Eating to Suffer: protein intake

Dear fellow Sufferlandrians,

while reading the Eating To Suffer ‘book’, I stumbled across the ‘Total protein over the day’ amounts in the ‘Plan to eat to suffer to plan’ tables. They look pretty impressive to me, often being somewhere between 170-190 grams a day!

As a mere 73kg male, I often don’t consume more than 120-130 grams of protein a day. And that’s often even including the protein shake I am consuming after a workout.

How to consume more protein and thus achieve the amounts as described in the ETS book without having to chase down laser goats and have them for breakfast (I was told laser goat meat also contains a lot of protein)?

I am very interested in reading all of your feedback, especially on behalf of the laser goats. Thanks.

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I‘m not a coach, nutritionist or know what I‘m talking about but, personally, I always do well with an intake of 1,5g per kg bodyweight. 2,0g per kg is my absolute max.

More would be excessive in my opinion.

Let me throw a question back at you? Do you feel not properly fueled?

Your input is highly appreciated, even if you’re not a coach, nutritionist or know what you’re talking about. :innocent:

I have the same feeling: more than 2,0g/kg would be excessive. But still wondering why the ETS book goes beyond that.

It’s not the fueling I am worried about, it’s the feeling I am lacking muscle strength/growth. My numbers haven’t really changed in between 2 4DP’s (about 2 months in between). Or would it be because I am simply getting older (I was built in 1977)?

Hm… I can’t give you an explanation why “Eating to Suffer” recommends the amount it does. It’s a good guide but certainly not the bible or a book of laws.
There’s definitely a lot of valuable information in there.

Nutrition in general is a slippery slope. It’s a very personal thing and also depends on a lot of other factors and choices in our lives.

Maybe it’s worth consulting a nutritionist because I don’t think you will get a definite answer here. Sorry to disappoint.

You are talking about muscle strength/grow. How are you planning on achieving this?
Eating enough protein is only one little part of the puzzle. Strength training, a surplus in calories and enough rest will also play a big part in all of this.

Are you eating enough in general?
Are you doing strength training?

For me, doing a lot of endurance training and trying to build muscle are two goals that bite each other in the butt. This is why is move most of the “gaining” into the winter season and more of the “racing” into the summer.

There are some excellent articles on nutrition and strength training here in the forum - together with an option for further discussion:

I hope this already helps you a little.

I’m looking forward to your reply.

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Agree on having (too) much information about nutrition out there.

I am preparing for Sprint and OD triathlons for the second year now, but the funny thing is the running part seems to be(come) stronger than the cycling part. Even though I have been cycling for decades now. Also, while running and cycling one uses different muscle groups. I am not quite sure where the transition seems to be coming from. Swimming can only improve now I am starting to get the hang of it.

This year I am using the SUF Multisport Training Plans (including strength & yoga) to prepare for events, together with some common sense and pieces of advice from my (more experienced) team members. I did a different approach towards the season compared to last year though (more bike, less run), but it doesn’t seem to make a difference with regards to the cycling part. I also did an advanced fitness test with VO2 on a stationary bike 2 months ago (did the same last year around the same time, so nice comparison) and it shows my endurance capabilities have increased while still belonging to the 1% fittest males of my age :partying_face:.

I am not gaining weight, neither am I losing some. I am also sticking to ‘healthy’ foods as much as possible. Went through all this last year with a PT and he gave me kudos, so this can’t really be the cause. But will absolutely read through the articles you provided. Thanks.

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Maybe it‘s worth considering a custom plan to dial in your goals and get some tips from the coaches?

I heard great things and will try it out this year myself.

Pretty sure @Coach.Rupert.H will be more than happy to answer your questions. Training-wise. I don‘t believe they are doing nutrition (yet).

I’m not a nutritionist either. But a quick glance at the book states that not all protein is considered equal in terms of quantity. 20g of animal protein is equivalent to about 40g of plant protein, so straight away that would make a massive difference to daily intake depending on what type of protein you eat. Is that something you have considered?

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I had a Personal Trainer/Coach last year and it worked pretty well. But due to the COVID-19 situation I can’t train (swimming pools are closed for example) and set goals like I would normally. So for the moment I am focusing on trying out what works for me from some sources like SUF, Triathlon Taren, Joe Friel and TrainingPeaks. But I would certainly consider hiring a PT/PC when the COVID-19 situation allows for more reliable goal setting and training.

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Good question. I did not. Maybe one of the SUF coaches can answer that?

I am 90-93 kg, and I am sure I eat more protein that that per day. I am not a nutritionist but the amount you are shooting for does not sound too high at all.
Without commenting further on your target protein, levels, here are a few points:

  1. not all proteins are “equal” - I think there was another comment about this. Meat protein is generally much more “usable” for your body than vegetable protein. If you have no problems digesting it, milk protein/whey protein is even better. (Makes sense if you think about the biological purpose of milk)
  2. My sons play football/lift weights/etc.; at times with a stated goal of adding muscle mass. They eat so much that at times it is a chore for them. You can look up videos from competitive strongmen/powerlifters and find their tips for addressing this problem.
  3. Sauces - find something you like that helps you eat a bit more meat, if that is the problem.
  4. You may be able to find something that is dense in macronutrients and helps to get the g of protein in. Simple ground beef mixed with white rice, add a little salt, a little hot sauce if desirable, worked well for one of my sons and for me.
    Now if only I could eat carbs without OVEReating carbs… Hard to get the right amount only!
    Good luck!
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Hey @marrekie ,
“Eating To Suffer” has great general guidelines. If you want information geared specifically toward you and your training, I suggest you contact a registered dietician who specializes in sports nutrition. And beware, anybody can call themselves a “nutritionist”.

Cheers,
Spencer

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I’m just throwing this out because we’re lacking details on the total picture. You’re three components should be looked at in totality: rest, nutrition and training. Are you getting enough rest? Are you over training? Or something else…

Thanks for your feedback, jackriddle2. Especially #4 is the one I am trying to get in place. ‘Back in the days’ I used to eat much more meat than nowadays (and was focusing on strength-based sports as well). No problems then. The current evening meal intake in our family is mainly based on veggies, 2-3 times a week meat and 1-2 times fish. So maybe more meat would do the trick, but I am also interested in other ways to jack up my protein intake a bit.

For the moment I am mainly consuming about 400g of cottage cheese a day, about 30-40 grams of chicken breast or ham on my sandwiches, some cheese, about 300-600ml of milk and 20g of protein after my workouts. This next to my sandwiches, veggies, fruit and potatoes/rice. Maybe I should take some more proteins in between my meals.

Thanks Coach.Spencer.R. I guess I might as well contact the PT I spoke to last year and explain him my thoughts.

Valid points, FreshMoonDog. It’s a delicate balance which should be kept in order. I think the mental aspects because of the COVID-19 situation might play a role as well. Especially now I don’t see my training buddies that much, let be my colleagues at work.

My training results with regards to running as well as my advanced fitness test results show there is/seems to be nothing wrong with my body. It’s the cycling that seems to stagnate though. Assuming I am having enough rest (although you never can get enough rest in my opinion) I am focusing on nutrition. Last year I had some cramp/burning feeling in my upper legs after 1-1,5h on my bike which I never had before. Putting more electrolytes in my water bottle did the trick. So that’s why I was thinking about protein intake.

I totally plateaued in my rock climbing and cycling about 2 years ago, it was only when I started to look into training realised I was massively underfeeding on the protein front, some days it was as low as 0.5g/kg! no wonder I wasn’t getting any stronger.

I made a couple of easy diet changes.

1st was a big scoop of wholenut peanut butter on my porridge every morning.

2nd was discovering even the cheapest supermarket own brand 0% fat greek yoghurt has 7.5g protein/100g. I now have a 250g bowl as a high protein evening snack, topped with a few chopped nuts or seeds a tiny drizzle of maple syrup or honey in the winter or some fresh seasonal fruit in summer. I munch through it while chilling it out in front of the TV once the kids are finally in bed.

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Nuts are a good source of protein and very dense. Easy to graze on those. Eggs are a great protein source too. Meat obviously. Beyond a certain level I don’t think eating more and more protein has any benefit. I think there’s a finite limit to how much you can process.

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Here is a link to an article written for a KOS attempt that might be helpful to you - scroll down to the protein section. When we think of protein we often think of meat and dairy but it is also found in vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, grains and fungi - foods that often include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial fiber and are generally lacking in saturated and trans fats.

KOS Eating Strategies

Use a quality protein source a complete plant protein source is best as it’s the most readily digestible, and also has all the muscle repair and growth benefits of whey, without whey’s downside of increased inflammation which can slow recovery. The best plant protein sources are isolates of pea, brown rice and hemp.

Shoot for 20-30g of protein per serving: this is the average amount most of us can absorb in one go. Any more and all we’re doing is producing protein-packed poop. Beyond this you’re aiming for 1-2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per full day, which sounds hard but actually isn’t. The average UK adult male for example is already consuming 90g of protein daily and he weighs 84kg, so is happily over the 1g/kilo mark without trying - and as this is a national average, while also likely eating a fair amount of crap. Add a performance focus to your food, power up meals with nuts, beans, oats and quality meat and fish while also supplementing wisely after your Knighthood and you’ll be sorted for protein

Read the ingredients protein is not the tastiest ingredient in the world on its own and many protein powders or bars are bulked up with artificial sweeteners and flavourings to cover this up. Unfortunately these ingredients also derail recovery and in many cases have been associated with longterm health issues from heart disease to diabetes. Common red flag ingredients to avoid include maltodextrin, acesulfame K, sucralose and aspartame.

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Some great info there. I pretty much live off nuts/seeds & oats these days! My meat intake is relatively low. The odd chicken breast here and there and a few fish fillets, usually salmon, haddock or similar white fish. Red meat is a rarity for me, maybe a bit of lean beef on average once a month. I like my veggies though and you can’t really eat too many of those! As for dairy, I do drink a LOT of milk and eat a moderate amount of cheese. I’ve tried to cut down on dairy a few times, but my body just seems to crave it and nothing bad happens.

Once or twice a year I log all my food intake on MyFitnessPal for a few weeks to take a snapshot of my carb/protein/fat and overall calories. It usually turns out to be pretty well balanced without really making any special effort. I try to listen to my body and not eat crap! I steer well clear of the supermarket biscuit and crisp aisles and try to avoid processed food as much as possible.

My wife went on a low carb diet for a while last year and ate an absolute ton of protein. I can’t remember the numbers, but her protein intake was off the charts for her weight! It didn’t do her any good at all. She lost weight (and not in a good way) and ended up looking like a living skeleton. She’s given up on that now and looks a lot better for it.

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Totally agree about the Greek yoghurt, nuts/berries & honey snack. Low-cal, high protein and very tasty!
I tried the suf high protein diet for a couple of weeks last year however there’s way too much protein advised there, for my liking. Nevertheless I like their recovery smoothie of Greek yoghurt, banana and milk. Much prefer it to the powdered sports recovery drink I used to have :yum: