How Do You Figure Out How Much Protein You Need

Can I Build Muscle With Just Protein

How Much Protein Do You Need? | Nutrition For Athletes

Studies have shown that ingesting 20 to 40 grams of protein around the time of a workout seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise, but it takes more than just protein to build muscle. If your focus is on muscle building, then youll want to consume more calories to help stimulate that desired muscle growth but those calories shouldnt just be from protein. In fact, you should focus more on carbohydrate consumption if youre trying to increase muscle mass than you would if your end goal was just to lose weight.

While you’re working to build muscle with exercise, protein should make up 25% of your total calories. That makes your macronutrient breakdown about 25% protein, 45-60% carbohydrate and 20-30% fat. If youre aiming for 100 grams of protein per day, try having 25 grams of protein per each meal, whether thats four meals per day or your standard three meals per day with two snacks that have about 12.5 grams of protein each.

Protein Requirements For People Over 70

If you’re over 70 and typically have just toast and jam for breakfast, you might want to add protein to your meal. While protein at breakfast is a good idea at any age, research suggests that eating the right amount daily is even more important for maintaining optimal health when you’re over 70.

Beginner: The Palm Method

Got a hand? Superyouve got all you need to implement the Palm Method right away!

Heres how it works. Youre going to hold your hand up in front of your face and take note of the approximate diameter and thickness of your palm.

At each meal, youre looking for 1-2 palm-sized portions of protein . Snacks are roughly 1/2 to 1 palm-sized portion of protein.

Is it as precise as other methods? No. But its a good starting point, and it doesnt require counting macros or calories. You also dont need fancy food scales or measuring cups. Its actually a pretty solid approach if you just want to be healthy and lose a few pounds.

This method is great for restaurant meals, parties, and travel. And, it might be as precise as you ever need to get! If youre just starting to play with your protein intake, Id recommend trying this method for 2 weeks or so and then adjusting if you feel like youre not hitting your goals.

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How To Calculate Your Daily Protein Requirement

This protein requirement calculator estimates your daily protein requirement based on your weight. Using it you can estimate a generally appropriate protein intake in ounces or grams per day. Proteins are an essential part of a healthy diet, regardless if you are trying to gain muscle, lose weight or just maintain a healthy living.

To calculate your protein needs just enter your weight and health condition. Certain conditions require more than the average daily intake, such as fevers and infections, or intensive training – more on this below. The calculator will then display the mass of proteins you need to eat per day. Simple as that.

What Is The Rda Of Protein For Muscle Growth

How Much Protein You Need After a Workout

1g/lb of body weight is recommended for someone who is training at least 1 hour per day and whose goal is to gain muscle. Its rare for people to hit this goal because of the reality of how people adhere to nutritional guidance. Simply trying to hit this goal brings protein intake up and this significantly improves lean muscle gain, recovery, and overall body composition .

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How Much Protein Per Day To Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight . Athletes and heavy exercisers should consume 2.2-3.4 grams of protein per kilogram if aiming for weight loss.

My practical recommendation to people is that if you carry a BMI of over 30 or a body fat percentage above 25-30% it makes more sense to base your protein recommendations off of your goal weight.

For the correct amount of protein to gain muscle, check this resource out.

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Justwhatever You Dodon’t Listen To Anyone In The Fitness Industry

There isnt a gym in the world thats not selling some type of protein supplement.

The Internet is obsessed with it, which means youre probably obsessed with itand I dont blame you. How could you not be? Youre sold the dream that protein can provide untold muscle gains and leanness.

Youre told more is better.

More protein = more progress.

Are you right to think this?

In my experience, the sheer amount of biased misinformation means none of us ever really stood a chance.

I know I never did.

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Proteins In Different Foods

Dietary sources of complete proteins are mainly eggs, milk, meat, fish, and poultry. Eggs deserve a special mention for providing the optimal mixture of essential amino acids, having a protein rating of 100 out of 100. Below you can see a chart with the protein ratings of other common foods:

Proteins in common foods

White potatoes34

Both animals and plants produce proteins containing essential amino acids, but whereas animal sources usually provide a complete amino acids mix while individual vegetables usually offer a limited set, therefore food variety is more important for vegetarians or people with high percentage of plant foods in their diet. If you are consuming the same amino acid, it doesn’t make a difference if it is derived from an animal or plant source. Reliance on animal foods for protein often results in higher intake of cholesterol and fatty acids, so it should be considered when planning a food regime.

Despite being a key factor for muscle building, just eating a lot of protein will not automatically result in muscle growth, so don’t choose a diet with a very high protein percentage thinking that you will become mister Olympia. Proteins that are not immediately needed for energy or cell building will be transformed or discarded. Consuming too much protein is not without negative effects as it can put a strain on your liver and kidneys. So, exceeding the amounts recommended by our protein calculator may have adverse health effects.

How Much Protein Is Too Much

How Much Protein Do You Need?

According to research, long-term protein intake of 2g per kg BW per day is safe for healthy adults, while an upper tolerable limit of 3.5 g per kg BW per day is appropriate for well-adapted individuals. However, for most people, anything above this could result in digestive, renal, and vascular abnormalities. So its not recommended to consume more than the above mentioned intake .

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Promote Muscle Gain By Increased Protein Intake

If you are an athlete, looking to increase your muscle mass, simply eating high-protein foods wont help. Dietary protein, after deamination, provides energy or recycles components of non-muscle molecules, or is converted to stored fat in fat depos. First of all, one needs adequate caloric intake corresponding to their exercise level. If the intake is insufficient during intense training even augmented protein intake may not be enough to maintain the proper balance of nitrogen since a disproportionate percentage of dietary protein will be catabolized to account for the energy deficit. So, you will burn your proteins before they can participate in muscle development.

However, there is some support that the now common practice of eating and drinking predigested protein in the form of shakes, powders, pills or bars might assist in muscle growth, especially whey protein. A 2019 meta analysis supports the efficacy and safety of whey protein supplements as an ergogenic aid on athletes sports performance and recovery.


Katch V.L., McArdle W.D., Katch F.I Essentials of Exercise Physiology, fourth edition

Jager, R. et. al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Protein and exercise, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8

WHO Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition, WHO Technical Report Series 935

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Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Vegetarians And Vegans

The protein requirements discussed so far were based on studies that used animal-based protein supplements, such as whey or egg protein supplements, or were conducted mostly in omnivores. There is no reason to believe that people who get their protein mostly or entirely from plants have inherently different protein requirements, but since plant-based proteins tend to be lower in quality than animal-based proteins, if you obtain most of your protein from plants you will need to pay attention not just to the amount of protein you eat but also to the quality of that protein.

A proteins quality is determined by its digestibility and amino acid profile.

Digestibility matters because if you dont digest and absorb some of the protein you eat, then it may as well not have been eaten. Animal-based proteins consistently demonstrate a digestibility rate higher than 90%, whereas proteins from the best plant-based sources show a digestibility rate of 6080%.

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Why You Shouldn’t Calculate How Much Protein You Need Based On Total Calories Or Weight

On a simple level, protein guidelines generally fall into one of two camps: a proportion either of how much you eat or how much you weigh. However, both are flawed if youre looking to build muscle fast.

Take only eating a specific percentage of protein. The problem is that the numbers are going to be affected in a big way by your total calorie intake. For example, 30 per cent protein on a 2000-calorie diet is very different from 30 per cent protein on a 4000-calorie diet despite the fact that the percentages are exactly the same: 150g a day compared to 300g a day.

So, calculating your protein intake relative to your weight could be better, as it stays consistent regardless of how many calories you’re packing in.

For example, if you were to eat two grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight, you’ll be fuelling yourself with the same amount of protein regardless of your total daily calorie count whether that’s 1500 or 4000. However, this system is also not without its flaws.

How Do You Calculate Your Intake

Get The Scoop On Protein Powders

To keep it straightforward lets, use a 150-pound male as an example.

First, to work out what 0.8 of 150 is, we need to do a simple calculation: 150 x 0.8 = 120

The 120 is the daily protein gram allowance our 150-pound guy wants to shoot for.

To work this out in calories, we just need to multiply 120 x 4 = 480 .

Using these calculations, we see the total gram allowance is 120g and this equals a total of 480 kcal from protein per day.

Nice and simple.

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Protein Percentages In Common Diets

Here are some common diets and their protein contents for your reference.

Protein percentages in common diets

Keto Diet15%

When considering your diet plan ensure that the amount of protein recommended by your diet does not fall below the lower boundary. Especially in case it does, make sure to consult your physician if making significant changes .


Katch V.L., McArdle W.D., Katch F.I “Essentials of Exercise Physiology”, fourth edition

Jager, R. et. al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Protein and exercise”, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8

Lam, F.C. et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Whey Protein Supplements on Vital Sign and Physical Performance Among Athletes: A Network Meta-Analysis”, Frontiers in Pharmacology 10, DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00317

Van Elswyk, M. et al. “A Systematic Review of Renal Health in Healthy Individuals Associated with Protein Intake above the US Recommended Daily Allowance in Randomized Controlled Trials and Observational Studies”, Advances in Nutrition 9:404-418, DOI: 10.1093/advances/nmy026

WHO “Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition”, WHO Technical Report Series 935

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Fitness calculators

Total Calories: 1699 Per Day

Exercise: 15-30 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.Intense exercise: 45-120 minutes of elevated heart rate activity.Very intense exercise: 2+ hours of elevated heart rate activity.

Editors note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns.

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Calculate Using Your Body Weight

Of course, not everyone has access to body composition analysis. And if you dont, you can estimate your protein needs based on your current body weight. Its not a perfect method. It doesnt take into account how much muscle mass you have, but it does at least account for differences in body size.

Heres how to calculate your protein needs:

  • In pounds: multiply your body weight by 0.7
  • In kilograms: multiply your body weight by 1.5
  • The number you get is a reasonable target for the amount of protein, in grams, that you should eat each day.

    So, a woman who weighs 140lbs should aim for about 100g of protein a day. A 220lb man should shoot for at least 150g of protein.

    With either method, the recommended amount of protein is more tailored to your needs than general recommendations based on gender alone. Of course, if you have a specific

    athletic goal in mind, such as strength training or endurance, your needs might vary somewhat, and you can find more detailed information in my guide for calculating macros for athletic performance.

    How Much Protein Should I Consume From Supplements

    How much protein do I need

    Regardless of your protein needs, it is important to remember that the majority of your food should come from whole food sources like meats, eggs, nuts, etc., not from supplements. Supplements should be used when you need a convenient source of protein and generally, should not make up more than 35% of your daily protein intake.

    For example, if 160 grams of protein is your daily intake, then no more than 56 grams should come from protein supplements . When you are pressed for time, a protein shake is the best option for you, but remember that whole foods are your first choice whenever possible.

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    The Takeaway Points Do This Now

    When it comes to how much protein a person needs per day, one thing is clearthere is no definite answer. The amount YOU need per day varies and depends on your current state of health, age, workout frequency, physique and fitness goals, body composition, and many more.

    STEP 1: How much protein per day are you eating now?

    First, figure out how much protein youre eating now. Track all your food using any diet tracking app or measure your food and calculate your total intake of protein in grams per day. Then divided by your weight in pounds and you will get grams per pound.

    STEP 2: Adjust

    Compare your number to the recommendations above based on your preference .

    If youre on the lower end, increase your protein intake, if on the higher end or over, decrease it.

    STEP 3: Observe

    Observe how you feel, perform at the gym, how is your digestion and overall sense of being. If youre feeling better, keep with your new intake, if not, adjust it again.

    Only through the process of experimentation, assessment and observation, you will find out your ideal protein amount and what works the best for you.

    If you need any help figuring out where to start, dont hesitate and reach out to us. We are here to help.

    Optimal Daily Protein Intake For Athletes

    If youre physically active regularly, you need more protein daily than if you were sedentary. The American College of Sports Medicine, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend 1.22.0 g/kg to optimize recovery from training and to promote the growth and maintenance of lean mass when caloric intake is sufficient. This recommendation is similar to that of the International Society of Sports Nutrition : 1.42.0 g/kg.

    Importantly, it may be better to aim for the higher end of the above ranges. According to the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date on the effects of protein supplementation on muscle mass and strength, the average amount of protein required to maximize lean mass is about 1.6 g/kg, and some people need upwards of 2.2 g/kg. Those of you interested in a comprehensive breakdown of this study will find one in NERD #34 .

    However, only 4 of the 49 included studies were conducted in people with resistance training experience . IAAO studies in athletes found different numbers: on training days, female athletes required 1.41.7 g/kg the day following a regular training session, male endurance athletes required 2.12.7 g/kg two days after their last resistance-training session, amateur male bodybuilders required 1.72.2 g/kg.

    Since higher protein intakes seem to have no negative effects in healthy people, one may want to err toward the higher amounts. For most athletes , the ISSN range will work well:

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    How To Use The Protein Calculator

    This protein calculator estimates your total daily energy expenditure and then calculates a percentage of it, depending on the selected protein percent of your total calorie intake.

    To calculate your calorie needs, you have to enter age, gender, height, weight and activity level , which are all needed for the estimation. Finally, enter the percentage of total calories that you want to consume in proteins – you can check a list of proteins in common diets below. The tool will display the amount and caloric equivalence of the proteins you need to eat per day.

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