In my 20s, I never really worried about my health. I had always been healthy so I always would be. I had that invincible mentality. But since my first brush with an uncertain future when I turned 30…it altered the way I look at food and exercise. Which is why it is so important to me to uncover the things that make us unhealthy, whether it is something we are consuming or a mindset that needs breaking.
Today, I wanted to examine the common misconception about protein consumption. It’s prevalent everywhere in the fitness industry. And if you are not aware of how your body works and how much is too much, then you can be in for the scare of your life.
A couple of years ago, I trained for my second figure competition. I was given a diet to eat and I took it home and broke it down. While most competitions I would consider extreme…I wanted to do the competition in a way that was healthy. You first must know, I competed in an all natural show throught the SNBF. This one gives you a drug test. Most competitive bodybuilding sanctions are not drug tested, so that’s where you witness steriods and other products that are unsafe for your health.
Anyhow, the diet that was given to me to follow for the next 3 months was first, under 1000 calories and second, at 50% protein. WHAT!?! A high protein diet is defined as anything more than 35% protein. So I wasn’t even meeting my minimum energy requirement through caloric intake and I was low carb and high protein. That’s a recipe for a health disaster!
Let’s look at some of the negative side effects that are associated with the chronic use of high protein…
- Heart Disease
- Some Types of Cancers
- Kidney Problems
- Decreased Glycogen
- Decreased Performance
Kidney problems and dehydration arise out of the fact that protein requires around seven times the water to metabolize. It also increases urea production which the kidneys have to work harder to eliminate.
Well, that’s exciting…I want my bikini body to come with a side of kidney stones please? (Sarcasm detected)
According to NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training, “The Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA for protein is 0.8g/kg per day. If you’re looking at a Macro breakdown, then that is between 10%-35% of your total calorie intake.”
Why does this matter to me?
Now, you say you’re not competing in a bodybuilding competition. The reason that I am still talking about this is because I have witnessed this in many women that are just trying to lose weight. They decrease their calories substantially below what is needed for weight loss and they survive off of protein shakes and meal replacements to do the job.
But none of this is necessary. You can lose weight without putting your health at risk by having the right training program and nutrition structure for your goals. What good is it to have an awesome bikini body if you’re dead?
What happened with my competition?
Fortunately for me, I knew better. I knew that I didn’t need that high of protein to reach my goals. No trophy is worth my health. So, I made the necessary adjustments to my macro and caloric intake that would help me get great results! Check out my photo below:
Most women compete at far lower bodyfat levels, but I took home second in my category and kept my health. What’s interesting, though, during my first competition, I was 122lbs and 25% bodyfat. I definitely put on some muscle over the years and doing it the right way.
And that’s what being a GlamBod is about! Living your best life, healthy, vibrant, and in control!
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