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View Full Version : Protein requirement - what works for you?


Gittit Shwartz
03-26-2008, 05:24 PM
I see most of you use daily protein intake as the starting point and calculate/adjust other macronutrients accordingly. Even those who hate WAM will eyeball their protein.
What is your take on protein requirements - do you all use Zone guidelines for protein?
How do you adjust for factors like IF, training volume and intensity, macro ratios (i.e. lower requirement when carbs are low and fat intake high)?
Do you calculate by total body mass or LBM?
Just curious what has worked for you people, in the end I suppose I will have to test it for myself.

John Alston
03-26-2008, 07:04 PM
I was aiming for 1g/lb of body weight. Now I'm thinking more might be better, especially as I'm looking to add some muscle mass.
I just posted this article on my blog, on this exact topic.
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/protein_requirements.htm

Mike ODonnell
03-26-2008, 08:40 PM
I don't gain until I start going 1-1.5g/lb of bw. Activity level shouldn't be a huge factor (if you are already getting enough) as you adjust fat or carbs to sustain energy levels. Although there are factors like IF that can increase protein utilization, cycling low and high protein days, higher fat diets to increase nitrogen retention, etc.

Chris Forbis
03-27-2008, 04:26 AM
I like to hit 1g/pound in general. If you don't eat 6 times a day, this is not the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. 3 meals a day, weighing and measuring most stuff.

http://www.fitday.com/WebFit/PublicJournals.html?Owner=forbis316

John Alston
03-27-2008, 05:11 AM
Weighing and measuring is the antithesis of what I want to be doing with food. I eyeball, try to go big, aim for a lb of meat/fish, which I rough out to 100g, as a base, then, yeah, add a couple shakes. But going to 1.4g/lb will take a little more effort.
I used to aim for 100g by lunch, but it might be 100g before lunch now, with a full 40-50 at lunch, too.

Jay Cohen
03-27-2008, 05:42 AM
Weighing and measuring is the antithesis of what I want to be doing with food. I eyeball, try to go big, aim for a lb of meat/fish, which I rough out to 100g, as a base, then, yeah, add a couple shakes. But going to 1.4g/lb will take a little more effort.
I used to aim for 100g by lunch, but it might be 100g before lunch now, with a full 40-50 at lunch, too.


John;

Reading your posts make me proud to be a manly guy, well, least I think I am, though your Avatar is a tad spooky.

John Alston
03-27-2008, 06:32 AM
http://www.mugshots.com/IMAGES/Mugshot__Andre-the-Giant1.jpg

Allen Yeh
03-27-2008, 07:25 AM
I was aiming for 1g/lb of body weight. Now I'm thinking more might be better, especially as I'm looking to add some muscle mass.
I just posted this article on my blog, on this exact topic.
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/protein_requirements.htm

A good article by Lyle.


I typically strive for 1g/lb as well on non workout days. On workout days then I strive for 1g/lb plus my postworkout shake which is 30 grams more. I use to add in my PWO shake into my total count but have recently added it on top of what I am shooting for.

Most days I have no problem, however when I was doing IF I got a little more shaky on those days and ended up having to take a massive shake every day to hit 1g/lb. Currently I'm just trying to get back into eating food again after all the V-diet stuff and after a few weeks of this may give IF another shake.

John Alston
03-27-2008, 07:54 AM
I think the key for me is going to be second breakfast. Some food, a little shake at home, then the same again at work.
I feel like using a shake with real food makes it "better" than a shake unaccompanied by real food. So there's also the "add a smallish shake to your meals" thing to easily turn a 30g meal into a 60g of protein meal.
6 meals a day seems too much for me, but somehow 4 and 2 snacks sounds fine.

Garrett Smith
03-27-2008, 10:58 AM
1.25 - 1.75 pounds of flesh a day.

1/4 to 1/2 of that is at lunch, the rest comes at dinner, the lower end of that range happens on 22-hour fast days (1 or 2 a week).

1 - 1.5 pounds of veggies a day, split in approximately the same doses as the meat.

josh everett
03-27-2008, 02:58 PM
about 10 years ago I started making sure i ate atleast 1g of protien per pound of bodyweight... when I started doing this I began gaining like a beginer again. I've since of course paltued and may even be on the decline but eating loads of protien made a noticeable change for me.

Mike ODonnell
03-31-2008, 12:06 PM
Also eating a higher fat diet (like 40%+) will have a nitrogen sparing effect....so hence less muscle breakdown and less protein required. The zone is a great example of how one can lose fat, gain muscle (on like 0.8 gr/lb bw) and still be calorie restricted. Hence why people up their fat intake to account for activity level and still gain muscle without upping protein.

That and high protein is not ideal for longevity due to excess protein oxidation....just did something on that today at the blog (http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/2008/03/31/too-much-protein-a-bad-thing/).

1 gr/lb of bw is ALOT of real food....not talking about using cheap Whey powder either. That and there are other factors such as GH, Test, IGF-1 that come into play for building muscles.

Greg Davis
04-03-2008, 09:46 AM
1 - 1.5 pounds of veggies a day, split in approximately the same doses as the meat.

How much veggies is that? (i don't have a good sense of veggie weights). Looking up a few from nutritiondata gives me:

1 bunch broccoli = 1.3 lbs (608g)
1 med stalk celery = .09 lbs (40g)
(celery weight seems light but thats what it says)
1 bunch spinach = .75 lbs (340g)
1 head romaine lettuce = 1.38 lbs (626g)
1 large carrot = 0.16 lbs (72g)

Does this seem about right if we're aiming for 1-1.5 lbs a day? Is volume a consideration?

Garrett Smith
04-03-2008, 01:18 PM
Greg,
Here's my estimates from stuff I typically eat:
5-7 oz. of salad at lunch (one bag of typically baby spinach or arugula)

Dinner is usually a veggie + an onion (I like onions!), so it's usually the onion weight plus:
12 oz. of brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower (one bag)
16 oz. of Southern Greens or Chard mix (one bag)

I know it is not as environmentally conscious as it should be, but it works for me.

My wife eats about 1/5 of the veggies at dinnertime.

If you are using "loose" veggies, it is a bit tougher to gauge the weight/amount, for sure.

IMO, if you go by weight, volume really isn't a consideration.

It's just how I do it. It's more that I came to this intake over time and observed later what I did, versus setting a goal intake of food and always trying to reach it.

Darryl Shaw
04-14-2008, 06:56 AM
Also eating a higher fat diet (like 40%+) will have a nitrogen sparing effect....so hence less muscle breakdown and less protein required. The zone is a great example of how one can lose fat, gain muscle (on like 0.8 gr/lb bw) and still be calorie restricted. Hence why people up their fat intake to account for activity level and still gain muscle without upping protein.

That and high protein is not ideal for longevity due to excess protein oxidation....just did something on that today at the blog (http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/2008/03/31/too-much-protein-a-bad-thing/).

1 gr/lb of bw is ALOT of real food....not talking about using cheap Whey powder either. That and there are other factors such as GH, Test, IGF-1 that come into play for building muscles.

I have a theory that the idea you need 1g/lb of BW is a sneaky marketing trick aimed at convincing bodybuilders they can't meet their protein requirements without the use of supplements because, as you say, it's a lot of real food.
If I remember right according to the book Clinical Sports Nutrition the protein requirement for athletes is 1.2 - 1.6g/kg of BW per day with any protein intake above this amount being oxidised for energy but most athletes can get along fine with 1g/kg of BW most of the time so anyone aiming for 1g/lb of BW per day is actually eating about 2.2 times more protein than they need.

John Alston
04-14-2008, 06:59 AM
I have a theory that the idea you need 1g/lb of BW is a sneaky marketing trick aimed at convincing bodybuilders they can't meet their protein requirements without the use of supplements because, as you say, it's a lot of real food.
If I remember right according to the book Clinical Sports Nutrition the protein requirement for athletes is 1.2 - 1.6g/kg of BW per day with any protein intake above this amount being oxidised for energy but most athletes can get along fine with 1g/kg of BW most of the time so anyone aiming for 1g/lb of BW per day is actually eating about 2.2 times more protein than they need.

Athletes - which kind need that? Runners? Cyclist? Marathoners? Gymnasts? Weightlifters looking to build muscle? Basketball players looking to maintain muscle?
That's my issue with the term "athlete" and most generic prescriptions - too generic.

Mike ODonnell
04-14-2008, 08:06 AM
I have a theory that the idea you need 1g/lb of BW is a sneaky marketing trick aimed at convincing bodybuilders they can't meet their protein requirements without the use of supplements because, as you say, it's a lot of real food.
If I remember right according to the book Clinical Sports Nutrition the protein requirement for athletes is 1.2 - 1.6g/kg of BW per day with any protein intake above this amount being oxidised for energy but most athletes can get along fine with 1g/kg of BW most of the time so anyone aiming for 1g/lb of BW per day is actually eating about 2.2 times more protein than they need.

I agree that 1gram/lb of bw is a lot of protein...and most don't need it. As for bodybuilders....well most of them are being told to take 1.5-2 g/lb of bodyweight...that is just over hype by the supplement industry. (but many are also on steroids which increases protein synthesis in the muscles...so they can utilize more protein than normal people). Most active people can do very well on 0.8g/LEAN lb bw if their fat intake is also higher. (aka like the athletes zone...which shows you can gain muscle and lose fat on a lower amount of protein and calories).

That's my issue with the term "athlete" and most generic prescriptions - too generic.
I think for all levels of general "athletes" (not bodybuilders) you still stay in the same range of protein (may go up, but not by much...0.8-1g/lb lean bw)...it's the other macronutrients of carbs and fat that you manipulate to maintain calories for activity needs and nitrogen retention...not excess protein.

Dave Van Skike
04-14-2008, 11:11 AM
John's point is well taken, for some athletes, the protein requiretments are actually pretty low, for strenght athletes, not so much. Every athlete I know has felt a positve bump from the 1g/LB ratio josh pointed out.

OTOH, I have family friend, currently a guest of the state who has been gaining gobs of lean muscle and strength on pretty much oatmeal and tater tos. his max protein per day is a cup of scrambled eggs.

Chris Bardwell
04-14-2008, 11:26 AM
OTOH, I have family friend, currently a guest of the state who has been gaining gobs of lean muscle and strength on pretty much oatmeal and tater tos. his max protein per day is a cup of scrambled eggs.

As Arthur Devany says "Get plenty of rest. Eat healthy (food can never put on muscle). "

OP: I have a friend who got huge literally eating nothing all day. He would have a gherkin for lunch and a sandwich for dinner got massive and ripped...So long as protein is at a decent level (100g or about) and of high quality you'll be fine.

Darryl Shaw
04-15-2008, 06:14 AM
Athletes - which kind need that? Runners? Cyclist? Marathoners? Gymnasts? Weightlifters looking to build muscle? Basketball players looking to maintain muscle?
That's my issue with the term "athlete" and most generic prescriptions - too generic.

The recomendations for protein intakes of 1.2 - 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day are based on training volume and intensity not whether the athlete is an endurance or a strength athlete and it may come as a surprise to you but elite endurance athletes actually have the highest protein requirement as they oxidise lean body mass during exercise. Strength athletes, and that includes bodybuilders, only really need higher intakes of protein (1.6g/kilogram of BW/day) for short periods at the start of new training programs after which homeostatic adaptations to training occur and protein requirements drop back to slightly above what's required by sedenetary individuals (1g/kg of BW/day).

I agree that 1gram/lb of bw is a lot of protein...and most don't need it. As for bodybuilders....well most of them are being told to take 1.5-2 g/lb of bodyweight...that is just over hype by the supplement industry. (but many are also on steroids which increases protein synthesis in the muscles...so they can utilize more protein than normal people). Most active people can do very well on 0.8g/LEAN lb bw if their fat intake is also higher. (aka like the athletes zone...which shows you can gain muscle and lose fat on a lower amount of protein and calories).

I think the the whole bodybuilding and supplement industry has a lot to answer for regarding the confusion about protein requirements. A quick look in almost any good book on sports nutrition will tell people that they need between 0.8 and 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day depending on activity level with the average 75 kilogram (165lb) athlete needing about 1g per kilogram per day most of the time which is 75g/day. Simple right?

The supplement industry has a problem though if their average 75kg customer realises that their protein requirement is only 75g/day because a normal mixed diet easily provides more than that so because they need to sell their products if they want to stay in business they muddy the waters a little and the recomendation that the average athlete needs around 1g per kilogram of BW per day becomes 1g per pound per day and suddenly that average 75kg athlete needing 75g of protein per day needs 165g of protein a day. Clearly that's a lot of steak and eggs to get through every day and food's expensive but what are you going to do if you need 165g of protein per day? Thankfully those nice supplement manufacturers come to your rescue with protein shakes in a dozen tasty flavours.....

It's a clever ploy really; create a problem by changing a single word, provide a convenient solution to that problem then just sit back and watch the money roll in.

Mike ODonnell
04-15-2008, 08:49 AM
Look at who is educating the general public and has the larger advertising budgets.....supplement companies.....like EAS and their Muscle Media magazines....where are people getting their information from?

John Alston
04-15-2008, 09:54 AM
John's point is well taken, for some athletes, the protein requiretments are actually pretty low, for strenght athletes, not so much. Every athlete I know has felt a positve bump from the 1g/LB ratio josh pointed out.

OTOH, I have family friend, currently a guest of the state who has been gaining gobs of lean muscle and strength on pretty much oatmeal and tater tos. his max protein per day is a cup of scrambled eggs.

Thus, the thread title remains relevant, "What works for you?"

Gant Grimes
04-22-2008, 12:25 PM
I've seen a lot of improvement the last couple months on a (mostly) Paleo/IF plan. I can't rightfully call it a Zone diet anymore. In an effort to simplify things, my diet looks like this:

PRO: "Greater than or equal to" 1 g/ LBM
CARB: ~ 3 bowl fulls of fruits/ice cream/veggies plus whatever veggies go on my salad
FAT: olive oil, about 2 seconds per pour, several times a day

In Zone terms, it's roughly 24/12/60, which approximates Robb Wolf's fat-for-carb swap plan.

John Alston
04-22-2008, 01:09 PM
Gant you just inspired me to take a swig straight from my olive oil bottle right now.