What is Protein? Do I really need it?

What is Protein? Do I really need it?

What is Protein? Do I really need it? vegetables-versus-meat-on-forks

In the human body, proteins are a part of every cell and tissue, including our muscle. Our bodies are constantly recycling proteins on a daily basis. The proteins that we eat in our diet can be used to replace broken down proteins in order to maintain balance. Proteins contain essential and non-essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for all our proteins in the body.

 Protein can be found in relatively high concentrations in the following foods: • meats, poultry, and fish • legumes (dry beans and peas) • tofu • eggs • nuts and seeds • milk and milk products (cheese and yogurt) • grains, some vegetables and some fruits (provide only small amounts of protein relative to other sources)

Protein intake from animal sources rather than plant-based sources tend to have better absorption rates. However, even vegetarians can achieve adequate protein intake when a variety of plant sources are included ensuring intake of all essential amino acids. Here are some practical protein equivalents in common foods: • One cup of milk has eight grams of protein • One cup of soy milk has about seven grams of protein • One egg has six grams of protein • A three ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein • One cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein • An eight ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein Recommended Intakes of Protein In general, it is recommended that 10-35 percent of your daily energy intake comes from protein. If you consume 2,000 calories per day, this would work out to be between 200 to 700 calories of protein per day. The recommended daily intakes (RDIs) can also be calculated by a person’s body weight. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that the average individual should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.35 grams per pound of body weight per day for general health. So a person that weighs 75 kg (165 pounds) should consume an average of 60 grams of protein per day. Since there are approximately four calories per gram of protein, 60 grams of protein would result in the intake of 240 calories.

How much protein builds muscle?

Muscle mass is built when the net protein balance is positive: muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown. Research shows muscle protein turnover is the greatest after working out. Additionally, it has been shown that muscle mass increases over time when resistance exercise (i.e. weight lifting, body weight exercises, etc) is combined with nutrient intake. IMG_3544

However, as we age, we need to increase our protein intake. Around 50 years of age, we need to increase the protein in our diets to one gram per kilogram of our body weight to maintain muscle mass. People that exercise regularly also need to eat more protein than the recommended daily intake. To increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Consequently, the same 75 kilogram individual should increase their protein intake to 75 grams (300 calories) to 128 grams (512 calories) in order to gain muscle mass. This level of intake can generally be met through diet alone and without additional protein and amino acid supplementation.

When Should I Consume My Protein? 

The process of protein turnover is increased with resistance training and can remain elevated for up to 48 hours in people beginning a new resistance training program. Therefore it is important to provide enough energy including protein so there is a sufficient pool of amino acids available to repair and build new muscle. Of course, you do not want to exercise on an empty stomach. In fact, exercising in an unfed state leads to an increase in protein loss making it more difficult for the body to both repair and build muscle. Research suggests there are several benefits to pre-exercise protein supplementation.


Pre-exercise protein supplementation helps to improve body composition by increasing resting energy expenditure up to 48 hours after exercise. This is important because it suggests that pre-exercise protein ingestion will not only help increase lean muscle mass and thus strength, but will also simultaneously reduce fat mass. However, the most scientifically supported and most significant benefits of consuming protein prior to exercise may be improved recovery and hypertrophy. This is thought to occur because of improved amino acid delivery. Protein supplementation after exercise may have a more profound impact on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Several studies have demonstrated that protein ingestion following an acute bout of resistance training stimulates muscle protein synthesis for up to three hours. In contrast, failing to eat after exercise may limit protein synthesis and therefore limit potential progress in lean muscle tissue development. Research actually suggests there may be an “anabolic window” such that protein intake within an hour of exercise has the greatest influence on resistance training adaptations. Sign up for a FIT Formula Semi-Private Training session to learn how to combine good nutrition with a great fitness program!

Reference: Donna Cataldo, Ph.D. and Matthew Blair, B.S., and is a product of ACSM’s Consumer Information Committee.




Get in the BEST shape of your life, while giving back to a GOOD cause. 
With the FIT Formula 25 Day Body Transformation Challenge.
November 1st – 25th


1) Complete the registration form by clicking HERE
2) Upon registration, you will be emailed all of the tools you need to successfully complete your challenge: 25 days of meal plans, 25 days of workouts, access to our weekly Periscope coaching calls, and access to our private Facebook group.
3) Commit the next 25 days to eating right and getting fit.
4) Prepare to meet the new you in 25 days!


The first place winner gets to choose which of the 3 charities below will receive 50% of the money raised. They also get first choice of one of our amazing prizes valued at hundreds of dollars!

They also get to choose one of our amazing prices!

#fitformulanyc the most on twitter, facebook, or instagram and get your choice of prize!

50% of the proceeds will go to the following charities. Each organization play an important roll in keeping fitness and sports in the lives of the young and underserved in New York City.

The catch? The winner gets to decide which charity gets the 50% of the money raised. The remaining organizations will receive an equal 25-25% split of the remaining funds.


For more details and information, visit the 25 Day Body Transformation Challenge page, or email

Thank you to our amazing sponsors for donating generous prizes for the winners. Prizes include: Dinner for 2 at Tao, Immunocologie Skin Care Products, Good Life Clothing, and much more!

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FIT Formula Team

125 West 31st Street New York, NY


It’s really simple, but works like magic

It’s really simple, but works like magic

This Blog is only for those who are completely fed up with trying to lose fat and inches through diet and exercise…

You’re probably thinking: What’s the deal? Why won’t the weight come off? You are doing everything you can think of to make it happen.

There’s one simple thing standing between you and a slimmed down, amazingly fit body. One. Simple. Thing.

And here it is…You eat too many calories.

That’s it.

Solve this problem and your dream body will quickly and easily become reality.

Wait, don’t give me the excuse that, “I only eat healthy calories.” That’s great, but even healthy calories add up to extra pounds when we let them go unchecked.

Back to Basics: Why Calorie Counting Works

You may have heard about the professor from Kansas State University, Mark Haub, who performed a famous junk food diet. Professor Haub proved a powerful lesson for anyone who still has weight to lose, so let’s listen up.

In a demonstrative experiment for his nutrition class, Professor Haub ate a diet of pure junk food for 2 months. I’m talking candy bars and packaged snacks – the kinds of things you find in a snack machine.

You’d expect him to gain weight, right? Well, there was one catch. He was only allowed to eat 1800 calories each day. Yes, those calories were pure junk, but the limit was firmly put at 1800 calories.

Before the experiment, Professor Haub’s typical calorie intake was closer to 2600 calories. So his junk food diet put him at an 800 calorie per day deficit.

Boy did that calorie deficit pay off. Within 2 months he had dropped 30 pounds, bringing his BMI from overweight down to normal.

No, I’m NOT recommending a junk food diet as your answer for fat loss. What I am pointing out is how powerful a reduction in calories is when it comes to lowering your body weight.

Do you know how many calories you eat each day?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry. You’re about to learn the one fat loss tool that will change everything for you. First we need to get to the bottom of how many calories you’re eating each day.

Yes, even those healthy calories.

Before you start whining, let me explain. Food journaling doesn’t involved lugging around a journal, writing down each food item throughout the day then looking everything up at the end of the day to manually tally calories like it used to.

These days food journaling has gone digital, and tracking your calories only takes seconds of your time.

Here’s what I need you to do:

#1: Download a food journal application to your smart phone. At the touch of your fingers you’ll be able to look up food items and instantly see your running calorie tally.

#2: Meet with your doctor to find a daily calorie count that will allow for safe weight loss and then diligently maintain that number. Eat healthy, fresh foods and when you decide to indulge, make sure to do so within your target calorie range.

#3: Meet with me for a consistent and challenging exercise routine. My exercise programs are specifically crafted to get you into amazing shape as quickly as possible.

These three, simple steps will give you structure and clarity that you need when it comes to making food choices and will quickly result in pounds lost and goals achieved.

Once your goal weight is met, your target calorie range will be adjusted for maintenance. Sounds good, right?

I’d love to hear from you. Call or email today to get started!

6 Foods to Boost Athletic Performance

6 Foods to Boost Athletic Performance

Diet can make or break your athletic performance. Think of your body as a high-end luxury car and your food as the gasoline. As a complex system of many moving parts, your body needs premium “gas” to run efficiently and effectively – you can’t expect the same performance on diesel fuel. Check out this list of 6 amazing foods to help boost your athletic performance.

Quinoa: Quinoa a gluten-free grain loaded with complex carbohydrates and protein. This special combination of macronutrients make it perfect for eating both before and after workouts. In one serving (1/2 cup) of quinoa, you can also get about half of your daily magnesium intake, which can help support bone and heart health making it perfect for athletes.

Bananas: Muscle cramps caused by low potassium is a common ailment among athletes. Eating just one medium banana a day gives you 422mg of potassium and can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness. An average banana also contains about 30g of low-glycemic carbohydrates, making them a choice fuel source, whether you are working out for a short or long period of time.

Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is loaded with protein, unsaturated fats, and fiber, all which will help keep you full during you workout. Also, for vegans or vegetarians, nut butters make a great natural source of plant-based protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.

Turmeric: Turmeric, a widely used spice all over the world, contains a substance known as curcumin. This substance has been shown to reduce inflammation and ease the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This natural anti-inflammatory is perfect for runners or any weight-baring athlete.

Eggs: Eggs have been a long time favorite food among athletes. Not only are they loaded with protein, including all 9 essential amino acids, but the yolks are rich in choline, an essential micronutrient that is vital for proper nerve and muscle function.

Spinach: Spinach may not make your muscle grow instantaneously like Popeyes’, however this iron-loaded leafy green can help improve athletic performance by keeping your blood healthy. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that help transport oxygen to tissues all over the body and keep you from becoming prematurely fatigued during workouts.


By Nora Minno, RD, CDN