Ahhh, the age-old question… HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?!?!?
Well, it depends on your goals for your physique… so let me elaborate! The RDA, [recommended daily allowance], for the average population, [0.8g of protein/kg of body weight], is actually far lower than what up-to-date research supports - especially when you’re exercising regularly! Here’s the deal: If you’re *not* strength training regularly, research shows that, in order not to lose any lean muscle mass you currently have, you’ll need to consume 1.2-1.6g of protein/kg body weight every day. [Remember: more muscle mass = more calories burned each day in order to function, which = easier weight maintenance] Recommendations *increase* from there if you’re strength training regularly [aka following my app], so make it a priority to eat the proper amount of protein by the end of the day *every* day - even on rest and recovery days - in order to properly recovery and achieve the best results from your workouts. First, figure out which of the 2 options below best describes your goals:
If you wish to maintain your current size and/or slightly change your body composition [i.e. lean out a bit and add a little muscle mass] you should aim to consume 1.6-2.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight every day, [stay toward the lower end to maintain or go toward the higher end to gain some muscle mass].
If your goal is to lose fat while following a strength training program, you should strive to consume 2.3-3.1g of protein per kg of body weight each day in order to pull off the tricky task of not losing muscle mass while working to lose fat mass.
Now here’s how to calculate the amount of protein you need: divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 to get your weight in kg, then multiply your weight in kg by the number of grams of protein that coincide with your goals. THAT = “your number” of grams. Remember to adjust your number as your goals change! And please note: YOU know your body best! Ultimately, you should eat what leaves you feeling your best - even if it doesn’t fall exactly within the guidelines I’ve shared!
It’s worth mentioning too: if you’re not lifting competitively or body building, planning grams of protein per meal or perfectly timing protein consumption after your workout isn’t nearly as important as hitting that overall number of grams by the end of the day *every day*. Setting such specific expectations can make us feel like we’re failing before we even give ourselves the chance to succeed. [For example: if you didn’t each much protein with your breakfast, don’t give up on the day! Just be sure to eat extra at lunch and dinner to get yourself back on track.] So don’t stress about a specific schedule, just focus on hitting your number before you hit the hay ;-)
Now.. what about protein powder?? Honestly, I don’t think investing in it is an absolute necessity and I encourage everyone to put an honest effort into *eating* their nutrients. However, if you find that consuming enough protein is difficult, despite including it in every meal, using a supplement like protein powder is a helpful way to increase your intake. As with anything, read the label! I would recommend staying away from whey proteins if you’re sensitive to lactose or if you find it makes you bloated/gassy. And always make sure there’s not an outrageous amount of sugar/artificial flavors in in the ingredients so that you’re not doing more harm than good. I love using collagen peptides, [I use Vital Proteins], because they dissolve into any beverage - warm or cold - that I’m sipping on during the day! They’re a great way to increase your protein intake for muscle recovery AND improve both your joint health and skin complexion at the same time.