This is the very first Feature Friday post and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. Have you been screaming at your body to up its protein levels? Well, lucky for you, the lovely Courtney from this blog right here is doing a guest blog feature about a better way to get there that isn’t verbal abuse and doesn’t make your voice raspy. How well is life working out for you today, my friend? I would have to say pretty well.
Hey all! I’m Courtney, a 22 year old science nerd from Arizona that loves everything related to nutrition and fitness. My hobbies include Netflix documentaries, predicting the diseases in House M.D. and buying Essie nail polish. I’m currently going to veterinary school in the deep south.
More importantly, I’m the protein expert. As someone who’s been vegan, vegetarian and an omnivore while maintaining a rigorous exercise schedule I’ve become very intimate with the topic of protein. Whenever someone finds out that I don’t usually eat animal products they’re quick to ask me the age old question, “But, like, how do you get your protein?” My favorite question to ask back? “How much protein do you eat in a day?” Most people have no idea, nor do they know how much they should eat. That’s where I come in!
Protein intake depends on your activity level. Obviously body builders need more protein than couch potatoes. Too much protein for your activity level can make you gain weight, and too little protein for your activity level can starve your muscles. Protein is made up of amino acids, essential and non-essential, that help to build strong muscles.
In order to determine your ideal protein intake, first determine your weight in pounds. Got it? Next, multiply it by your activity level.
If you’re a body builder, looking to gain muscle multiply your weight by .6-.9, depending. This is how many grams of protein you need a day.
If you’re a cardio junkie, meaning most of your exercise is cardiovascular, multiply your weight by .5-.7. If you’re a long distance, multiple times a week runner stick to .7, if you run a few miles a few times a week stick closer to .5.
If you’re an active adult that doesn’t fall into the two above categories, multiple your weight by .4-.6.
If you’re a lazy bum, multiple your weight by .4.
Want an example? I’m a 140 pound female. On days that I lift weights I try to consume about 80 grams of protein (about 140 x .6) and on days that I don’t, I stick to 70 grams of protein a day (about 140 x .5). I give the ranges because it really depends on each person. Some people need the higher protein, some don’t. I suggest start high and decrease as needed, simply so your muscles don’t suffer while you experiment.
There’s also a misconception that animal protein is the only way to get a lot of protein. This isn’t necessarily true, especially when you compare protein per calories.
1 large egg has 6.7g of protein in it and is about 78 calories, or 8.6 g of protein per 100 calories.
1 cup of chicken has 40.6g of protein for 211 calories, or 19.2g of protein per 100 calories.
1 cup of spinach has .9g of protein for 7 calories, or 12.8g of protein per 100 calories.
½ a cup of tofu has 10.3g of protein for 88 calories, or 11.7g of protein per 100 calories.
24oz of almonds have 6g of protein for 163 calories, or 3.16g of protein per 100 calories.
Imagine you only need 70 grams of protein a day. If you have a spinach salad of 3 cups of spinach, some almonds, a bit of tofu and 2 eggs you have 32.7g of protein in one meal! Adding chicken instead of tofu to this salad puts you at 61g of protein in one meal.
Protein is a seriously misunderstood guy. Knowing something as simple as how many grams you need a day and which foods are protein rich could steer you in the right direction for weight loss, a gain in strength, or even more energy during your run.