I am sure most of you have wondered this question: How much protein do I need to consume in a day?
Well, lets do a quick calculation to give you a nice range. Trust me, knowing how much protein to consume per day will definitely help gain strength, lose fat mass, and improve immune function! I suggest getting protein from whole foods—chicken, fresh water fish, beef, and eggs. Protein supplements (i.e., whey and casein protein) are great pre-/post-workout but SHOULD NOT be relied upon for all protein needs. You don’t want to be eating 4 protein shakes every day. People forget that whole food protein sources, like chicken and beef, have other nutrients in them, like vitamins, fats, and trace minerals!
Whole food protein sources > protein supplements
Okay, now lets find out how much protein you need!
For the sake of understanding how to calculate your daily protein needs I am going to use myself as an example.
First, find your body weight. I suggest weighing yourself in the morning after you use the bathroom (go number 1 and 2)—this is a little more accurate. My body weight this morning was 170.3 lbs. Now we need to convert this to kilograms (kg), so divide your body weight in lbs by 2.2046.
170.3/2.2046 = 77.24 kg
Now that we have our weight in kg all we need to do is apply the range of 1.4 -2.0 g protein/kg body weight . This is a healthy AND SAFE range for active people, higher than the RDAs recommendation of 0.8 g/kg bodyweight .
So, start of with 1.4 g/kg bw and then apply 2.0 g/kg bw to get a range. All you need to do is multiply the range values by your body weight in kg…like so:
1.4g/kg*77.24kg =108.13 g protein (low end)
2.0g/kg*77.24kg= 154.48 g protein (high end)
Now, I have my range of 108.13-154.48g of protein PER DAY! Because I am a Crossfiter many of my workouts are high-intensity, high-power I try and stick to the high end of 154.48g. If you are a little under/over I would not worry—just as long as you have a range to work with you should be good to go! If you are more Crossfit Endurance then stick to the low-end, but remember that protein is important for endurance athletes as it aids preventing muscle breakdown and has been shown to improve muscle soreness.
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies: Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients). Washington, DC , National Academies Press; 2002.
- Campbell et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise”. J Inter Soc Spor Nutri. 2007;(4):8