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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Getting Fit: Try adding protein as a daily pick-me-up

Joe Marchilena

There are certain things we feel we need to do every day in order to survive.

For me, one of those is making a run for coffee sometime during the midday, and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who feel they can’t start the day without a little bit – or a lot – of caffeine in your system. ...

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There are certain things we feel we need to do every day in order to survive.

For me, one of those is making a run for coffee sometime during the midday, and I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who feel they can’t start the day without a little bit – or a lot – of caffeine in your system.

What about when you need a kick during the course of the day? Do you still go for the coffee?

I’ve tried that at times, and while it works occasionally, I find that a second coffee makes me jittery for the rest of the day. Instead, when I need something to get me going, I try to find some protein.

Sometimes that means snacking on some seeds or soy nuts, which I try to keep a bag of in my car just in case, or it might mean stopping somewhere to find a protein bar or some turkey jerky. If it’s time for a meal, I’m always including some form of protein, and that usually does the trick.

Am I getting enough? According to a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition, not if I’m trying to build muscle.

The study found that if you’re trying to build a lot of muscle, you should try to consume 30 grams of protein at each meal. The USDA says the average guy has about 16 grams of protein at breakfast, so chances are, you’re falling short of that.

My typical breakfast – three egg whites with cheese and peppers, plus four slices of turkey bacon – comes out to about 31 grams of protein.

If you’re looking to try something else, and to eat 30 grams of protein for your other meals, the June issue of Men’s Health has a meal plan for you.

Start with three whole eggs and four eggs whites, plus two-thirds of a cup of oatmeal, for breakfast (36 grams). Then at lunch, eat a five-ounce piece of chicken, two-thirds of a cup of quinoa and half a cup of sauerkraut (48 grams).

Dinner (44 grams) is a five-ounce steak, along with a baked potato, which the magazine says will “help refuel and repair your body after a hard training session.” Personally, I’d pass on the baked potato, but I’ve never been a fan.

And if you can still eat anything after that, before bed have a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with a quarter cup of walnuts and half a cup of blueberries (31 grams). Not my idea of a late-night snack, but it could be for you if you’re trying to build up your muscle mass.

For me, I’ll just settle for just reducing my overall mass.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness
column for Hampshire Hills. To find out more information about the “90 Day
Commit to Get Fit” program, call 673-7123 or email hhinfo@hampshirehills.com.