"Hard Time Eating Protein: Here's How + Why"(8.28.2015)

*Hard Time Consuming Protein: Here’s Why: By Mike Kesthley*

Protein is one of the 4 macro nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol are considered the other 3), and by far one of the most important.  As a nutritional coach, I concentrate on this in both sedentary clients and elite athletes with the same amount of emphasis. But some folks have a hard time eating the required amount, which is usually 1g/lb BW, or 1g/lb target BW. Why do some clients struggle with this? There can be a few reasons which I’ll outline below:

  1. Satiety Index: Protein has the highest satiety index out of any of the macros—that is, it causes you to feel “full” quicker, and longer, therefore decreasing appetite. One of the reasons for this is how protein affects the secretion and sensitivity of the hormone leptin, which shuts down hunger. While the myth that “you can’t over-eat protein” is untrue, there is some factual underlying science.
  2. Digestion: Protein is also the hardest macronutrient to digest—specifically animal based protein. Due to the makeup of muscle fiber & connective tissue, pancreatic enzymes like protease and gastric secretions like HCL (hydrochloric acid) are required. In clients that have chronically consumed low protein/low or no animal based protein diets, these enzymes and secretions have been down-regulated. Since the demand wasn’t there, the body didn’t need to produce a large amount. Another digestion factor may be the presence of H.Pylorii, a bacteria that actually “uses” up HCL, and reduces the amount in the stomach. Common prescription medications for ulcers, like PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) can exacerbate this issue by reducing endogenous HCL secretion even more.
  3. Emotional Connection: Due to mass media dogma and misinformation, we’ve been programmed to think higher protein intakes equate with poor health and cardiovascular risk (which is entirely untrue); it can be hard, mentally, for some clients to change the way they food certain food items.

How To Eat More Protein

  • Be patient. Up-regulating protein digestion can take time. Track your intake, and increase slowly. While the general target is 1g/lb BW, this goal may be long term. Strength training increases protein synthesis, and need for more dietary protein; carbohydrate partitioning to later in the day can enable one to consume more protein in the AM (which has other beneficial metabolic & cognitive benefits, as well.)
  • Get tested. You may have an underlying digestion issue from hypochloridia (low stomach acid) or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) that needs to be assessed and treated by a professional; a simple measure of urinary indican (how well your body breaks protein down) or a urea breath test (for H.Pylorii) can yield extremely useful information.
  • Become educated. There’s a lot of misinformation about food and health—find an expert that KNOWS the science, and has successfully implemented strategies with clients. Nutrition is the most powerful tool we have 100% control over—at times people need guidance from a knowledgeable coach.

I’ve worked with many clients who thought they would never be able to eat the amount of protein I asked them to eat. Over time, with patience and dedication, they learned how to eat more protein. Their bodies adapted, both in their ability to digest the protein as well as improved body composition, increased performance, and more energy.

Trish M.

I. Dynamic and Mobility Prep Warm-Up:
Lifestyle + Fitness Phase Prep
3 minutes of zone 1 work
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3-5 minutes of coach option
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4 Sets of the following of Coach Run Warm-Up:
15 Seconds of Burpees
Rest 15 Seconds
30 Seconds of Airdyne
Rest 15 Seconds
15 Seconds of Hollow Holds
Rest 15 Seconds
II. Phases Strength and Conditioning:
A. Lifestyle Phase
Front Squat %/Upper Body Pull/Core + Conditioning
A1. Front Squat @ Speed Squat, 10 reps x 3 sets @ 45%, rest 45 seconds between sets
Focus on Speed out of the Bottom-Weight Should Be Moderate
Compare to July 31st, 2015 for 1RM
A2. Strict Ring Pull-Ups, 4-8 reps x 3 sets or Ring Static Holds @ Top x 5 seconds, lower slowly x 3 sets, rest 45 seconds between sets.
People can scale down to Ring Rows, 8-10 reps x 3 sets
A3. Weighted Side Bridges, 25 seconds/each side x 3 sets, rest 45 seconds between sets.
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B. For Time of the following:
100 Jump Rope Singles
20 Push Press @ 95/65 lbs, 75/45 lbs or DB Push Press @ Mod Weight
75 Jump Rope Singles
30 Goblet Squats or Wall Balls
50 Jump Rope Singles
20 Push Press
25 Jump Rope Singles
30 Goblet Squats or Wall Balls
B. Fitness Phase
High Bar Back Squat/Upper Body Pull + Snatch Moderate + Conditioning
A. High Bar Back Squat of the following, rest 1 minute between sets.
6 reps @ 60%
5 reps @ 65%
4 reps @ 70%
B1. DB Lat Pull-Over @ 31×1, 8-10 reps x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
B2. Stability Ball Roll-Outs or Advanced Ab Wheel Roll-Outs, 10-12 reps x 3 sets, rest 1 minute between sets.
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C. For Time of the following:
Run 400 Meters or Row 500 Meters
20 Barbell Thrusters @ 95/65 lbs
30 Box Jumps
40 Kettlebell Swings
50 Wall Balls @ 20/14, 16/10 lbs
Run 400 Meters or Row 500 Meters
C. Competition Phase
Clean 3 Position + Front Squat + Push Press + Posterior Chain/Core + Strict Gymnastics Work + Rounds For Time-Medium to Heavy Weight w/ Skill Component
A. 3 Position Clean, 78%, 1 rep x 5 sets, rest as needed between sets.
B. Front Squat, 80% x 4 reps x 2 sets, 85% x 3 reps x 3 sets, rest as needed between sets.
C1. Strict Fat Grip Pull-Up Bar, 5-8 or Cluster of 2.2.2 reps x 4 sets, rest 1:30 between sets.
C2. Romanian Deadlifts @ 40% of best 1RM Clean, 6-8 reps x 4 sets, rest 1:30 between sets. 4 Second Lower Phase, 1 Second Hold @ Bottom.
D Handstand Walk x 20 feet + 2-3 Strict Handstand Push-Ups + 4-5 Kipping Handstand Push-Ups x 4 sets, rest 1-3 minutes between sets.
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E. 30-20-10-5 of the following:
Cal Row
20-16-10-6 of the following:
Pistols
8-6-4-2 of the following:
Muscle-Ups
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