Protein Consumption

I read an article from the Strength and Conditioning Journal today that examined in greater detail the best types and amounts of protein to consume for different athletes.  It turns out that my calculations have been wrong!

According to the journal you only need 1.2 to 1.8 g of protein per kg of weight.  Here are the steps to calculating how much protein you need to consume per day if working out 4-6 days a week doing resistance training.

1. Calculate your weight and convert to kg.  I use this website to do conversions.

2. Multiply your weight in kg by 1.2 or 1.8.  Use the higher value if you are exercising more often.

Ex: I weight 151 lbs.  That equals roughly 68 kg.  Since I work out doing resistance training 4 days a week I’ll use the higher protein intake value (1.8).  68 x 1.8 = 122.4 g of protein a day.  That’s significantly less than I was told by other trainers in the past.

Finally, how much should you consume at once?  For older, more experienced athletes you can consume 20-40g at once and see maximal muscle growth.  For younger, less experienced athletes, they see no advantage by consuming more than 20 g at once.

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4 thoughts on “Protein Consumption

  1. Candie Bynum Atherton says:

    This is a good guide, but to GAIN muscle mass you would want to eat 1-2 grams of protein per body weight. I eat about 1.25g of protein per bodyweight, which puts me between 190-200g of protein per day. If I wanted to maintain my muscle mass, I would decrease my protein intake slightly. Keep in mind, the training intensity needs to be high and the weights heavy to aid in muscle growth as well.

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  2. kamui4x says:

    See, Candy, that’s what I always thought. I’ve been doing that for weeks and the gains just aren’t there. I have gained some fat though. Then I read this study this morning. Taken from the study…”Importantly, Lemon also reported that no further improvements in outcomes such as strength and body composition variables (lean mass and body fat %) when protein intake increased from 1.35 to 2.6 g·kg−1·d−1.” These are similar to the daily recommended amounts by the NSCA and ACSM.

    Also how are you measuring your weight? In lbs or kg? If you are doing a ratio of 1 g of protein to 1 lb, you are far exceeding what the literature suggests. For example, if I use lbs as a body measurement and follow the recommendation at 1.8 g per kg, that equates to 279 grams of protein per day. That’s an excess of 157 g of protein. It’s wasteful and expensive to consume that much protein daily.

    Of course, every body is different and maybe you’ve experienced greater success with higher quantities, but I haven’t and neither have my clients.

    In case anyone was wondering how much to eat to maintain….also from the paper: “The recommended daily allowance (RDA) remains at 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body mass per day and represents a protein intake that is sufficient to meet the needs of nearly all (97.5%) healthy adult men and women.”

    Source: Protein Applications in Sports Nutrition—Part I: Requirements, Quality, Source, and Optimal Dose
    McLain, Trisha A.; Escobar, Kurt A.; Kerksick, Chad M.

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  3. Candie Bynum Atherton says:

    I measure my weight in lbs. And you hit the nail on the head “every body is different.” Most of the time it is trial and error. Find what works for you and stick with it! I found for me, higher protein consumption has led to great strength and muscle gains. Also, keep in mind when you are trying to put on size, therefore have a calorie surplus, you will gain a little bit of fat with the muscle. That’s normal.

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