How much protein do you need?

Protein does a great deal for your body, including growing hair, forming blood cells, building muscle and providing energy. Hence, even if you have begun supplementing your diet with whey protein powder, you may find yourself wondering if you are taking in enough of this essential nutrient.

How much protein you should consume depends on a wide array of factors, such as gender, age and your daily activity level. Everyone’s dietary needs are different and can shift based on your personal goals, whether they involve gaining strength, losing weight or just maintaining your present mass. Consider the following tips and information when planning your diet and deciding on the best source of protein for your needs:

Daily needs
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently recommends that an adult take in 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 50 grams of proteins a day, for a 2,000 calorie diet. However, as the Harvard Health Blog emphasized, the recommended daily allowance is only a minimum and may not reflect actual nutritional needs.

“The recommended daily allowance may not reflect nutritional needs.”

Nancy Rodriguez, professor of nutritional science at University of Connecticut in Storrs, told Harvard, “There’s a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA.” She said that FDA guidelines are both too low and widely misinterpreted as a daily target, suggesting an improved guideline might be twice the currently recommended amount of protein, or 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Other experts agreed that the FDA recommendation needs to be updated. A review of recent studies published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism explained that a healthy diet calls for a higher protein intake, preferably spread out over the course of the entire day. Increasing daily consumption may benefit overall muscle health and help prevent muscle loss as people grow older.

Building muscle
Dietary protein is especially important if you intend to build lean muscle mass. As you break down muscle fibers through exercise, the amino acids aid in recovery and growth. A study from McMaster University in Ontario found that consuming whey protein up to 24 hours after exercise could enhance skeletal muscle growth.

As a literature review published in Advances in Nutrition discussed, keeping a positive nitrogen balance makes a difference in the effectiveness of your regimen. A positive balance occurs when the amount of nitrogen, an element that you take in through protein, is greater than what you lose through sweat and other excretions. It’s important to avoid overtraining, which can lead to a negative nitrogen balance and injury. Always make sure you are consuming sufficient protein and allow yourself time to rest.

Of course, consuming more protein will have little effect unless you put in the time and effort at the gym. Sports science nutritionist Dr. Karen Reid told Men’s Health that top athletes consume about two grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. She suggested approaching that level for the first 12 weeks of an exercise program, when you are experiencing pronounced soreness, to promote muscle growth.

Maintaining a healthy weight
Protein may also be useful for losing weight. Research published in the The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that the nutrient satisfies hunger, which helps you cut down your consumption of carbohydrates and fats. Greater amounts of protein also mean higher energy expenditure and improved retention of lean muscle mass, both of which can aid in losing unwanted pounds.

Again, you will need to be conscious of your personal physical needs, be attentive to your overall diet and put in work to achieve results. When taking on a high-protein diet for weight loss or any other purpose, it is vital to stay active and consume other nutrients in sufficient quantities.


You Did It Backwards

Have you ever heard of “Big, Hairy Audacious Goals” or BHAGS? If you haven’t heard of them, you know the concept: Goals have to be huge and aggressive if they have any meaning at all.

But that’s all wrong.

Visions are big. Goals are easy and doable.

I got this idea from Andy Petranek, who is one of the founders of the Whole Life Challenge. (And if you haven’t registered for the Challenge yet, do it now. NOW!)

I want to share with you what he wrote:

“There’s nothing wrong with having a vision that is big and bold. But that vision should exist as something long-term: three or five or even twenty years out.

“Big change takes time. It happens slowly. Trying to make burly changes immediately will not work—at least not work for long. Eventually, the intensity of the change will smack you down.

“People are most likely to succeed when the changes they make are so small that they barely even notice.

“Change, by definition, must be regularly occurring and consistent over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be intense. Showing up, day after day, is the important part.

“In fact, most anyone can get off the couch and throw himself into an intense and focused three- to six-month period of hard core diet and “get fit” training…

“But you cannot declare yourself a “changed person” if you then go back to your wily ways: eating the crap, gaining back the weight, and returning to the couch.


“True change has occurred when the gurus have long gone home, the onlookers are asleep, and you are left to your own devices. What choices do you make when no one is looking?

“The journey to becoming a changed person begins with one infinitely small step that is both simple and easy. Taking this step is nothing short of psychological momentum. When you meet one small goal, your brain says, ‘Okay, I can do that. Check. What is next?’”

The Whole Life Challenge is an easy, doable way to make a massive change in your life. It was created by guys who know what it means to change. (Andy Petranek was a classically trained trumpet player who studied for eighteen years and even attended the prestigious Eastman School of Music, before going into the military, before focusing on extreme endurance racing, before founding one of the first ten CrossFit gyms in the world. He’s also a Zen Buddhist with a master’s degree in spiritual psychology.)

If you want a chance to “try on” fitness in a way that allows you to bite off small, chewable pieces, join CrossFit Mendota for the Whole Life Challenge:

Sign up:


Pre-Game Huddle – Thursday, January 14th at 7 pm at CrossFit Mendota

  • During the Pre-Game huddle we’ll go review everything there is to know about the WLC and answer any questions you have. There will be a WLC potluck – so you can get some great ideas for recipes heading into the challenge. Also, you’ll have an opportunity to hear the success stories from past WLC participants!

Kick Off – Saturday, January 16th at 11 am at CrossFit Mendota

  • We are setting our initial scores for the Whole Life Challenge during our preliminary event. This is part of your “Body and Fitness Inventory,” and it is an important event because it establishes your starting point. On January 16th, it will be “who you used to be,” and you’ll be able to see how far you can come in just eight weeks.


Coach Pat

PS If you sign up with CrossFit Mendota – we’ll give you a free class per week during the 8 week challenge! This extends to members AND non-members – this is a great opportunity to try us out!

The Power of Protein

The Power of Protein

Increase metabolism, maintain muscle, lose fat, and improve your mood. That’s what you get when you properly fuel with protein. As a default plan, you should be eating protein with every meal and snack.

Why animal protein? Amino Acids- they are a large portion of our muscles, cells, and tissues… as well as the building block of protein. There are twenty amino acids and animal proteins are the only ones that contain all twenty. Your body can produce eleven amino acids and other foods have different combinations, but the biggest bang for your buck is found in animal protein. You need certain amino acids (branched-chain) to minimize muscle break-down during workout and maximize muscle repair/growth post-workout.

The Problem: protein is the most difficult on-the-go macronutrient, so you need to plan ahead. Fire up the grill, portion your meat, and freeze it.

On-the-go options:
Rotisserie chicken
Deli meat
Canned fish
Hard-boiled eggs
Smoked salmon (wild-caught)
Jerky (home-made with just liquid aminos)

-Coach Jenna

We All Get Lazy Sometimes [And What To Do About It]

We All Get Lazy Sometimes…

I’ve seen this movie before.

You’re participating in the Whole Life Challenge and you take out of the gates like gang busters. You’re exchanging recipes, cooking up amazing cuisines, prepping your meals with Tupperware labeled for each day of the week, and in general wow-ing yourself and everyone with your new paleo-skillz.

Then on Sunday evening of week 3 – as you’re driving home late from being out of town, tired, hungry, ready to eat and go to sleep – you realize you didn’t go grocery shopping for the week yet…

It’s bound to happen. Everyone hits a point on their diet and lifestyle journey where the stars doing align very well. We’re tired and feeling lazy. We don’t want to do. all. that. work.

That’s okay! In fact – you should plan for this very thing happening. Here’s how to do do it:

1. Hopefully you’ve cleared out all the junk food from your house because at times like these that seems like a REALLY good option.

2. Have some easy and healthy snacks readily available at home. These may not be “most ideal” but they’re going to be healthier than the alternative:

– Low Sodium Canned Tuna – Not glamorous by any means, but you can dress it up with avocado, olive oil, and some balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got a solid snack on your hands.
– Eggs – they last a long time, they’re super easy to make, and breakfast for dinner is awesome.
– Pre-made hard boiled eggs – when you really don’t want to do anything to make your food.
– Frozen veggies and fruit – long lasting and great for smoothies.
– Nuts – grab a handful and you’ll be satiated. Don’t go over board with these (very easy to do).
– Beef Jerky – ideally made at home, but if you’re in a pinch, most gas stations sell packs.
– Deli meat – this may depend on what level of WLC you’re participating at – but there are some low sodium, nitrite free options that you can pick up.

3. Have a list of nearby restaurants and the meals they serve that are diet-friendly.

– Chipotle – burrito bowl, rice, no beans, double chicken, pico, medium salsa, guac (I know its extra). Boom.
– Your favorite burger joint – order your favorite burger minus the bun. Add sweet potato fries if they have ’em.
– Noodles and Co – I hear their “Buff Bowls” are amazing.

Plan for your own laziness and you won’t feel so bad about it!

– Coach Pat

Paleo-fy Your Life [Keep it simple]

How To Get Started Paleo-fying Your Life (or just improving your diet):

Here’s the deal- it’s easy to find some strict plan that becomes more burdensome then helpful, because we feel like we need to implement a complete overhaul in order to make a change. This can be overwhelming in the long-run and lead to… another failed attempt at cleaning things up in your diet- it’s
easier to ditch a plan when it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. So keep it simple!!!


1. Get rid of grains, legumes, and processed food. Eat protein, veggies, and good fat.

2. Don’t worry about weighing, measuring, or tracking your daily intake for the first TWO WEEKS.

3. Pay attention (i.e. journal) to how you feel each day- body, mind, and soul. How do you feel at wake-up, mid-afternoon, and during your workout?

If you’re eating whole foods, your body will start to feel different. Your sleep and your moods will improve. So just START THERE. This journey will help you and your body work together to improve your life.

– Coach Jenna

What is Paleo?

Paleo Meal


What is Paleo?

Answering this question is just like answering “What is CrossFit”- the answer isn’t quick and it’s multi-
faceted. Here are my top ten points on the question:

1. Food should work in, and for, your body to minimize pain and illness.

2. Food should help maintain proper digestive function.

3. Food should help maintain proper blood sugar regulation.

4. We can eat like our ancestors ate because they didn’t struggle with chronic disease and illness.

5. Generally, the paleo diet calls for lots of whole, nutrient-dense, foods.

6. Generally, the paleo diet tells us to avoid processed “foods” (grains, beans, refined sugar, and

pasteurized dairy).

7. Paleo is a way of eating that is highly regarded in the CrossFit community.

8. YOUR paleo diet is just that… it’s yours. Different people do paleo different because of #1.

9. DIET means the way you eat.

10. Paleo is not hard or limiting. Paleo is a CHOICE to optimize your health to reach your goals.

10.1 This might be one of the most difficult life shifts you will ever make.

10.2 It’s worth every struggle on the journey.

(Post inspired by Diane Sanfilippo at

– Coach Jenna