Depending on you and your goals, you might be surprised.
If you’re not highly active, not looking to build muscle, and just curious how much protein you need to eat to stay in balance, my opinion is about .5 grams per pound per day.
(That number is slightly higher than the ‘official’ RDA of .36 g/lb/day. My opinion is based on what I study, from sources I trust, and/or have tried personally. I am not a doctor, and this does not constitute medical advice.)
What if you’re highly active? Not so active, but want to lose weight? Highly active & attempting to lose weight? Highly active and attempting to gain weight (in the form of muscle)?
In each of those cases, ranges vary, from as little at .45 g/lb/day, to as high as 1 g/lb/day.
So, what’s this ‘grams per pound per day’? What does it mean? How many actual burgers or scoops of pea protein powder do you need?
(Next week, I’ll talk about types & sources of protein.)
Example: I weigh about 175 LBS, I’m highly active, and I am looking to gain muscle. I do heavy strength training 3X per week. I am at the top of all ranges: 1 g/lb/day, or, 175 grams of protein per day.
There are 6 grams of protein in one egg. That’s why I eat 4 eggs every morning, just to start, on non-workout days.
On workout days, I’ve have a ridiculously large smoothie, with 1-2 scoops of protein powder added in. I’ll come back to the powder in a moment.
If you’re concerned whether or not there is enough protein in your diet, you’ll have to do a little math. Simply jot down what you eat on an average day, look up the nutritional facts, and see where you fall out.
Don’t panic. Chances are, if you eat what’s typically served on American plates, where protein is the centerpiece, that you’re getting enough. If you’re Vegan, as you already know, make sure.
Back to supplementation & protein powders: if you’re exercising, timing is important. You want to have 20-40 grams of protein within this range of your training: between 2 hours before and up to 30 minutes after.
That’s where the ‘pre’ & ‘post’ workout smoothies come from. I do both with the same drink. I prepare it in advance, and drink the whole thing before, during, & after.
If you’re just going to do the ‘post’, that’s fine, but make sure it is a powder, not a burger. You won’t absorb the burger in 30 minutes.
This post is NOT intended to have you focused on eating protein all day. You still need to eat your vegetables – lots of them – especially if you’re highly active.
If you have specific questions about protein intake, just ask, privately if you prefer.