Wednesday, November 16, 2016
I survived the 30-day Protein Challenge
I first learned about Team BEEF in 2014 before I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon. Basically they were offering free entries to the race if you donned the cherry red shirt and made yourself available for media functions in your area.
I procrastinated turning in my application and by the time I tried to join, all of the slots were full. That's why I jumped at the chance when I saw the Georgia Beef Board had opportunities to join their team at the Peachtree Road Race Expo the next summer.
Basically the way it works is you participate in a conference call that talks about the benefits of eating beef and what the board does. Then you wear the shirt at a race and submit your race registration for reimbursement. They typically reimburse $100 per person each fiscal year. This program is funded by $1 for each head of cattle sold in the state.
This year they offered a new wrinkle ... 50 of their members could have their reimbursements increased to $300 yearly if they participated in the 30 Day Protein Challenge. It started in October but I'm just now getting around to writing about it because I wanted to find out if I successfully completed the challenge first.
The main goal of the challenge is to get you to adjust your diet to where you eat 25 to 30 grams of protein for three meals a day.
It's not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you realize that endurance runners need up to 1.6 grams per kilogram of protein a day or 75 to 120 grams for 165-pound runner, according to Runner's World.
What I liked is that it got me to keep a nutrition journal, something I've never done in my 30 years of running. The first week you recorded eating what you like and then over the next few weeks you transition to eating the required protein amount for two of the three meals a day. Then there are rest days sprinkled in to help you transition.
Near the end of the month you are eating 25-30 grams of protein for all three meals. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was, although near the end of the month I grew tired of all the different things I was eating for breakfast just to make the challenge.
I found that when I ate a lot of protein for a meal, I felt fuller and snacked less than when I didn't. I also learned about the great sources of protein in non-meat foods such as wheat bread. I thought I'd have the most difficulty the day before the Chicago Marathon but luckily Oct. 8 was just a day to begin exchanging foods abundant in protein with what I would regularly eat and marathon day was a rest day on the schedule.
It definitely was an interesting way to focus on nutrition as part of my running lifestyle.