As you gear up to get started with creating a proper nutrition plan for yourself, it’s important to get straight the protein part of the equation. With any workout supplements available containing protein, you know that it’s critical for anyone leading the active lifestyle.
But, how much is enough? And, is more better?
Before you start up on your diet plan, let’s give you the details you need to know about getting the right amount of protein in.
Consider Your Bodyweight
The first thing that you need to do is think about your body weight. Protein intake is very much based off your lean body weight, so this will be the biggest indicator of how much protein to consume.
For the general population who is looking to maintain their body weight, taking in around 0.6-0.8 grams/lb. of bodyweight per day is a good starting place.
If you are regularly engaging in physical activity and as such are more regularly tearing your body down, you’ll need a little more protein. You don’t need a vast amount more, but around 0.8 to 1 gram per day will do the trick.
Think About Your Goals
Now, to that number, you also need to factor in your goals. Are you looking to lose body fat or build lean muscle mass? If so, this can alter your protein recommendation.
The biggest thing to note here is that those who are looking to lose weight actually need more protein, not less. Most people would automatically assume they need less since they’re eating less food, but this isn’t the case. You need more because since you are taking in less fuel overall from fat and carbohydrates, this means there is a greater chance your body may use incoming protein as a fuel source.
If it does, this means less protein is left over to help with all the purposes protein is meant for. Basically, you’ll be deficient.
So those who are on a lower calorie intake should bump their protein intake up to around 1-1.25 grams per pound of body weight each day. This will provide a little extra so that should protein be used as a fuel source, you’ll still have an adequate supply.
On the other hand, you might think that those who are looking to build muscle need far more protein. The idea of the guy lifting heavy weights and pounding back protein shakes in the gym comes to mind.
This isn’t the case though. If you aim to take in around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day, this should still meet your protein needs and requirements. You can go a bit higher if you wish, but it’s not completely necessary.
What is more important however is that you take in more carbohydrates and dietary fats. These will provide the energy the body needs to build lean muscle mass.
Factor In Quality
The next thing to think about is quality. Are you eating quality protein sources such as chicken, turkey, lean steak, wild caught fish, and eggs/egg whites?
If you get more of your protein from vegetarian sources such as beans, lentils, nut butters and so forth, you may need to consider a workout supplement as well containing protein.
It can be hard to meet your protein requirements on these foods alone at times, depending on how you structure your diet.
Giving your body a boost with a hemp protein powder for instance can be a great way to improve your intake.
Is More Better?
Finally, you might wonder if more is still better? Is there any harm in taking your protein higher? Generally speaking, if you simply love protein rich foods, you can take your intake up to around 1.5 grams/lb of body weight provided you do not have any pre-existing kidney problems.
But, it’s simply not necessary. Unless you are on a very low calorie diet, you simply do not need this much and you’ll be making more work for your body to process this protein.
There are no real benefits to going this high, so don’t kid yourself into thinking you will build muscle faster.
So there you have the low-down on protein. Are you getting what you need?