So you want to start increasing your Protein intake but you have no idea how to begin?
If you are into the fitness culture (presumably if you’re reading this article) you can’t go very far without seeing an advertisement for Protein supplements. Whey Protein, Complex Protein, Casein Protein, Egg Protein, Protein with enriched Glutamine, BCAA’s, Amino Acid tabs et al. The choices are seemingly endless. The directive of this series of articles is to summarize the best usage of Protein for a beginner to an advanced trainer/athlete. In Part 1, we’ll start with the basics and calculating daily protein requirements relative to goal.
You need protein in order to build and maintain muscle. Heck, you need protein to stay alive. Protein is made up of Amino Acids which are the building blocks of life. Without going to go into an esoteric biochemical explanation of protein, just know it’s the most important macronutrient for performance and physique improvement.
So how much protein do you need daily? Well a lot depends on your goals? It also is determined by your genetics and your training levels.
The easiest way to summarize is by analyzing an average 6 Foot 200 pound mans needs based on their goal.
Let’s define goals as:
- losing fat
- gaining muscle
- performance improvement(athletic skill event)
We first need to calculate body fat % in pounds to lean muscle weight. Once we calculate how many pounds of lean muscle weight, we then use that number to determine how much protein should be consumed relative to the three goals.
When attempting to lose body fat you need an overall caloric reduction but enough protein to maintain lean tissue. A rule of thumb would be to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean muscle weight. So if average guy is 15% body fat he has 30 pounds of body fat and 170 pounds of lean muscle weight. This means he needs 170 grams of protein every day to maintain his lean muscle mass while he tries to lose body fat.
Now let’s analyze his goal of gaining muscle. A common misconception is that trainees can gain muscle while at the same losing fat. This is next to impossible. The rule of thumb for gaining muscle will require him to consumer 1.2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. So 200 x 1.2 would be 240grams of Protein. This also assumes a caloric surplus including higher carb amounts.
And lastly, the amount of protein needed for performance improvement. This is a tough recommendation and totally relative to the sport. If there are weight restrictions for the athlete, 1 gm per pound of lean weight is sufficient. If not, 1 gm per pound of bodyweight should do.
Now that the amount of protein in grams daily is understood relative to goal, how does a trainee meet his/her protein thru the course of the day? It’s not easy. For most busy on the go folks, a combination of lean meat, egg whites and Protein Powders are the easiest way to maintain your protein requirements.
In Part II of this series coming soon, we’ll discuss the various types of protein and why you should use one over the other relative to your goals.
Be the BEST YOU at Any Age!