And if you want to lose fat, build muscle, or really just improve the way your body looks or performsin virtually any capacity, protein (and how much of it you eat per day) becomes even more important.
So, now that you know why you need it, the question becomes how much of it do you need? Exactly how much protein is ideal for you, your diet, and your specific goal?
Let’s answer that…
How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?
Surprisingly, the most common recommendations for how much protein you should eat per day when you’re trying to improve your body don’t typically vary by toomuch and instead tend to fall within a similar range.
For most of the people, most of the time, that recommended range is:
Ideal Daily Protein Intake: 0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Of course, that range is a bit broad. So, here’s my recommendations for how to narrow it down to what’s best for you…
Recommended Amount Of Protein Per Day For Different Situations & Goals
|Person, Situation & Goals||Ideal Daily Protein Intake|
|Average healthy sedentary adult (male or female) that does NOT work out or have any related goals. This is just what I consider to be a good minimum daily protein intake for general health/function.||0.5-0.7grams of protein per pound of body weight.|
|Average healthy adult (male or female) that IS doing some form of exercise regularly or IS trying to improve their body (lose fat, build muscle, etc.). This is the minimum I’d recommend in this case.||0.8-1grams of protein per pound of body weight.|
|Average healthy adult FEMALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance.||1-1.2grams of protein per pound of body weight.|
|Average healthy adult MALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance.||1-1.5grams of protein per pound of body weight.|
(When in doubt, the old standby recommendation of “1 gram of protein per pound of body weight” which has been around the fitness world for decades is a fine middle-of-the-road protein intake for most people.)
So, in order to figure out how much protein you should eat per day, you just need to multiply your current body weight (in pounds) by the amount recommended on the chart above.
Confused? Here’s 2 examples of how it would be done…
- Let’s say a 130lb woman has the goal of building some muscle, or getting “toned,” or 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.
- Now let’s say a 180lb man wanted to build muscle, or maintain muscle while losing fat, or improve strength/performance. He’d do 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. The answer you get is the ideal range for how many grams of protein you should eat per day.
Did you do it? Awesome! Your daily protein intake is now all figured out.
(*NOTE* In the case of people of 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, for true obese individuals, 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 eat per day.)
As long as you are somewhere within that ideal range, your protein intake is absolutely perfect and it will produce the best results/benefits possible.
The next thing you probably want to know is which foods you should get that protein from each day. I got you covered…
Examples Of High Protein Foods
Below is a quick, simple and basic list of the most common high protein foods.
- Chicken (skinless)
- Turkey (skinless)
- Fish (all kinds)
- Beef (leaner cuts)
- Pork (leaner cuts)
- Whole Eggs
- Egg Whites
- Protein Supplements (whey protein powder, casein protein powder, protein bars, etc.)
- Beans (all kinds)
- Nuts (all kinds)
This is by no means the definitive list of every food that contains protein, but it is a list of the ones that will provide the majority of your daily protein intake.
Pick your favorites (more about how to do that later).
How To Factor Protein Into Your Total Daily Calorie Intake
Now that you know how much protein you should eat per day and have a good idea of which foods will be providing that protein, there’s one final step to complete.
We need to factor your daily protein intake into the ideal daily calorie intake you figured out before. Don’t worry… it’s easy.
You just need to know that 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.
So, all you need to do is 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. Here’s 2 examples…
- Using the same 130lb woman from the example before, let’s say she decided to go with an even 130 grams of protein per day. She would do 130 x 4 = 520. In this example, 520 calories out of her total daily calorie intake will come from protein each day.
- Using the same 180lb man from the example before, let’s say he decided to go with an even 220 grams of protein per day. He’d do 220 x 4 = 880. In this example, 880 calories out of his total daily calorie intake will come from protein each day.
Now it’s your turn. 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.
This step might seem pointless or confusing (or both) right now, but don’t worry. It will make perfect sense as we continue putting the rest of your diet plan together. You’ll see… I promise.