Updated: Oct 25
"Muscle is perhaps the most important organ system as it relates to combatting our current health crisis, regaining exceptional health, and maximizing physical performance. Muscle is even more important as we age yet is often overlooked, even by modern-day medical practices. Muscle is fast becoming the 6th vital sign and is called 'the organ of longevity'."
~Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
The more active your muscles, the more likely you’ll have lower blood pressure, better cholesterol, and better blood sugar. Not only that, if you make it a habit, you’ll
improve your body composition by lowering body fat and will be less likely to gain it back. Muscle can help you manage your body composition and your body weight over a lifetime.
There are two ways we can stimulate and protect muscle:
1. Resistance training
Resistance training causes stress and breakdown in muscles. Protein consumption helps rebuild and repair. Participating in CrossFit 7220 WOD's on a regular basis, is an effective way to engage in muscle building exercise, but if we fail to consume adequate protein to support these activities, we are missing an important factor in building/maintaining muscle mass.
Protein isn't just about building muscle, it's vital for building and repairing all body tissue and to fight viral and bacterial infections. Immune system antibodies and cells rely on protein. Too little protein in the diet may lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, and poor immunity. Protein is also important for neurotransmitters which play a role in mood and sleep.
The PROvember Challenge will help you focus on protein intake while getting in those muscle building workouts.
Points for workouts:
The most points you can get for "muscle building" exercise is for 4 or more days/week--since we know most people choose to (and should) have some days off from resistance training.
Any exercise that uses resistance (body weight or equipment) counts for this. For the purposes of this challenge, we aren't counting exercises that are considered primarily metabolic conditioning such as: running, rowing, biking, burpees, swimming; but, most every CrossFit workout has at least one strength component paired with one of these activities which is why it's so effective!
If you are not doing a CrossFit WOD, use your common sense!
What counts? Bench Press: yes, of course! Push-ups: yep! Walking/hiking: great activity but won't get you points for this challenge.
Points for Protein:
How much protein should you eat?
Our goal is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. We know it's tough to get to this goal, let alone everyday, so you'll get points for coming close!
If you weigh 160 pounds:
5 points if you eat 160 grams of protein that day.
3 points if you eat 128 grams (80% of goal)
1 point if you eat 96 grams (60% of goal)
This means that each meal/snack will need to contain 30-50g minimum of protein!
Keep in mind this is grams of protein (not weight -like the 800 g Challenge)
For example, a chicken breast weighing 100 grams only has about 30 grams of protein. Yes, you will need a food scale and you will need to use an app or a website such as My Fitness Pal to figure out how many grams of protein you are consuming.
The intention is not to do this forever. After a month of weighing and using the app, you'll learn how many grams of protein each food contains and you and will be able to visualize portion sizes.
Since every gram of protein produces 4 calories, a 200 lb Individual will aim to eat 200 g of protein each day which means 800 calories of their total caloric intake should come from protein.
Register for challenge HERE!
Cost is $10.00 to cover prizes
*More on Protein Intake: Dr. Gabrielle Lyon: Since every individual has a different overall diet... there are two possible occurrences. The first is you are not getting enough protein. The other is you have no idea how much protein you’re actually getting in a day. On top of that, there are nebulous recommendations out there for protein intake. The current RDA for protein is set at 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass (or about 0.36 grams per pound), which equates to only 72 grams of protein per day for a person weighing 200 lbs.
Depending on your background and experience, this might sound absurdly low, relatively high, or you might feel neutral about it one way or the other. Nevertheless, the RDA exists for a reason... to keep you alive. The RDA is defined as the bare minimum to simply exist. That is, the RDA is designed to prevent deficiencies and provide for basic tissue repair and not much more. It doesn’t take into account active lifestyles or people who want to protect muscle and longevity as we age.
For a more in-depth look at protein, click here.
More information below about protein sources:
WHAT ARE THE BEST PROTEIN SOURCES OTHER THAN MEAT?
We all know that meat, eggs, and fish contain protein, but which plant-based foods are high-protein?
Do you need to worry about timing of protein intake?
Unless you’re an elite athlete or pursuing extreme fat loss or muscle gain, you don’t need to worry too much about when you get your protein. Eat protein when it makes the most sense in the context of your daily life.
Should you use protein powder?
While whole-food protein is best, it may not always possible to get all the protein you need from whole foods. Ultimately, there are two big reasons you might want to consider adding protein powder to your diet.
Convenience: In some cases, you just don’t have time to (or simply don’t want to) sit down and eat a whole-food meal.
Appetite: Other times, people don’t feel hungry enough to eat the amount of protein they need. This might happen when a person is:
But you don’t NEED protein powder to be healthy. It’s a supplement, not an essential food group.
What kind of protein powder is best?
Plant-based vs. animal protein
Animal protein options can be divided into two categories: milk-based and other animal protein sources.
Milk-based protein powders
The most popular and well-studied protein powders are made from milk. They’re all complete sources of protein.
Whey is usually recommended for post-workout shakes because it’s an incredibly high-quality protein that’s fast-digesting and rich in BCAAs. You’ll commonly see whey protein in concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed formulas. (More on what those mean in a moment—or you can jump right to our section on protein processing.)
Casein is often touted as the best type of protein powder to have before bed, since it digests more slowly. You’ll find it mostly in two forms: micellar casein (an isolate) and hydrolyzed casein. Since hydrolyzed casein is more processed and theoretically digests faster, it sort of defeats the purpose of opting for a slow-digesting protein.
Milk protein blends usually include both whey and casein and are marketed as the “best of both worlds.” The reason: They provide both fast- and slow-digesting protein.
Usually, you’ll see them on the label as milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate. You might also see them listed separately, for instance: whey protein isolate and micellar casein.
Some brands also sell mixtures of concentrate and isolate of the same type of protein. For example, you might see both whey concentrate and whey isolate in the ingredients list.
Other animal protein powders
For those who can’t or prefer not to use dairy products, there are several other types of animal-derived protein powder.
Egg white protein is often a good option for those who prefer an ovo-vegetarian (milk-free) source of complete protein.
Collagen is very popular right now as a skin, joint, bone, and gut health supplement. Collagen peptides, the most common form of collagen in supplements, are usually derived from bovine hide or fish. Some people also use it to boost their protein intake, and there are a few collagen powders marketed specifically as protein supplements.
Meat-based powders are often derived from beef, but they usually have an amino acid profile similar to collagen. That means they’re generally incomplete, lower-quality proteins. On the other hand, some research has shown that beef protein isolate is just as effective as whey protein powders for increasing lean body mass.14,15 However, more research is needed.
Bone broth protein is made by cooking bones, tendons, and ligaments under high pressure to create a broth. Then, it’s concentrated into a powder. Much of the protein in bone broth is from collagen. So, similar to collagen peptides, it’s not a complete source of protein.
Bone broth powder may be helpful for increasing your protein intake if you can’t have common allergens like dairy and soy, but it’s not ideal for use as a protein powder. This is especially true because bone broth protein tends to be expensive, and it hasn’t been well-studied for use as a protein supplement.
Plant-based protein powders
Not all plant-based proteins are complete proteins. We’re going to share which ones are complete and incomplete for your information, but just a friendly reminder: As long as you eat a varied diet with a mix of different protein sources, you’ll get all the amino acids you need.
Soy protein is effective for promoting muscle growth, and it’s also a complete protein. In fact, research shows soy protein supplementation produces similar gains in both strength and lean body mass as whey protein in response to resistance training.16
It’s also been the subject of much controversy, particularly when it comes to hormonal health. (If you want to dig deeper into soy, here’s more info.)
Soy is a fairly common allergen, so that may also factor into your decision.
Pea protein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, and usually inexpensive. It’s rich in amino acids lysine, arginine, and glutamine. Although as we mentioned earlier, it’s low in EAA methionine, so it’s not a complete protein.
Rice protein is also a good hypo-allergenic protein choice, and tends to be relatively inexpensive. It’s low in amino acid lysine, so it’s not a complete protein source.20
Hemp protein powder is made by grinding up hemp seeds, making it a great whole-food choice. Because of this, it’s high in fiber and a source of omega-3 fats. But like rice protein, hemp is low in lysine, so it’s an incomplete protein.11
Blends are common among plant-based protein powders. Often, they’re used to create a more robust amino acid profile, since different protein sources contain various levels of each amino acid. For example, rice and pea protein are frequently combined.