How much protein should I consume?
Well, now that we’ve discussed the reason for protein, common food sources to get it, and how the traditional American diet doesn’t provide enough of it, now it’s time to determine how much to consume. When choosing how much protein to consume there are many variables, age, weight, body composition, gender, activity, goals, and several others. If knowledge interests you, then I encourage you to research each of these variables individually. By in large you can certainly undereat protein, though often if you were to consume more than your body is able to absorb, you usually end up eliminating it through urine.
When choosing the right amount of protein for your body, a few of the main things to consider are age and daily muscle breakdown through exercise. As we train, muscle breaks down much faster, therefore we must replenish those muscles with amino acids to repair them. Failure to do so will result in the body breaking down so much that exercise can become counterintuitive to the goal of retaining, or growing muscle. Age is a huge factor because the older one becomes, the more protein they need to ingest to get the same result as someone younger. Protein synthesis becomes much harder as the year’s progress.
It’s probably not that far off to say that most who are reading this are in a category who desire to lose more body fat and become stronger. In the fitness world we call that recomposition (we’re known for making up words)… simply, it’s losing fat, adding muscle. To do that effectively you need to be in a slight caloric deficit… train or do some sort of intentional movement that puts stress on your body beyond regular life every day, and then favor a diet higher in protein. What do I mean by higher in protein? Well, if the desired outcome is lowering your body fat then 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of FFM (fat-free mass) would be your goal.
If you weighed 200 pounds, and you were 20% body fat, that means you have 40 pounds of fat on you. Understanding that some of your weight is going to be bones and organs, you’ll want to shoot for a protein range that’s between 150-170 grams of protein per day. If it’s not feasible for you to get your body fat percentage done accurately, then it’s best to stick with 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Although, if you’re 300 pounds, eating 300 grams of protein is unlikely, which is why the FFM method works best. If it’s unattainable for you to get your body fat percentage, and you’re in a weight category that’s unlikely you’ll be able to consume that much, I often tell our clients to eat the amount of protein of the weight you desire, and then add on 10 more grams. If you weigh 300 and wanted to be 180, then shoot for 190 grams
of protein per day through various food sources. It’s not a perfect method, but it gives a goal. Often, it’s difficult to eat that much food in a day, which is why it’s crucial to have a high-quality protein supplement close by. There are a couple of great times to consume a quick protein shake, after a workout, and in between meals to curb the appetite. Hopefully, you feel confident now why, and how much protein is needed to achieve your goals. As always, live healthy, live happy and live your best today so that you can enjoy tomorrow.
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