Phoenix Ignition Fitness Company

Proper Amount of Protein Intake

by Ron Kennedy • October 10, 2016
Fitness professionals and personal trainers use it as the corner stone of healthy eating, doctors and nutritionists prescribe it for muscle building and weight loss, and almost every major food company uses it to promote the “healthy” value of their products. Your daily protein intake plays an absolutely crucial role in terms of the overall health and function of your body, including weight loss, muscle building, and even functions of certain organs. There is no question that it’s a demanding requirement of any dietary needs, yet many fitness enthusiasts struggle to understand the proper amount of protein intake for their size, sex, and activity levels. So How much protein should you be in-taking every day?

The general golden rule of protein intake is 0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, 5-7 days per week. Unfortunately, that is a very broad recommendation. There are varying fitness and activity levels, and to use a strict ideology can potentially cause a far greater intake or simply not enough. As a fitness professional, we monitor the caloric intake of our clients through food tracking apps. The most common mistake we see is lower protein ingestion then needed to build muscle and curve the appetite. Carbohydrates make you feel more full (a topic for another time), and most people’s eating habits lean toward reliving the feeling of hunger. Yet, higher protein intake diets normally do not provide that satisfied feeling, so instead of chicken breasts and white fish, the majority of Americans subsite complex sugar foods like bread, potatoes, white rice and pasta. Yet, let’s return to the number game…

Using myself as an example, 6’0 (dastardly good looking) adult male weighing in at 211lbs with a focus on muscle mass, but maintaining a low body fat percentage, working out 5-6 days a week, scientists suggest I take in 1.25-1.5 grams of protein daily for my body weight. That’s a low end of 263 grams per day! I could put KFC out of business from all that chicken! On the other hand, a female with a much less regimented fitness schedule weighing 130lbs would be suggested to take in 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Only 91 grams daily.

Needless to say, even with a highly disciplined eating schedule, taking in 263-311 grams of protein each day is incredibly difficult. At the time of writing this, my current protein intake is around 200 grams a day, and I maintain a fairly advanced muscle to weight ratio. From my personal experience, as well as working with our personal training clients and tracking their results, it leaves me very skeptical about the theory mentioned above. Yet, for the sake of science, let’s use the following two examples to discover how to accurately factor your proper protein intake:

A 130lb woman has the goal of building lean muscle, getting “toned,” and losing fat (while maintaining muscle). She’d simply multiply 130 by 1-1.2 and get a daily protein intake of between 130-156 grams per day. a 180lb man wants to build muscle, maintain muscle while losing fat, and improve strength/performance. He would calculate 180 x 1-1.5 and get a daily protein intake of between 180-270 grams per day.

Basically, just multiply your current body weight in pounds by your recommended ideal protein intake, and factor in activity level. The answer you discover is the ideal range for how many grams of protein you should eat per day in laymen’s terms. It should be noted that in the case of people who are very overweight, your ideal protein intake will be overestimated if you use your current body weight due to the excessive amount of fat on your body. So if you are suffering from obesity, your target body weight should be used instead. For example, a 300lb man looking to get down to 200lbs would use 200lbs as their weight when calculating how much protein they should intake per day.

Now that we have established a system to discover your total grams of protein for the day, we need to factor your daily protein intake into the ideal daily calorie intake you figured out before. Simply multiply the grams of protein you’re going to eat each day by 4 to figure out exactly how many calories your protein intake will account for. Using the two examples from before:

The same 130lb woman from the example before, let’s have her decided to go with an even 130 grams of protein per day. She would calculate 130 x 4 = 520. In this example, 520 calories out of her total daily calorie intake will come from protein each day. The same 180lb man from the example before decides’ to go with an even 220 grams of protein per day. He would calculate 220 x 4 = 880. In this example, 880 calories out of his total daily calorie intake will come from protein each day.

Multiply the ideal protein intake you calculated a minute ago by 4. That’s how many calories protein will account for in your diet each day. I would suggest for your own fitness goals that you do take into account activity levels on a weekly basis. Also it should be noted that if you are not used to a higher protein intake, that it takes a week or so for the digestive track to adapt, especially adding liquid shakes to any diet. Just make sure your close to some fresh air!