protein power (OHC check in).

by Janetha on January 18, 2013

in goals

heyo! friday! yay. i’m a fan.

it’s been a really busy week for me, so i haven’t had a chance to tell you about this week’s optimal health challenge assignments yet. if you want to know more about the 6-week challenge i am participating in with my gym, click that link.

blank (1)

in case you don’t want to read back, here is OHC in a nut shell. each week we are given a diet, exercise, and lifestyle assignment. this is not a weight loss challenge. instead, it is a program designed to help each individual participant learn more about their own bodies and better their own lives. with the diet assignments, we have been able to learn about what type of diet our bodies respond well to. with the exercise assignments, we have learned more about proper form, execution, and heart rate management. we have classes every saturday to learn and then practice those lessons throughout the week. the lifestyle assignments are designed for us to love ourselves and others as well as be grateful for our lives.  it’s a COOL challenge. i am loving it!

week 1 assignments (recapped here) were:

  • at least 64 oz of water a day
  • 1000 extra squats for the week
  • post one thing about ourselves we are grateful for each day

this is week #2 of 6.. i am going to tell you all about it!


our nutritional assignment was to eat one gram of protein per pound of body weight. i am not sure how much i weigh, but last time i checked it was around 125, so my daily protein goal this week has been 125 grams.

when i did body for life, i ate five times a day and consumed around 25 grams of protein at each meal.. so 125 grams was something easy for me to hit and also something i was also very aware of. however, when i started tracking my protein consumption, i quickly realized i have been eating drastically less than i assumed! i’ve typically been eating around 80 grams each day lately, so i did have to ramp it up quite a bit to hit 125 this week.

one problem participants ran into when trying to fit in extra protein was keeping within a calorie range that was appropriate for their activity level. of course when you add protein grams (each gram of protein is four calories) you are going to increase calories drastically.. so you have to adjust your other macronutrients (fat grams.. which are 9 calories per gram, and carbohydrate grams.. which are 4 calories per gram.)

i made a handy chart for easy reference of protein sources and just how many calories are in each gram of protein in those sources. (click chart to enlarge!)


so, as you can see, if you are close to your calorie requirements for the day but need to get more protein in.. you are better off eating something like egg whites or shrimp rather than something like beans or nut butter. make sense?

i have made a very conscious effort to eat 125 grams of protein each day. i remember how well my body responds to eating a higher protein diet! i didn’t reduce my carbs–it wasn’t a low carb diet–i just made sure to get enough protein in. i found myself to be full for so long. i felt awesome. i had lots of energy. i really enjoy eating this way, it’s just a matter of making sure i do! it does take a little planning and making sure i have protein sources on hand, but once the work is done i can easily eat the protein and enjoy it. i KNOW that is why i did so well with body for life. 

one thing i have brought back into my life are protein cakes made in the microwave. they are fast, easy, protein-packed and SO delicious.

Screen Shot 2013 01 18 at 5 20 18 PM

this particular cake had:

i combined the above ingredients in a mug sprayed with olive oil and then microwaved it for 90 seconds. i drizzled it with some PB2 to make it a peanut-buttery chocolate treat. this was actually one of the best ones i have ever made! it was my first time using hemp force in a protein cake and i think that is what made the texture so amazing.
the stats were amazing, too: 155 calories, 22 grams protein, 7 grams net carbs, and 3 grams of fat. can’t beat that! i’ve been eating them almost every night.


the fitness assignment this week was FIVE extra hours of cardio. yowza! five! that is a lot for this cardio-hatin’ lady. the nice part about the challenge was that we were to stay at about 70% of our predicted maximum heart rate.

70% of your predicted maximum heart rate (PMHR) is calculated like this: 220 – your age x .70 = 70% PMHR. so, for me (i am 29), i wanted to do 5 hours of cardio with my heart rate right around 134 beats per minute. let me tell you, that was hard to do! after getting the assignment, we did a little group exercise where we did burpees–both fast and slow–trying to determine how much effort we had to exert in order to reach 70% of our PMHR. it was fun to see how my heart rate fluctuated and how easily it was for me to control it!

i don’t use a heart rate monitor, so i checked my heart rate using this simple method:  take your pulse for six seconds (i always touched my neck) and then multiplying the number of beats by 10 (aka one minute.. you know.. 60 seconds) rather than counting beats for a minute straight. easy peasy.

we learned a lot about cardio and the three energy pathways (ATP PC, glycolytic, and oxidative) and how at no point are we ever just using one pathway. we are never just burning carbohydrates or just protein. it’s true! and it is why that whole “fat burning zone” in relation to your heart rate is a complete MYTH. i think most of us already know that, but it’s good to reiterate. we also talked about gauging our cardio by using the RPE scale, which i have blogged about before. it’s a great tool!

i finished off my five hours of cardio last night. it was kind of a pain to get those extra hours in, but i am proud to say i did every last minute! three hours were done on the treadmill and two were done in group fitness classes. the classes were definitely way more fun because i was with friends! i think it’s safe to say i won’t be doing any extra cardio any time soon.. i am a minimalist for life. hah.


our lifestyle assignment was to do at least one random act of kindness for someone. they asked us to keep it anonymous, but i definitely checked this one off the list. i love serving others and doing what i can for whoever i can as often as possible! i know it makes others feel great when they receive random acts of kindness.

in fact, i actually received an act of kindness this week! my sweet friend mara sent me a package with a beautiful handmade scarf, headband, and cute little owl!


IMG 4478IMG 4483

fun fact about the owl:

IMG 4444

hehe. split peas! love it. thank you, mara!

so.. that is week #2 of OHC in a nutshell! tomorrow morning marks the beginning of week three. we will have an OHC meeting and new assignments. i can’t wait to see what’s in store!

the rest of the weekend is filled with food, friends, and fun. marshall planned a little get together tonight and we are having a taco bar then playing games. tomorrow is kristen and rory’s engagement party—cannot wait! and then sunday will hopefully be pretty mellow.

hope you have a wonderful weekend, whatever you do!


1. do you track your protein? about how many grams do you eat daily?

2. cardio: love it or loathe it? favorite type?

3. what was the last random act of kindness you did for someone or received?

xo. janetha g.

Print Friendly
Mara @ What's For Dinner? January 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I’m so so glad you like everything!!! Love you friend :)

Morgan H January 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I love the chart you made! My body also responds better to a higher protein intake, but I admit that when I ravenously go into the kitchen it seems that carbs are always the “easy” go-to. These options are also easy, I just never think of them!

On a personalized note I was wondering if you found any worthy dairy alternatives. I’ve recently cut out dairy (sadly) because it makes me feel terrible. But I miss Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as grab and go options. It seems like a lot of dairy free alternatives are full of processed crap. Do you just live without it or have any alternatives?

Nicole @ Fruit 'N' Fitness January 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I love the idea of different assignments each week, what a great way to have fun goals to reach each week. Eating more protein is something i am trying to work on. I normally go for salty pretzels and fatty peanut butter when im hungry in a hurry.

Jillian @ Sprinkle Massacre January 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Ah THANK YOU for bring up the whole “fat burning” myth. I always see people get really excited about the percent fat burned on their heart rate monitor…but it’s better to move more and burn more of EVERYTHING…

Julie January 18, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I am mindful that I have protein at every meal. I don’t love cardio but love aerobic classes so I’ll take a kickboxing or dance class to get it in or do some quick HIIT.

Trisha January 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I too feel better when I have more protein…definitely feel more satiated. Also, I’ve found that pairing with a carb helps a TON!

I LOATHE cardio, I became a runner just to make cardio more interesting. After a serious of little injuries, i’ve cut back on the running. It PAINS me to be a hamster on a wheel on cardio equipment.. BLECH! I’ve been loving the BFL HIIT days. Short, quick, effective. and I do like the stair master(step mill)

: story about cardio: I was tired and not in mood for intervals today as I was stepping on treadmill. There was a girl next to me running sprints at 11.0 on the treadmill on like a 5.0 incline (she was not tall) !!!!! I told her she was my hero and that she was kicking ASS! I was so inspired and motivated by her, that I put my craptastic attitude for my own workout aside and happily kicked my own butt on HIIT! (Not quite at her level, but I felt it and did it!).

Madison January 19, 2013 at 6:27 am

Hi Janetha! I do not track my protein–but my body definitely tells me if I’m not getting enough because I’ll be hungry alllll the time. And I do enjoy cardio–the right amount of it. :) The last random act of kindness I did was baking cookies for my fiance’s study group. I guess that could also be considered selfish because I ate some too! ha

kendra January 19, 2013 at 7:28 am

That headband looks so soft. You popped in my mind when I heard an owl hoot over my head yesterday.

I don’t track protein, as a vegan I incorporate a lot of various sources for protein.

Getting back into running, so painful but I love hitting that point where it changes from impossible to easy.

Huh… I’m actually having a hard time thinking of a recent RAK. Guess I’ve got some elvish work to do today!

Linz @ Itz Linz January 19, 2013 at 7:38 am

i love cardio! i also loving mixing it up: running, stair beast, elliptical, incline walking – you name it!

Kerryne January 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

Just thought you might like to know that I can not walk this morning. I set my alarm to go to combat and literally rolled out of bed and just kept on rolling to the floor ;) my body is SORE! I decided today was not the day for combat. I might roll in later on, or I might not! Ha! The only kind of cardio I can manage is done in a class, or sprint intervals. It has to be as interesting and non boring as possible to keep me in it!

Janetha January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

haha oh, friend, you poor thing! i will cart you around on monday. oh, p.s., i am at work right now :(

Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome January 19, 2013 at 9:16 am

Great chart! I need to track my protein and eat more! I’m doing a paleo challenge right now and I have been so sore from my workouts since starting it I think because I’m not getting enough protein. I only eat chicken and fish so it’s hard to get in a ton of protein on paleo eating mainly veggies. I’m only doing it for 30 days to see how my body reacts to the change (I have digestive issues so thought I’d give it a try). I wasn’t consuming much protein powder so I’ve added that back in which should help! I love cardio but have learned the benefits of strength training too!

Sara @ fitcupcaker January 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

If you follow or read my blog at all you know that I am a protein freak!!!! I do follow my protein intake and I try to get in as much as I weigh approximately…or at least 100-135 grams per day. Sounds like a lot but I do it pretty easy :) As for cardio, I do not love it but I know it is good for me so I add it into my weight lifting routines!

Janetha January 19, 2013 at 10:28 am

I really don’t think that’s very much! On my high protein days when I did livefit, I was at about 170 grams! That was rough lol.

momma b. January 19, 2013 at 10:39 am

I realized that I have been real low on my protein so I’m going to keep working on it to see what I can learn about my body! I printed your chart – it’s great.

Oh man I HATED getting in the extra 5 hours of cardio mainly because I was a procrastinator (heard that before?) and waited until Friday to cram 2:40 minutes in! I learned that everything hurts after that – even my toenails haha! I think I will do more power walking though – I noticed that it doesn’t have to be an all out sprint or run to be doing good! So I’m glad for the challenge.

I love the “pay for the guy behind you” when going through a drive through. I went to Starbucks and was so happy to have someone behind me – I was able to see the look on their faces when the cashier told them their drinks were already paid for – that is priceless!! Love, love, love to serve others – openly and randomly. I have come to know that through this service to others I am a much better and happier person!!

I am SO glad to know you have a stash of split peas in that darling owl if you ever need them – what awesome gifts from an incredible gal.

Thanks for your help in keeping me on track and physically fit – you are certainly my HERO!!

I love you more!!


Heather January 19, 2013 at 11:35 am

The protein list is amazing…I also love protein cake. Sigh…so glad to know there are others out there like me:)

Nicole C January 19, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Did you know that today is the National Day of Service? Sort of fits it with your random act of kindness. :)

Cassie @redletterdaye January 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

My trainer has recommended about 150 grams of protein/day, which is more than I weigh. I have no problem with this, I love meat, eggs, yogurt, protein shakes, etc., but I’m not going low carb either. Protein definitely makes me feel more satisfied.

I used to be a cardio junkie, and never thought I’d prefer weights. I still do some incline walking and sprints/HIIT, but I get my heart rate up lifting heavy, and it makes me feel more accomplished.

That scarf is adorable!

Lisa January 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’ve been super bad about my protein lately since I found out I can’t eat dairy or eggs. Boo to that. I also love the texture hemp gives to baked/microwaved goods! Definitely a no go in a smoothie, but I like it cooked. That’s an awesome chart you made! Once per week I buy the order for the person behind me in line (at Starbucks) since I go there so often I figure I might as well do something nice. It always makes me feel better about the day! I should probably do other things though, like volunteer! I love cardio, my favorites would be spinning and swimming. Like I love them.

Janetha January 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I love doing that at Sbux, too! And really you don’t like hemp in a smoothie? I am a huge fan! I use hemp protein powder in my shakes and also add hemp seeds straight up to my blended whole fruit/veg juice. Is it a texture thing for you? Ahh–I wish I loved cardio! Good for you!

Lisa January 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I think it’s because I bought the unflavored stuff so it’s just super strong! Oops ha.

julie January 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm

i was just takling to deb about these yesterday and how she was the total original creator and the genius behind these! hahah perfect timing – a good old protein muffin is total FTW status

steF January 19, 2013 at 9:36 pm

I love the protein spreadsheet!! Awesome work!

Corrie Anne January 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I’ve never really carefully tracked my protein, but I do know that I’m on the low side usually. :/ I do love cardio. Maybe a bigger dog would help you love it more?? Haha. If you ever want peace & quiet, my dog requires cardio. And not too fast or you might die when she goes for a squirrel!!! One of my students surprised me and bought concert tix for Kevin and me to go to the CO symphony next weekend! So unexpected. Love that as a challenge!

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 20, 2013 at 8:45 am

I love your protein chart! I’v ebeen packing it in since I started doing figure competitions. I eat about 160g a day… it was hard at first but now if I don’t have enough, I’m starving!

Khushboo January 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

I don’t track my protein but on the random days I roughly tally it up, I eat about 70-90g! I actually received a random act of kindness from a worker at Starbucks today. My friend & I ordered a cookie to share and because we were wearing our bibs from a race earlier that morning, she gave us an extra one complimentary because we “earned” it- very thoughtful gesture and now it’s time for me to pay it forward!

kristen @ livinlifeinlouie January 20, 2013 at 10:50 am

I just started focusing on my protein. Trying to get around 80-100. Its amazing how full I get now that I am aware of my protein intake. I now need new recipes on ways to get more!

Jennyb January 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Do you find you gain more muscle/definition when you increase the protein content? If so how long did it take to notice a difference?

this is what i want to do ideally and i’ve recently made a change and probably about doubled my intake, tracked with my fitness pal. for the last 5 days its been between 115 and 140g compared to about 60g before.

I love my cardio – i’m a big Les Mills fan. Today i did Body Combat, Body Step then Body Balance to stretch off and chill after. Thats 3 hours today & i think i do about 14 hours a week which is about 80% cardio, plus a job thats standing and moving around constantly.

I try and do a good deed each day, even if it just opening a door for someone.

broccolihut January 20, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Loving your handy dandy chart! I track my intake on a daily basis (using an app), and I find it difficult to make it over 100 grams/day. I don’t eat beef, poultry, or pork so I tend to double dip on Greek yogurt and fish.

rachel January 21, 2013 at 6:47 am

Also, you get “unflavored” powders or flavored? And lastly, how many egg-substitutes (from carton) equal 2 egg whites? I always thought it was 1/4 cup…but then another blogger said that 1 egg white equals 3 tablespoons of beaters…so that would be 6 tablespoons…so I’m not sure?

Janetha January 21, 2013 at 7:08 am

I get flavored. Usually vanilla so I can flavor it with other things myself. And, yep, 3tb is an egg white.

alexe January 21, 2013 at 7:10 am

Hi Janetha!

I’ve been making your protein cakes since last summer (thank you for sharing them, they are SO good!) and I just wanted to say that it works just as well without oiling the bowl first. I don’t put any oil in mine and it pops out really easily. :)

Have a great week!

Janetha January 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

Thanks for the feedback! I have tried it without the spray and it has stuck to the bowl. I think it must depend on your brand of protein and the mug.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

FTC Disclosure. Disclaimer.