Happy Friday everyone! I’m off in the mountains this weekend trying my hand at snowboarding again. By that I mean falling down a mountain and then drinking wine in the hot tub. Solid plan, right?
Of course, it’s FYI Friday here on Pretty Little Grub. Make sure you link-up at the bottom of the post.
I got a lot of great feedback on part one of my Nutrient Requirements for Active People Series. If you didn’t check out part one on Iron, do it now. I can wait….
Done? Okay great then lets move onto Part Two: Protein.
As soon as someone begins working out the first thing they think to add to their diet is protein. You’ve all seen the people mixing up their protein shakes at the gym. You probably wonder, is that necessary? Should I be doing that? Lets get to the facts.
How much protein do you need?
The current recommendation for the average adult is 0.8g/kg/day. So a 140lb (63.5kg) person would need about 51g protein daily. However, there are many experts who argue this recommendation is too low and should be considered a minimum intake.
But what about active people? When you are active, you are using your muscles more which means you have higher protein needs for muscle repair & growth. The type of activity you do will determine the amount of protein you need.
There isn’t one standard of protein levels for active people but generally the recommendations are:
Endurance activity: 1.2-1.4g/kg/day
Resistance/strength training: 1.4-1.7g/kg/day
Some sources suggest up to 2g/kg
Note there are not different recommendations for protein for men or women. But since recommendations are based on body weight, generally men have a higher requirement than women.
Is more protein better?
NO! I think this is the biggest misconception about protein. If some is good, more is better. Taking in excess amounts of protein will not cause you to get bigger muscles. Proteins are the building blocks to muscle but only if you do the work too!
We do not have a storage form for protein in our body like we do for fat & carbohydrates. When we eat protein, our body uses up the protein it requires for muscle growth/repair and other cellular functions. Excess protein is either used up for energy or turned into fat.
There is no safe upper limit set for protein though its generally recommended you stick within 10-35% of your daily intake.
Do I need to use a protein supplement?
Generally, no. Most people can meet their protein requirements by diet alone.
This example shows how a 140lb person could meet a requirement of 1.7g/kg protein in a day:
|2 slices whole wheat toast||6g|
|2 Tbsp peanut butter||8g|
|Large romaine salad with ½ can tuna||21g|
|1 cup grapes||1g|
|1 cup milk||9g|
|2 Tbsp Hummus||4g|
|75g chicken breast||25g|
|½ sweet potato||1g|
|1 cup broccoli||2g|
|¼ cup almonds||8g|
However, protein powders are convenient and easy way to boost protein intake. If meeting your requirements by diet alone is challenging, protein powders can be a good option.
Does it matter when I eat protein?
There are multiple studies that show that our bodies can only use about 30g protein at a time for muscle building, therefore splitting your protein up throughout the day is more effective than taking large amounts at a time.
To gain the maximum muscle building & repair it is recommended you consume protein within 30-60 minutes post workout. So those guys at the gym with the protein shakes, there really is a reason for that. However, you can also wait to get home and eat a protein rich meal or snack.