How Much Protein… is Enough Protein?
Here we are again, to clear the air of all the mis-conceptions in the fitness industry! Fitness is changing dramatically, as well as nutrition. Studies are showing that you don’t have to be as “strict” with your food choices as we used to think, but having a more active lifestyle combined with eating the correct amount of calories and macronutrients for you specifically, will aid in a healthier and more fit you.
I hear it all the time from people who are stuck in the ways of the late 90s and early 2000s, “too much protein is bad for you”, “your body can only digest 50g of protein maximum per hour, the rest goes to waste”, oh and the best one; “protein makes you fat”.
All of the statements above are false, with the exception of the first one stating that “too much protein is bad for you”. Although this statement is true, this can be true for fat and carbs as well. Anything that is eaten in excessive amounts, is bad for you. Same goes for drinking too much alcohol, or even water! Too much of anything in this life, can lead to problems.
Protein is necessary for maintaining muscle, muscle hypertrophy (growth), and muscle repair. If you lack protein in your diet, you will slowly see body fat go up, and lean muscle mass go down.
Although it plays a HUGE role in your bodies functions, protein is hyped up to be either too important, or not important enough. What were looking for is a correct balance of all the macronutrients within a persons diet, and NO there is not one golden rule that everyone should follow about how much to eat of what. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IS DIFFERENT. Thats why you should not follow a basic nutritional guide on how much to eat of what, example below:
Client A: Client A is a very active construction worker who also works out 5x/week outside of work. He requires a higher amount of protein and total caloric intake due to the extremely high activity levels he puts himself through, in order to maintain his muscle mass. Client A may learn along his journey of fitness that his body responds better to a slightly higher protein intake, medium carbs, and lower fat diet.
Client B: Client B is a sedentary middle aged-desk worker who has not worked out in 20 years, but wants to get back into a healthy lifestyle. Due to the lower amount of lean body mass due to being sedentary, he may start out with a lower protein intake and build it up depending on how his body reacts. He also may be sensitive to carbohydrates due to his years of in-activity and damaged metabolic rate from poor past eating habits
Note: these are just examples, if one of these clients sounds like you, don’t just copy the suggestions from the examples. Everyone will react different to different levels of macronutrients.
As you see from above, everyone will require different levels of macronutrients depending on dozens of factors. Past eating habits, health issues, activity level, career, etc; all play a huge roll in how much protein someone should be having.
With all that being said, lets dive into how you would actually figure out a good base number of how many grams of protein to eat per day. We’re going to do an easy calculation, and get you started on eating some more (or less) protein!
- Maintain Weight: Body Weight x 1 = Grams of protein (ex: 150lbs x 1 = 150g/ protein per day)
- Gain Weight (muscle): Body Weight x .8-1 = grams of protein (ex: 150lbs x .8 = 120g/ per day)
- Lose Weight: Body Weight x 1-1.2 = grams of protein (ex: 150lbs x 1.2 = 180g/per day)
*If you are 30lbs + overweight, you may want to calculate your lean body mass and use that number to calculate how much protein. (ex: 200lbs Total – 150lbs Lean Mass) You would use 150lbs as your body weight. This is due to the extremely high level of protein that would be calculated due to being overweight/obese. This is not necessary because most of your total weight is body fat, that will be lost during a weight loss phase.*
Maintaining your weight and gaining weight DO NOT require as much protein intake as losing weight because you are eating a sufficient amount of TOTAL calories to nourish the muscles and make sure they are maintained.
Losing weight requires MORE protein because the client is going to be in a deficit of calories for a long duration, making them more likely to lose muscle mass, since you cannot tell your body where to lose weight. The higher protein intake during weight loss phases will assure a faster metabolism and more muscle mass maintained throughout the diet.
Hopefully this helped out some of you clear up any mis-conceptions you may have about correct protein intake. For some, it may seem like a lot, and to others you may be eating too much protein per day. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us below and we will be sure to respond as quickly as possible!