Rebuild YOUR BODY with Complete Protein



In personal training, clients are encouraged to maintain or grow muscle by understanding the key principles of both strength and nutrition coaching. Focusing the conversation on muscle development or recovery creates a protein-forward approach. Below we have resources to help you understand how much protein your body needs to rebuild, what specific foods to consider to optimize recovery, and how to approach change scaled to your readiness. 




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The five pillars of nutrition coaching lay a foundation for better nourishment. This provides you with a framework that may help you think about food differently and inspire logical next steps. The internet is saturated with nuanced nutrition advice that may not apply to your individualized needs or is riddled with misinformation that obscures basic physiological concepts. Fad diets and emerging medical interventions may distract you from working on the core skills that inform how you nourish your body. 

The list above is presented in hierarchical order, with the most important pillar at the top. "Eating Enough" is a basic understanding of how much food your body needs to hit your goals and the different roles of each macronutrient (fat, protein, and carbohydrates). Knowing your protein intake is at the core of your nutrition foundation and can be easily tracked. 



The chief macronutrient responsible for growing and maintaining muscle is protein. In digestion, your body works hard to break these complex molecules down. Once processed, protein is converted into amino acids that act as signals in the body to illicit growth in various structures. This process of digestion requires a fair amount of energy that promotes heat in the body (also known as the thermic effect of food), a very satiating effect as a result. This is favorable for anyone trying to optimize their health while managing their weight. 

Research conducted by the experts at Precision Nutrition recommends coaches to beef up intake by upwards of 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight. So a person weighing 85kg (~190lbs) can consume upwards to ~185g of protein a day. This area of research is expanding to further understand nutrition and its connection to our longevity, specifically regarding increasing protein intake to mitigate muscle loss associated with aging. 


You Can Eat Meat and More

Acquiring your protein from beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, quinoa and buckwheat are just a few great options to hit your protein goal due to its complete amino acid profile. Our body can produce about 12 amino acids but needs about 8 other amino acids that can only be acquired from food. This creates an opportunity for you to strategize how you can add the right foods that suit your digestion. 

Protein sourced from meat can be particularly helpful when focusing on weight management since it packs more protein in fewer calories than other plant-based options. For example:


 A 6oz filet of tuna contains about 24g of protein,Ahi-Tuna-2-_1amounting to 100 kilocalories (kcal)



In contrast, you would need to consume 570kcal of peanut butter to attain 24g of protein.


The additional calories are largely attributed to fat which digests slower and can create an entirely different experience in your digestion. 



If you were to acquire 24g of protein from black beans, you’d be consuming a total of 360 kcal and enough fiber to hit close to your daily needs which can create some extra gas. When fueling for performance, this is an important variable. 


Understanding the differences above is imperative when deciding what foods to prioritize in a meal. There is room for all foods, as long as you know what structures make up each option and how your body will respond to them. 


"Beefing Up" Your Carbs, Eat More Plants

While protein is important for muscle recovery, it's also crucial to pay attention to your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates provide the energy needed for workouts and help replenish glycogen stores in your muscles, but can also contribute a fair amount of protein. 

Loading your plate with nutrient-rich carbohydrates (e.g. fiber, protein, minerals, micronutrients, and complete protein) provides more options for hitting your protein goal. You may increase your total protein with these options, but as noted above, it may be harder if this is your only source.

The plants below offer an abundant resource for carbohydrates that also possess complete proteins.

Macronutrient values are per 1 cup of each source:

(Courtesy of MacroFactor Nutrition App)


Protein 8g, Carb 40g, Fat 4g = 229 kCal



Protein 20g,  Carb 124g, Fat 4g = 640kcal



Protein 17g, Carb 38g, Fat .5-1g  = 226 kCal


(pictured above as a Dahl, an Indian staple that includes a variety of spices and vegetables to increase nutritional value and flavor. Macronutrients don't include the rice in picture)


BEANS + RICE (together) 

Beans and Rice make up each other's difference in amino acid structure, making it complete one when it's paired. Together it can amount to: 

Combined: Protein ~14g, Carb ~40g, Fat ~1g. = ~236 kCal (1/2 cup of each) 


Cereals like the Food For Life: Ezekial 4:9 brand, create a blend of lentils, millet, barley, wheat, and soybeans in their recipes to provide a plant-based complete protein option.  The only pitfall here is the fiber content which can be obtrusive to some. 




If you want to play the long game and build skills for life, take some time to understand what foods work the best with your digestion. Incrementally introduce new options that feel right for you while prioritizing your protein. 

Before you convert this skill into a habit, understand your current daily intake. From that point, increase the protein goal by 10-20% by understanding and asking yourself what you're ready to take on. In nutrition coaching, observing the behaviors and environmental cues around the client's "anchor meal times" can help layer more habits in the moments you feel the most confident. 

The food recommendations mentioned above are suggestions that work under a larger umbrella of skills that create a structure for nourishing the body. If you’re interested in talking about this more, click below to schedule a consult call with JP.

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