All About Macros: Protein

Updated: Apr 22



Let's talk Protein.

If you’ve been around me for awhile or in any realm that includes fitness and health, you’ve probably heard about it.


You probably know that the number one thought of source of protein is meat.


But do you know what it actually is and what it does?


Protein contains amino acids, which work as building blocks for our cells. In our blood stream, we basically have a floating pool of these amino acids ready to replenish cells that need it. Think of that floating cooler on the river when you’re stuck alone in your tube.


Now, the downside to this floating cooler of amino acids is that some of the amino acids contained in it are essential or conditionally essential amino acids that are bodies either cannot produce or cannot produce in our current health state. That’s where we need protein. Protein is the guy on the raft who comes along and fills up that cooler with amino acids.


When we get adequate protein, we keep that amino acid pool full and ready to repair, replace and replenish cells that do a variety of things - produce enzymes, hormones, antibodies, etc. When we don’t get enough protein, our body has to make a choice as to what’s important and what isn’t.


So how much protein do we actually need?

Well, it depends.

Multiple agencies have calculated the minimum needed to prevent deficiency, which is ~.36g/pound for an “inactive, healthy adult” (I don’t know what an “inactive healthy adult” looks like...feels weird to type but ok). But if you have goals to lose weight or gain muscle, you’ll want to bump that up somewhere toward 1g/pound maximum.


The other fun perk about consuming enough protein? Your body will release the hormone called glucagon - which helps convert body fat into energy (yay!)

And if you’ve been warned that eating too much protein will destroy your kidneys and renal system - this is actually a myth. Even a large amount of protein 1.2g/lb consumed by someone with healthy kidneys poses no health risk. However, if you're taking away from other macros to eat high protein, you're losing out on other benefits. More on that later!


Need help fitting your daily protein in? The easiest way to do this is by taking your total protein (if you need help calculating, comment below and we’ll figure it out together!) and divide it by the number of meals you want to eat a day.

Example:

I eat 165g of protein a day. I work out twice a day and often lift really heavy.

My protein needs may be higher than yours.

I like to eat 4 meals OR double up on protein for one meal (usually dinner.)

165 / 4 =41.25g of protein per meal.