Protein is vital for health, wellness, physique, muscle gain, fat loss, weight loss and pretty much everything else you can think of!! So, what are you not doing? Protein plays a pivotal role in your daily life and is essential for virtually every physique, health, performance and fitness role.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there that it can start hurting your head!! If you research and read the studies you realize that most case studies are done with the solution in mind and not to find out the actual solutions. For example, two different studies showing two different things. One study researcher found that 40 grams create higher protein synthesis than 20 grams of protein (1) whereas another study found that 70g of beef was greater than 35g of protein for protein synthesis. (2)
There are a few common trends that you MUST know on how to handle protein in your diet.
1. DO NOT FOLLOW THE RDA or ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL. Particularly when it comes to health and money (we aren’t talking about money in this blog). The WHO, for example, recommends that for general Health you should be eating .8g per kilogram of bodyweight. If you take a 200lb man, for example, and have him follow this protein directive he would be eating about 75 grams of protein per day… this is absurd! Particularly when it comes to an active individual who works out and participates in fitness like activities.
2. GO WITH a 1 to 1 PROTEIN RATIO
You could be trying to lose weight; gain weight; build muscle; burn fat; or just be healthy… regardless of your desired goal, you need an adequate amount of protein.
The starting point to adequate amount of protein is 1 gram per 1 pound of bodyweight. If you are 200lbs you should eat 200lbs of protein per day. From there, you can determine what to do next with your other macro’s (carbs and fats). Calories wise 200lbs of protein, for example, will get you to 800 calories. However, you will be getting other calories from the source because it is hard to find pure protein sources without other macros.
Here is a general guide (it will vary slightly based on individual):
General Health… 1 to 1 ratio
Cutting Weight… 1.2g per 1lb of bodyweight
Cutting Fat & Building Muscle… 1.4g per 1lb of bodyweight
Building Muscle & Gaining Weight… 1-1.2g per 1lb of bodyweight
Obese… .8-1.2g per 1lb of bodyweight… this will have variability depending on your weight and height.
3. PROTEIN QUALITY MATTERS!!
Protein quality is important AND I base if off two things…
Amount of Leucine
Source, well that is simple, choose animal based that is grass fed, pasture raised and organic. Those are my go to requirements for source.
Leucine, is an Essential Amino Acids (EAA’s) that triggers MTOR, which stimulates more muscle growth. 3 grams of leucine is a good marker to determine the anabolic response to protein. Animal-based protein typically has higher amounts of leucine per calorie when compared to plant based. Additionally, EAA’s play a major role in the quality of protein:
For most people you will reach an adequate amount of EAA’s in your daily diet by simply focusing on the overall amount of protein of the day (i.e. your total). Vegan lifters might want to focus on consuming EAA supplementation but most animal-based eaters will not need supplementation.
4. PROTEIN AMOUNT TOTAL AND PER MEAL!!
It is a good idea to consume at least 35g of protein per meal, sometimes even higher, depending on the individual. Again, commenting on the studies previously mentioned, one study found that 70g of beef was greater than 35g of protein for protein synthesis. (2) YES BEEF, red meat is good and no cholesterol is not bad, but we will not get in to that topic for this blog.
A misconception is high protein is REALLY bad for you… however, there is no real evidence to show harm from a high protein diet. (3)
5. PROTEIN & WORKOUTS…
The most important emphasis is to eat a meal with a good amount of protein (>30g) within a couple hours of the workout. However, I like to recommend the following as I have seen the most results, personally, and to all the clients I have prescribed this to:
Ingest Grass Fed Whey Protein immediately following a workout
Eat a balanced meal 60 minutes following the workout with at least 35g of protein
I do have to note that there is mixed studies on this topic as the number one emphasis is on daily total protein consumption!
Lastly, it is worth mentioning, that some studies have shown ingesting protein prior to bed, of about 40 grams, has shown favorable response in improving skeletal muscle adaptions to exercise.
Eat at least a 1g of protein to 1lb of bodyweight, total, daily!
DO NOT follow the RDA
Focus on Quality protein, animal based preferred… if you are vegan supplement with EAA’s to boost your leucine and overall EAA count
Eat 35g or higher of protein each meal!
If your goal is to build muscle, it might be helpful to ingest about 35 grams or slightly higher prior to bed!
I hope this clears things up a bit and makes things easier to follow. If you have any questions comment or email me at FMFMark@gmail.com and I will help guide you in the right direction!!!
1. Physiological Reports ISSN 2051-817X. The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole-body resistance exercise is greater following 40g than 20g of ingested whey protein. Lindsay S. Macnaughton, Sophie L. Wardle, Oliver C Witard, Chris McGlory, D Lee Hamilton, Stewart Jeromson, Clare E. Lawerence, Gareth A. Wallis, & Kevin D. Tripton
3. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise
mTOR… The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has emerged as a critical effector in cell-signaling pathways commonly deregulated in human cancers. This has led to the prediction that mTOR inhibitors may be useful in oncology, and derivatives of one such molecule, rapamycin (from which mTOR derives its name), are currently in clinical development.