How Much Protein Do You Need To Fuel Your Workouts?

A balanced diet for the average person should consist of wholesome, unprocessed foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein.

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The average “daily recommended protein intake” per person is just 0.36 protein grams for every pound of bodyweight. The problem with this, of course, is that it doesn’t take a lot of factors into consideration, including your age, gender, body type and goals.

Are you trying to lose weight? Gain mass? Are you an athlete, or training for a particular athletic event?

The following article explains how much protein you need to gain muscle mass and maintain it without gaining excess body fat.

Body Building

Body builders utilize weightlifting to increase lean muscle mass and pure, physical power. Most body builders constantly optimize their diets in order to gain more muscle mass during workouts. So, how much protein for bodybuilding is needed every day? Athletes who participate in programs specifically designed to add muscle bulk require about 0.7 to 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. To put this in perspective, a man weighing 210 pounds who is bodybuilding three to five days a week, needs 147 to 168 grams of protein per day. Unfortunately, you can’t consume this all at once to achieve optimal gains. Instead, consume protein in 30 gram increments, and always consume a good chunk of protein immediately after a workout for best results.

Typical Weight Training

The average person who regularly goes to the gym to lift weights usually does so in order to look and feel stronger. This doesn’t equate to bodybuilder status per se, but he or she is nonetheless acting as an amateur athlete. Thus, the same rule applies, as with strength training – you need protein and amino acids to gain lean muscle mass. So how much protein for weightlifting is needed?  These athletes require less than “body builders,” or about 0.5 to 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight daily.

Pre And Post-Workout Meals

Pre and post-workout meals vary in size and calories, depending on the intensity level of your workout regimen. It is important to eat the right things at the right times in order to reap the most out of your efforts in the gym. Your pre-workout meal should contain protein and give you energy; your post-workout meals should contain protein to help your body recover faster. So how much protein do you need after lifting weights? Depending on the intensity level of your training (see above) recommended protein intake per day is measured by what kind of athlete you are, and how much you weigh.

Protein And Weight Loss

Protein is vital if you work out to lose weight. When dieting to lose weight, you need to understand that if your body doesn’t get enough protein before and after workouts, it will destructively burn muscle tissue for energy. Less muscle means a lower metabolism, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to lose weight. The best way to lose body fat is to build up your lean muscle mass, get in plenty of cardiovascular exercise three to five times per week and eat a clean diet full of whole foods.

Diet Vs. Protein Supplements

Eating foods high in protein is good for you, but it does have its drawbacks, including calories. That 210 pound man who tries to pack on large amounts of muscle mass knows he needs roughly 150 grams of protein every day; but he also wants to avoid adding excess body fat. The more body fat he has, the less muscle definition he will have. This is where supplements come into play. Protein powders offer high amounts of protein without the added calories of eating excess foods. However, keep in mind that taking in too many grams of protein puts you at a disadvantage because your body will naturally store anything it can’t use as energy. So counting calories as well as daily intake of protein grams is very important.

Food Protein Content

  • Every serving of fruit or veggies should contain 1 gram of protein each
  • Every egg you eat or serving of nuts should contain 5 grams of protein each
  • Every cup of yogurt or milk should contain 10 grams of protein each
  • Every cup of beans and ½ cup cottage cheese should contain 15 grams of protein each
  • Every 3 to 4 ounces of meat should have 25 grams of protein each

For the average person trying to maintain and tone, a diet like the one above would supply enough daily protein. But if adding muscle mass or bulking up is your goal, you will still want to eat clean and healthy, but get your necessary protein by using a supplement.

Every person who wants to be healthy needs regular exercise and a diet rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, iron, healthy fats, healthy carbs and the right amount of protein tailored to their personal fitness goals and routines. There are also a variety of vegan options that make great protein sources, such as beans, legumes, tofu and coconut butter. The key is to evaluate your fitness goals and plan your diet so that you have the right kinds and proper amounts of fuel from food and protein for your body’s needs.