getting enough. The amount of protein we believe you SHOULD be eating is actually 100% more than the RDA guidelines!

According to this study - - higher amounts of protein are safe and support muscle gain, fat loss and aging.

To the point that some people say that protein is unhealthy, I will use myself as an example. I eat at least 150 grams of protein per day and I also get regular bloodwork, all of which is in an optimal range. Here are a few numbers from my testing that was done this month: 189 for total cholesterol; HDL is 86 and LDL is 88. As far as kidney tests, my creatinine is at a .8 and BUN is at 22.

Animal proteins (meat, poultry, fish) are superior to plant proteins for building muscle. That’s because animal proteins contain more essential amino acids per gram, and are better digested and absorbed. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you should probably be supplementing with aminos (this isn’t necessary if you do eat animal protein) and possibly B and other vitamins. Get a comprehensive blood panel to see if you are lacking anywhere.

If you work out, protein is key. A systematic review has determined that, in order to preserve the muscle you’ve built, you need to eat approximately 0.9-1.2 grams per pound of total bodyweight. To keep it simple, we suggest you eat as many grams of protein as how many pounds you weigh (if you weight 200 pounds, eat 200 grams).

If you are currently low on protein, ratchet it up slowly. Aim for .6 grams per pound of body weight and then increase every few weeks.

Here are a few tips to make sure you get your protein:

  • Make sure to eat a high-protein breakfast so you’re not behind when lunch rolls around.
  • Eat a hearty amount of protein with every meal and snack.
  • Supplement with a shake, if necessary.

We hear more people than not say that protein is hard for them to get in, but, I know you can do it! In order to give some examples, Marina, Rob and I tracked for a day and you can see the numbers below. Beyond the amount of protein, I hope you notice the lack of processed foods!

Let’s start from the highest (I am sure you can guess who that is!).

Here’s a typical day for Rob:

Welp, he eats a lot! He weighs in at around 205 pounds and consumes over 310 grams protein on most days. Calories are around 4,000. Some days he has a carb with dinner, but lately he isn’t doing that. I’m not suggesting you eat this much, but just proving that it can be done. Rob, with a bunch of muscle and a history of eating a lot, has revved up his metabolism to this level and it’s sustainable for him.

Now for Marina:

Marina’s calories are usually 2300-2600 per day. Like Rob, she prefers eating often and clocks in five meals. Marina isn't afraid to eat and is really good at getting her fruits and vegetables in. Again, check out all the whole foods.

And finally, me:

That puts me at 153 grams for the day, which is slightly more than my body weight. It’s a little low for me, as I am typically around 170 grams. As long as I hit 146 (my weight), I am happy. My calories are at a minimum of 2000 most days. I tend to eat three large meals and don’t snack. But, if I’ve had a day where my protein seems to be a bit low, I will supplement with a shake. I don’t do protein bars, as the whole foods varieties don’t usually have a lot of protein (I’m looking for at least 20 grams) and the ones that do are highly processed.  I’m concentrating on getting more carbs in order to gain a bit of muscle and strength.

Albeit long, I hope this article was enlightening! And inspires you to get enough protein in. Although it can be a pain, I suggest tracking for the short term in order to realize what a day should look like.

We love questions, so if you got ‘em, let’s talk!

Continue reading