Rule Number One…Eat Enough Protein

“The only secret to food combination is the balance of protein, carbs and fat – they all play a key role in your health.” Jorge Cruise

So if the secret balance of health is the interplay between carbs, fats and protein; how do we fit all those pieces together and make an optimal nutrition plan for ourselves?  Most people try to make this super complex, so let’s make it stupid simple shall we.

Rule #1 - Eat enough protein

Let’s talk about protein.  This is the easy part.  We need optimal protein sources to survive and function optimally.  We can only make some of these essential protein building blocks, also known as amino acids, therefore we need to eat them regularly in order to have what we need.

If you boil it down into pure science protein is comprised of amino acids that help build up all the things in our bodies.  We’re basically big bags of water with protein structures containing that water.  It’s pretty generic, but you get the idea.

We can’t keep all those individual cells operating correctly without enough amino acids to help build things like cell walls, muscle tissue, enzymes, hormones and all the other stuff that makes us human and functioning.  So without protein we can’t make “stuff”.  We can’t make new muscle tissue.  We can’t make new hormones.  We can’t grow hair and nails, basically without enough protein we’re not going be able to make anything well.

Keep Your Protein Constant

Most experts will agree that most active people will run great on about 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.  So make it stupid easy and start off with trying to hit 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.  For a 200lb man this is about 4-6 chicken breasts or a 120lb woman about 3 chicken breasts per day.

Most men can hit there protein requirements right off the bat pretty easily.  It’s not uncommon for us gents to pack away at least a 9oz t-bone (about 65 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat in one serving) no questions asked and then of course we’re onto the roasted potatoes and whatever else is on the plate.  It makes it easier for the guys to hit protein requirements and often men need to measure or control their protein portions more than the females in order to lose those extra pounds of fat.

Rule #2 - Guys you can probably lay off some of the protein

Women on the other hand tend to always fall short of their protein requirements. They’re much more apt to reach for the juicy hunks of fruit and starchy carbohydrates than stick with a couple slices of lean meat, which doesn’t help them much in terms of fat loss and controlling hunger.  Not to mention they lack the necessary resources to build a lean frame of lean muscle tissue and lose stubborn body fat.

The overall recommendation for these young ladies is to try and eat a bit of protein with each meal and ensure to supplement your post workout period with a protein shake with about 30-60 grams of protein.  This helps ensure getting adequate protein amounts throughout the day without having to slog through mountains of chicken breast and steak.

Rule #3 - Ladies you need more protein, so get after it.

So for all those ladies that avoid eating protein at all costs because it’s going to make them huge, this is a big mistake.  Not only is it counterproductive to what you’re trying to do, build lean muscle and burn fat, but you also can’t have that healthy looking hair and nails that you spend countless hours curling, straightening and coloring to get that look just right.  So go right ahead and skimp on all those extra protein sources and have that bagel it's sure to add more to your waistline than develop that curvy, sexy body you desire.

You can do whatever you desire.  Just depends on what you want to do. And if you're after losing weight or sustaining fat loss, adding enough protein into your diet is essential.  It should be the first thing you focus on when you're trying to start any sort of nutritional protocol.

Protein.  You need it.  Eat it.  Eat enough of it, just not too much.  Too much of anything is bad.

Remember, it's all in the combination.

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Jess Howland

Jesse "Captain Smash" Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold's Gym. He's a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.