Protein - What's the Big Deal?

In the health + fitness world, we're constantly talking about protein (and don't get us started on the other macros, carbs and fats - those need to each have their own blog posts!) A balanced diet with plenty of variety and all macro/micronutrient goals satisfied is key, but protein intake is definitely what we're asked about the most. So, let's get into it (yuh.)

** Note that this protein blog is focused more on muscle building/fat loss as goals, although the below "recommendations" can work for an abundance of goals/lifestyles/bodies. Always pivot to what your health providers + coach says about your protein intake + eating habits. This is just a general blog post after all!

Let's start with the basics. Depending on your dietary needs, you may be consuming your proteins from a variety of sources. They could be animal based, like chicken, beef, eggs, or pork, or maybe plant based (lentils, beans, tempeh or tofu.) Protein powders and bars (both can be animal based or vegan) also check the appropriate boxes, although they often have the other macros - carbs and fats - present. There are also foods that crossover between the macro-nutrients - for example, peanut butter and some cheeses count as fats usually, but could also be considered protein sources depending on the meal and what it's paired with. In our experience, most folks get this part nailed down - it's the amount they should be eating daily that trips them up. The general rule of thought for most people is that you should be getting 0.7-1.0 g of protein PER lb of your body weight. That means if you weigh 170 lb, you should aim to get between 119-170g of protein in a day. Now, a typical scoop of protein powder has about 25g of protein in it. A 4 oz serving of chicken breast (a piece of chicken that's roughly the size of a palm) is 35g of protein. Considering that + your proposed body weight, if a portion of protein rich food is around 20-40g of protein per serving, you need roughly 3-5 servings of protein a day to meet your goal. (If you're heavier or lighter, you may need bigger or smaller servings.) That's not so daunting a task, is it? But that leads us to another issue we see our members and clients ruminate on - what's the best meal plan/eating pattern for muscle gain/fat loss? (Again, if that's the goal - there are plenty of other goals that are worthy, but we'd be here forever if we tried to cover every single one!)


Now here's where we may say something that might be controversial. You might've heard some fitness experts say that you should eat small meals every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism moving quickly, or that you should avoid eating past 6pm or 8pm or 9pm, and don't even get us started on fasting or keto diets. The bad news is, there is no one right answer. Everyone's schedule, needs, and bodies are different, and there's no one way or magic pill to reach your goals. (Although we will say, severe restriction and depletion will not sustainably get you there. We're really focused on sustainability and long term wellness around here!) The good news is, the right answer is whatever eating pattern feels comfortable and accessible to you. So whether you're a carnivore or a vegan, an intermittent faster or a grazer that snacks all the way up to bedtime, if it works for you and you can stick to it while feeling satisfied and happy, then that's the meal plan for you! If you need more guidance, a good health coach will construct your meal plan around your needs, finances and habits - you shouldn't have to change your entire life to eat well, feel good in your body and be nourished - really!


TL:DR; main takeaways //

  • For muscle gain/proper recovery, the general rule of thumb is that you should be eating 0.7-1g of protein per lb of your body weight.

  • Eating patterns (as in frequency/schedule of your meals) matter way less than what/how much you actually eat. Make sure you're eating enough and not restricting yourself too much, in whatever eating pattern/style that works best for you and your needs.

  • A good nutrition/health coach will make sure your meal plan fits you and what you need/can afford - not the other way around!

Still confused? You're in luck! We have nutrition based health coaches on staff here at Phenom that can make you a custom meal plan, tailored to you and your needs. Contact us via the website or email info@phenomfitnessnc.com to get started!


Thanks for reading,

Brittany G.

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