Getting enough protein in your diet is important for every athlete, whether you’re a competitor or a casual gym user, but how do you know how much protein you need?
Protein becomes especially important as we age since our bodies have a harder time maintaining muscle mass, which can lead to impaired mobility. For anyone who is physically active, the loss of muscle mass is decreased, but we need to consume enough protein to repair any muscle fibers that are damaged during exercise.
Protein is found in highest concentrations in animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy, but is also found in many plant products such as whole grain and vegetables.
So how do you know how much protein you need to consume daily?
One of the best ways to determine how much protein you personally needs is to have body composition testing done. Body composition testing can help in determining the amount of protein you need on a daily basis. Once you know your lean muscle mass, you can multiply your lean body mass by a multiplier to determine your desired amount of protein intake for each day for your goals.
At a minimum, you should be getting 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean muscle mass. This will help ensure you are not breaking down muscle as fuel and able to adequately repair muscle fibers as they deteriorate naturally. For example, if you have 100 kilograms of lean body mass, you need to be consume 80 grams of protein daily.
If you are active, you should aim to get 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of lean muscle mass. This will help aid in the natural breakdown and regeneration that happens to your muscles during physical activity. For example, if you have 100 kilograms of lean body mass, you need to consume 100 grams of protein daily.
If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, you should be getting 1.2 grams of kilogram for every pound of lean muscle mass. This will help ensure that you are able to repair any damaged muscle during exercise, but also have an abundance of amino acids to build new muscle fibers. For example, if you have 100 kilograms of lean body mass, you need to consume 120 grams of protein daily.