Protein: The Building Macro

Most of us are aware that macronutrients are broken down into three different categories: carbohydrates, protein and fat. And most of us know at least a little bit about each one of them. But how many of us actually understand each macro and why they are important?

Today we’re going to discuss the importance of protein. What is it? Why do we need it? How much do we need? Where should we get it from? Let’s talk!

First off, “Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks for all sorts of biological structures. The amino acids in proteins are necessary for building, maintaining, and repairing muscles, connective tissue like tendons and ligaments, skin, hair, and even your bones and teeth. In addition, most enzymes and many hormones in the body are actually proteins.”** Protein is also used to produce neurotransmitters and antibodies. It is also largely responsible for keeping you full and satisfied between meals.

Simply put, protein is necessary for your body to stay structurally healthy. It is important especially for those of us who work out a lot because our muscles need it in order to repair and recover from the exercise we do. If you aren’t eating enough protein, then it will be very difficult for you to continue getting faster, stronger and possibly even maintain where you are at now. Plus you’ll probably get hungry in between meals.

So how much protein do we need? Well, that depends on a couple of things. First off, it’s proportionate to how big you are. The bigger you are, the more protein you will need in order to maintain your current muscle mass. Second, how active are you? The more active you are, the more protein you will need.

We recommend starting out with eating a protein source that is about the size of the palm of your hand at each meal. Same height, width, and thickness as your palm. For females, that’s about 4-6 oz. For males, that’s about 5-7 oz. But that’s just for starters. If you are active, then you may want to eat more. Try starting out with our suggestions, and adding more to it if you still feel hungry after eating or if you find you are getting hungry quickly after meals.

So where should we get all this protein from? The best place to get protein is from high quality meats. Animal proteins are more rich in the amino acids that we need than plant-based proteins. Many common plant-based proteins can also cause inflammation and irritation in our small intestines, which can cause other issues throughout the body. Plant-based protein is good as a supplement to animal protein, but we recommend getting the majority of your protein from animal proteins.

As we discussed last week, it can be difficult to find high quality meat in conventional grocery stores. That is one reason why we have chosen to partner with Strauss Direct Meats. Their “CrossFit Box” is full of a variety of meats that can help you get your protein in. It’s high quality, comes in great portion sizes, and is delivered right to your door! Plus, we now get a 30% discount because of our partnership. You can learn more about our partnership with Strauss here and use the code “AOZC65QIY6JK” for 30% OFF First Order here!

*Photo from the Strauss Direct Instagram.

**Excerpt from “It Starts With Food” by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (Page 26)