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Are You Eating Enough Protein To Build Muscle & Get Lean (For Crossfit Too)

June 21, 2016

It has long been established that eating a high protein diet is a great way to build muscle, get lean & improve performance for Crossfit?. That’s not a surprise to anyone. The mystery of protein still revolves around finding the optimal dose and perfect timing for the best results.

Are you eating enough protein?

While many bodybuilding magazines and pundit recommend upwards of 2 grams of daily protein, I’ve found that to be too much. For starters, most people, and you might be similar, don’t have the desire to constantly eat and feed. While you do need to consume more protein than you likely are right now, you don’t need to set a timer to eat more protein.

The majority of research studies on protein and athletes conclude that eating between 1.2 and 1.5 grams of protein per bodyweight daily is ideal for gaining muscle. This can come in any form such as grass fed whey or whole food sources.

Honestly, I personally don’t track the exact amount of protein that I eat. I know I consume roughly 50 grams of protein from whey protein post workout and that I have a protein source with every meal and I eat 4-6 times per day. Don’t beat yourself up over the daily number, instead aim to consume some protein source with each meal. You'll be closer to your optimal amount of protein than you think.

You also just need to pay attention to how you feel with any aspect of your diet. If you’re exercising hard then you really should consider doubling your protein intake. If you just want to eat more, then eat more and see how your body responds. But you MUST pay attention to how you feel when you bump up protein. If you're starting to have digestive problems then you might be eating TOO much protein. Odd I know, but it exists.

Eating more protein and burning fat.

Is there a relation between fat loss and protein intake?

While some studies do show a link, the more protein that you eat then leaner you get, it may have to do with the fact that eating more overall protein helps you feel full for longer so you snack and eat less carbohydrates and fat.

After all, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Additional studies have proven that protein is the most important macronutrient for weight loss. Interestingly enough, protein can also up regulate your metabolic rate for a slight metabolism boost.

The scientific term is the thermogenic effect of food (TEF). TEF refers to how each macrnutrients (protein, carbs and fats) impact your metabolism. Protein requires 2-3 times MORE digestion, on a calorie by calorie basis, than carbohydrates and fat.

This proves that we need to eat more protein, since more is lost due to digestion and it also proves that protein can be a very powerful on changing your body composition.

Protein also seems to stabilize blood sugar while helping to lower cardiovascular disease risks and lowering inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein.

Protein and Working Out

Ideally after a workout your best source of protein would come from whey protein. Whey protein is one of the better quality proteins available and contains a complete amino acid profile to trigger muscle protein synthesis. Additionally, whey protein stimulate healthy immune system function by raising glutathione which is one of our bodies most potent antioxidants.

In this sense, protein helps athletes increase their recovery while preventing muscle wasting. We’re seeing such a huge increase in elderly individuals and muscle wasting populations to help prevent muscle breakdown.

Protein And Adrenal Fatigue

As discussed here, when you train hard you often end up beating your body down to the point that your recovery is limited and you may have a degree of HPA axis dysregulation. Since protein stabilizes blood sugar levels, it may boost energy and help to reduce a degree of brain fog and adrenal fatigue.

This is another reason why it is vital to get protein to help “reset” your metabolic function daily.

How to eat more protein without feeling like it’s a job.

As established, you should aim to increase your whole food sources of protein except around your workout time which is when you should choose whey protein and BCAA supplements. Quantity of protein also determines the source of protein as an athletic individuals isn’t going to be able to meet their individual protein depends with just whole foods alone. It may be a financial issue as well which is why I often simply recommend that you mix up your sources.

The problem with just eating more protein

I’m amazed that the bodybuilding community doesn’t discuss the issue of increased protein consumption and stomach acid. Most individuals are overstressed or experience a degree of small intentional bacterial overgrowth which limits their ability to breakdown and absorb protein. Throwing more and more protein in isn’t always going to be the best option. Conversely, an individual not consuming a lot of protein shouldn’t just double their intake over night.

Whole food sources contain fiber and other enzymes that can help your body break down protein more efficiently which is why I suggest a mix of whole food and whey protein sources. Other individuals have a degree of dairy intolerance that leaves them to feel bloated.

Grass Fed Whey Isolate Protein Vs Regular Whey Protein

What type of protein powder is best for you?

Dairy protein, whey, has the highest bioavailablity of any protein source making it the most ideal for consumption.

Bioavailability simply refers to the amount of protein that actually gets absorbed based off of what you ate. As mentioned above, whey protein is a complete protein which means that it has a complete spectrum of amino acids.

Ideally you should aim for a grass fed whey protein that is non denatured like The Physique Formula Grass Fed Whey since the cows were not given any antibiotics or hormones. Since The Physique Formula protein is grass fed, it is higher in immunoglobulins that have additional immune system benefits.