Wish there was a simple and effective way to regulate your hunger levels, keep you fuller longer, increase your muscle mass, lean out, and support all your hard work in the gym?
Well you’re in luck, there is! And it’s as simple as eating more protein. When working with my clients I almost always find that one of the biggest things missing from their nutritional profile is a sufficient amount of protein, and I’m not surprised. With so much conflicting, confusing, and misleading (mis)information out there in the internet world, it can be tough to fully understand how much protein we really should be eating to support our goals.
It’s especially confusing because the RDA for protein intake is .3g per pound of body weight, meaning that for a 150 lb woman, that’s a daily intake of around 45g of protein per day.
However! The RDA is not (I repeat— is NOT) the suggested intake to thrive— instead, the RDA number is the number at which you won’t die. You need that as a BARE MINIMUM to be a functioning, alive human person.
Let’s not confuse barely hanging on and not dying, with an actual recommended amount to be healthy and feel like a million bucks.
So what intake allows us to actually thrive? To build muscle, to feel strong, for healthy bones and happy blood sugar and metabolism? It looks more like this: .8 to 1g of protein per pound of body weight, which moves us to something in the range of 120 to 150g of protein per day for a 150lb woman.
Yep you read that right. Per DAY. Where you sit on that .8 to 1g scale depends on your activity level, size, and individuality. And while you might not need to get all the way up to your body weight in grams each day, the bare minimum I recommend to any woman of any activity level is 100g per day. (And for most of my clients, the max I recommend is 150, regardless of bodyweight).
Listen, this can be a BIG adjustment for most people, and it can almost feel overwhelming. How the hell am I supposed to get that much protein in my system in a day?
I got you covered. Here are 5 ways to start upping your daily protein intake to help you start feeling like a badass in the gym:
Having a protein poor breakfast sets us up to not only be ravenous throughout the day, but also gets our day started on a protein deficit, which is gonna have you scrambling to make up for it later (that’s no fun, trust me). Upgrade that oatmeal or 2 eggs and toast to something more substantial. Two eggs offer a puny 10g of protein in total (womp, womp), and is most certainly not enough to keep you feeling full until lunch time. (Pro tip: don’t drink your breakfast. Protein shakes might have a lot of protein but they digest quickly and won’t keep you full). Go for 3 eggs, add some sausage and/or cheese, and get that meal closer to 30g. Which brings us to our next point:
This takes some practice, but here’s a trick: Instead of planning out your meal, and thinking “maybe I should add some chicken to this salad” and thinking of protein as an addition or afterthought, START every meal with your protein source, and build the meal out around it.
One of my favorite strategies is putting a few chicken breasts in the slow cooker with some water on low. When they’re done, shred them
with a fork and store in Tupperware, and then get creative with your flavors and meals you make through the week. Cooking the protein on it’s own allows you to mix it up and add it to all sorts of different things, versus having the same meal every day and getting burned out. Prep in a way that makes sense for you.
Seafood is an amazing lean source of protein, dairy always packs a punch, and things like chia seeds and collagen are awesome additions that bump that number up. (Pro tip: while things like nuts, nut butters and legumes do have some protein, they are primarily fat and carb sources, respectively, and shouldn’t be confused as a protein source).
Key word: supplement. Shakes should not be used as meal replacements or in lieu of real, chewable food, BUT they can be a welcome addition to a well rounded diet to help you hit that daily number. The best time to enjoy sip-able protein is right after your gym sesh, since that fast digesting and absorbing protein will go right to your guns to help you repair and rebuild muscle tissue (read: welcome to Gainz Town, Population: you).
Getting a sufficient amount of protein is essential to your health, and it’s especially important if you’re active. Upping your daily protein can be the single most effective thing you can do for your mood, cravings, body composition and more— it’s a game changer. Though it can seem overwhelming getting 100-150g in a day, I hope these tips help you realize that with a little intention and prioritizing, it can be done!
ARE YOU PICKIN’ UP WHAT TAYLOR IS PUTTIN’ DOWN?
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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