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How Much Protein do you REALLY need?

It’s the question I get ALL the time. And we all know that nutrition can be tricky as it’s extremely variable (it changes depending on the person and that person’s unique make up and goals) so how much protein do you really need to reach your goals?

As with most nutrition questions, the answer is going to be:

It depends.

It depends on your goals, it depends on your dietary preferences, it depends on other lifestyle elements and what you have access to.

But there ARE general recommendations you can follow to make sure that your nutrition is supporting your goals and fueling your body for success!

Here are the steps I teach my clients when it comes to determining the right protein intake levels for their goals:

Step 1: Assess Your Goals

The amount of protein you need to consume changes based on your goals or sport participation. Your first step is to identify what your overall goal is:

  • Best Health (Maintenance)

  • Muscle Building

  • Weight Loss

  • Endurance Sports

It should also be noted that individuals who are recovering from major injuries, surgeries, or pregnant and postpartum mothers should be prioritizing protein intake as protein is the building blocks for recovery.

Step 2: Calculate Your Needs Based on Your Goal

Recommendations for how much protein you should consume for each goal is determined by your bodyweight. Each recommendation below is noted per pound of bodyweight.

  • Best Health (Maintenance) = 0.3-0.8 grams per pound

  • Muscle Building = 1.0-1.5 grams per pound

  • Weight Loss = 1.0-1.5 grams per pound

  • Endurance Sports = 0.5-1.0 grams per pound

Step 3: Do The Math

Example: If you are a 140lb female with a muscle building goal, your ideal protein intake would be between:

  • 140 X 1.0 = 140 grams of protein daily

  • 140 X 1.5 = 210 gams of protein daily

Example: If you are a 210lb male who plays an endurance sport, your ideal protein intake would be between:

  • 210 X 0.5 = 105 grams of protein daily

  • 210 X 1.0 = 210 gams of protein daily

Step 4: Consider

Increased protein intake often leaves you feeling more “full.” This is because protein has higher thermogenic properties causing it to be digested more slowly. This means that if you are drastically increasing your protein intake you may best do so slowly and incrementally over a period of time.

High protein diets also may not be appropriate for individuals who have kidney diseases or disorders so always check with you doctor if you have chronic kidney disease and are concerned about your protein intake.

High protein diets are otherwise considered safe for health individuals who do not have any chronic diseases or disorders.

Hopefully this helps simplify your approach to protein intake and can give you confidence in aligning your nutrition with your specific goals to get best results.

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