Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  It seems every week someone walks in and brags about how much protein they are eating.  They grin and wait for me to tell them how proud I am of them…well, today I’ve got the low down on protein for you.  If you’ve got questions about today’s blog or you would like to learn what to eat that you should be proud of, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Protein is great. I want you to eat it, but a lot of people have the wrong idea about how much of it to eat.  Imagine that, misunderstanding something when the internet encourages every different opinion on the matter. The myth is:

More protein = more muscle = more fat burning: wrong.

In theory, the formula is true. Protein is essential for building muscle. The more muscle you have the more your metabolism will rise. Higher the metabolism the more fat that is burned. Here’s where the misinterpretation happens when people conclude this means that by eating multiple servings of protein throughout the day it will compound the effect.  Not true.

If you over consume protein daily, you can develop things like kidney stones and other painful issues. You don’t want to overdo it. You may not realize, but research shows that your body cannot absorb more than 30 grams of protein per meal. If you are a person who sits down for lunch with a  protein shake, handful of nuts, a slice of cheese, and finishes it all off with a steak…your body is only going to be absorbing 30 grams of that approximate 82 gram meal.  That’s a 36.5% absorption and 63.5% your body is excreting. Talk about money down the toilet.

People are eating enormous amounts of protein in hopes that, that will get them where they want to be. As a personal trainer in Amarillo for almost two decades I’ve seen people add protein to just about everything. Protein bars and P3 and protein powder, oh my! You have to balance your foods with the protein for your body to respond in the way you want it to. Yes, protein is indispensable for muscle building, but so are the vitamins and minerals you need for the body to function at its baseline. I like to say that the protein junkies are spot fueling rather than fueling their entire body.   People come in asking to “spot reduce” by saying they only want to tone up their arms, or their abs, or whatever area of their body they are unhappy with.  You can’t just spot-fix one area just like you can’t spot fuel with one vitamin, mineral, or compound. You need to look at, train, and feed the body as a whole in order to get anywhere with your goals.

One serving of protein per meal is 20-30 grams. That is approximately the size and thickness of your palm. If you’re just eating a slice of lunch meat that fits in your palm, that’s not enough. It has to meet both thickness and size to eyeball it at 20-30 grams. Consuming a serving of protein at each meal will give our body the amount it needs to build muscle without having to dispose of the rest and send your body into disorder. If you want to add a little bit extra you can do that in the form of a protein shake.

Protein shakes seem to be in vogue now. Everybody seems to have a protein shake in hand at some point or another throughout the day.  Some even go as far as to accessorize their shake cup with their outfits.  That’s great, but only if you’re drinking them in moderation. If your goal is lose weight and you are dining on two protein shakes and one sit down meal a day, you’re not eating enough calories; of course you will lose weight. Liquid does not provide the full nutrition your body needs, nor does it keep you feeling full.  

Obviously people are losing weight via shakes which is getting them stoked to keep going. However, losing weight is not about shedding the number on the scale. Your goal is to lose fat.   You can lose weight by cutting off your arm. You can lose weight by wasting your muscle mass. Neither of those are healthy.

Set your sights on losing fat and building muscle. You want to be lean and strong, not light and sloshing with liquid. People believe losing weight will bring about happiness. It’s not the weight that’s the issue. Losing weight instead of fat just gets you into a cycle of sickness and fatigue. What they actually mean when they picture themselves having lost those burdensome pounds is they are lean and fit.  If you are drinking more than one shake a day without doing a high intensity exercise to burn it off, you’re asking for trouble.  I often recommend that clients limit themselves to only one shake a day. If you are going for bulking up, you want to drink your shake during or immediately after your workout. If you’re just using it as a snack, try eating solid food or enhancing your shake to make it a full meal replacement. You can up your shake game by mixing in some vegetables (or veggie powders),  protein, and a healthy fat or two. This will help you get to your weight loss goal of being lean and strong.

Consuming shakes on a regular basis, without the full nutrients from veggies and healthy fats and/or you aren’t exercising, then you start to gain a spare tire around your midsection. Shakes are packed with more sugar than a steak or plant based protein. No exercise and drinking shakes will help your midsection grow, not shrink. Make sure if you are drinking a shake, limit it to once a day and make it a full meal replacement with vegetables, protein, and a healthy fat. You can add carbohydrates like fruit as well for an after workout recovery.

Nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modification is a delicate balance.  You have to have all three if you want to achieve long term results. You can search high and low for a magic bullet, but you’ll be sorely disappointed in what you find. If you’re tired of going back and forth between fit and fat after trying the next big thing, try us on for size. We will get you results that will last and will integrate seamlessly into your life. Give us a call at 806-322-3188 or e-mail us at info@customfitness.biz.  At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day!