We (as coaches) often hear from members about these two things regarding protein:
1. “I have to eat how much?? That’s like a zillion chicken/beef parts, isn’t it?”
2. “I’m trying to eat more protein, but I’m having a hard time.”
Let’s back up a step. Typical protein recommendations for active humans range between 0.8 and 1.2 g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, and usually for simplicity’s sake we just say 1 gram/lb. So for example, for a 170 lb human, that means aiming for about 170 g of protein per day.
You need that protein to give your body the building blocks (amino acids) to perform daily maintenance on the body, replacing tissues, building muscle, etc. If you’re consistently physically active, it becomes especially important to make sure that you’re giving your body enough protein so that it can actually build the muscle that your exercise is telling your body it needs.
And yes, eating that much protein can feel like a lot, but the trick is to spread it out over the course of the day… hence the habit challenge of eating some with each meal or snack.
So just make a mental note of whether you’re actually getting some protein with each of your meals or snacks, and if not, think about how you could change that.
Say you’ve started tracking your protein, and you’ve discovered that you’re WAY under your target. Say you’re aiming for for 190 g and you’re only getting 100 g right now. Think of it like a back squat. If you wanted to squat 190 lbs and your current max is only 100, you don’t just load 190 lbs on the bar and hope for the best. No, you gradually work your way up to your goal. Try shooting for 120 g, and do that consistently for 2-3 weeks (or more), and then bump it up again.
Chances are that you’re going to feel better, stronger, and like you’re making quicker progress when you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to build and recover.
But don’t just take my word for it… try it yourself!