Have you ever wondered how important it is to reach your daily protein consumption?
Do you even know how much protein you should consume?
How do you portion protein among your meals, and how often should you eat protein?
If you want to find the answers to these questions and more, continue reading.
What Is The Optimal Daily Protein Intake
Fact is, most people probably don’t meet their protein needs for the day.
But how much do you really need anyway?
If you are an active gym goer, which we assume you are if you’re reading this blog, you should strive for 1g of protein per pound of body weight to achieve maximum results. So for a hard training 200lb male, you should aim to eat 200g of protein per day.
If you’re not that active, your body doesn’t require that much protein, so keeping track of it might be unnecessary.
However, make sure to consume around .5g per pound of body weight for maintaining proper health.
If you don’t like tracking your nutrition and calories, just aim for 2-3 high-protein meals every day, that have high-quality protein products, such as lean meats, eggs, fish, etc.
But how much protein should you consume with every meal?
Protein Timing and Distribution
Multiple studies on the subject have been conducted over the years.
Researchers tried to find what is the optimal protein distribution among hard training athletes.
One study from 2013 where three different groups took place sheds some light on the subject.
The researchers wanted to test the optimal distribution of protein intake 12 hours after resistance training.
Every group consisted of 8 males.
The first one consumed 8x10g of whey protein every 1.5 hours.
The second group consumed 4x20g of whey protein every 3 hours.
The last sample took 2x40g every 6 hours.
The result was that the second group, which distributed the protein intake in 3hr increments produced maximum anabolic stimulus compared to the other two groups.
But now you are probably asking yourself, “According to the recommendations above, I should consume around 200g of protein for optimal results. But, does that mean I have to eat ten times a day and distribute the protein equally?”
We know that most of you are busy individuals and working out only takes up approximately 1-2 hrs of your day max.
If we take the 200lb male above as an example, eating 150g of protein in 4 meals plus a couple whey protein shakes thrown in the middle would do the trick.
By eating every 3 - 3,5 hours, you will feel satiated throughout the day, and you’ll have plenty of time to perform focused, deep work.
You’ll also have time between meals to perform your workout.
Pro Tip: Wait 1 – 1.5 hours after your meal before hitting the gym. You don’t want too full of a stomach during training.
Now, let’s shed some light on protein shakes.
Post Workout Protein Shake - Myth or a Must?
Since the dawn of the fitness industry, the protein shake has become a must for many athletes.
However, what’s the purpose behind it?
During a heavy workout, our body’s muscle fibers get micro-tears (a.k.a microdamage).
To rebuild those fibers, muscle protein synthesis must take place.
The fastest and most convenient way to get some protein into your digestive system and trigger muscle protein synthesis, is a protein shake!
In fact, whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein source (meaning your body uses it quickly, easily, and efficiently).
However, there is some delusion among some people that if they don’t take their post-workout shake in time, they might lose muscle, which can’t be further from the truth.
The anabolic window is for real, so make sure to get a balanced meal or shake in you within an hour post-workout.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and the one responsible for muscle growth.
An optimal amount for active hard-training athletes is approximately 1g per pound of body weight.
Distributing your daily protein intake equally every 3 hours or so should work best for most people.
If you want to learn more about the different protein sources, jump right into part 2 of this article series here.
By Lewis Ashby C.S.C.S.