Wish to get strong and lean? Eat your protein. This post examines why we may struggle to get enough of this important nutrient into our diets, what we can do about it and why we should care.

An interesting fact, the word protein comes from the Greek protos, emphasizing its top tier status in our diets.  Protein is most commonly found in animal products though you will also find it in nuts, beans and dairy sources.  Canada’s Food Guide offers you a basic review of protein sources. Signs your diet might be protein deficient are:

  1. Sugar cravings on a regular
  2. Thin hair and nails.
  3. Feeling anxious, moody.
  4. Disrupted sleep.
  5. Muscle loss.
  6. Not making gains in the gym despite hard work.
  7. Low energy, more frequent illness.
  8. Injuries slow to heal.

Unsure about your intake? CrossFit’s Nutrition Guide offers you a simple framework as a starting point.  First rule.  We want 30 percent of our diet to come from protein.  Amounts will vary based on an individual’s weight and activity level.  To determine what your 30 percent should look like, take your bodyweight and times it by your activity level noted below.  This calculation will give you an amount in grams per day.  To convert that into calories, take the grams and multiply it by 4 (1 gram protein = 4 calories) and you will have your calorie allotment. See examples below.

Activity levels are calculated as follows:

0.8         Sedentary. No regular physical activity. I sit at a desk, in a car and go simply from a to b.

0.9         Moderately active.  I work out three times a week and move about during the day.

1.0          Active.  I work out 4 to 5 times a week with vigour.

1.1-1.2    Very Active. I train for sport seven or more hours a week.

Examples:

A 200 lb person would require:

200 x .8 = 160 grams of protein daily in an inactive statee, x .9 = 180 grams if moderately active, x 1 = 200 grams if active and x 1.1 = 220 if very active.

A 140 lb person would require:

140 x .8 = 112 grams of protein if sedentary, x.9 = 126 protein grams if moderately active, x. 1 = 140 protein grams if active and x 1.1 = 154 grams if very active.

If you calculate grams into calories it does not look that onerous.  For me, currently, I am looking at 430 calories a day from protein (108 grams). It is not that much. Theoretically, it shouldn’t be that hard to meet that target. But it is.

Top reasons we can fall short in our protein consumption:

  1. Lack of convenience. Good quality proteins generally need to be cooked and prepared. Sliced chicken breasts are not sold in coffee shops and bakeries.
  2. We are used to eating a certain way. Toast for breakfast or cereal. Creatures of comfort.
  3. Giving in to cravings brought on by not having enough protein in our diets, creating a vicious circle which can be difficult to break.
  4. Not wishing to eat meat but finding it hard to get protein from other sources.
  5. Bombarded with processed foods at every turn, tempting us and clouding our judgements.

So how do you make eating enough protein part of your daily routine? Keep in mind the challenges noted above. Shop when you are not hungry, batch cook chicken and meats, enough to last a couple of days, invest in a scale. First, identify your protein targets and develop a way to track it. Change your mindset. Consider it a fun experiment, not a deprivation journey. You are adding a power punch to your meals.  Commit to ensuring every meal packs at least a third of your protein requirement for the day. Simplify the task. Create a list of protein sources you like and figure out how much protein is loaded into each serving.  Start on the low end of grams per day. If in doubt underestimate your activity level to calculate it.

Setting a daily protein goal and meeting it will leave you feeling stronger and even more fit!   A great reward for your efforts.  Protein is your pal.

ZWOD 1.12.2022

QOD:  What is something that always makes you laugh?

Warm up

2 rnds (1 minute each)

Hip swings  L/R

Crawl

Scales to back lunge L/R

Hollow

Goblet squats

Tech

Workout movements and variations

WOD

Touch of Tabata

Tabata handstand hold

1 minute rest

Tabata Step ups

1 minute rest

Tabata L-sit hold

1 minute rest

Tabata Pistols

Cool down