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The struggle: how much protein does one really need?

The Spider

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So to make a tl;dr before writing the "tl" part... if a human can only process 20-30g of protein before turning the rest into fat, why are there shakes that have as much as 50g of protein in a serving available?


How much protein would a guy who is trying to gain muscle and lose fat by running and power lifting at the gym 3-4 times a week, and doing a weekly body weight routine at home going to need?  Some of my found sources say only 20g, some say "just what you get in your meals," and others say as much as 90% of your body weight in lbs, converted to grams (which would make roughly 150g of protein per day for me).  I guess my biggest worry is that if I'm going to pump myself with protein day in and day out, I want to do as much real food protein as I can, but I'm fairly certain I won't be able to do that without eating a whole chicken every day, so i figured a simple protein shake won't be a bad idea.  However, there comes the fear that I'm not getting enough to actually repair my muscles, making me spin my wheels and potentially injure myself.  I met with a fitness coach at my gym and they told me that i needed roughly 3250 calories a day to increase my weight, but he didn't say how to divide that up.  So, uh, help, and thanks!(?)

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Easy ballpark figure is 1g of protein for every lb of bodyweight, if your goals are to build muscle and/or lose fat. RE: The conversation of 'can protein turn into fat', here's an interesting article: http://www.simplyshredded.com/does-excess-protein-get-stored-as-fat.html


The myth that you can only absorb 20-30g of protein at a time can actually be linked to the higher limits of muscle synthesis - rather, that after a certain level of intake, consuming protein does not result in higher protein synthesis in the body. Which is not to say that you should never eat more than 20-30g, just that it's the smallest serving at a meal which will still result in maximum muscle building/repair. A nifty discussion on it: https://www.t-nation.com/diet-fat-loss/six-things-you-need-to-know-about-protein


As for HOW MUCH you need - well that's a different kettle of fish. I'd recommend grabbing a TDEE calculator off the internet, and see how much you ACTUALLY need. Then, add an extra 5-10% to your maintenance calories for muscle building (yes, really, that's all the extra you need). The split will be totally up to you - you already know your minimum intake for protein. The carb/fat split may depend on if it's a workout or recovery day, and through your own experimentaion to see which you do better with - high fat, or high carb. 


But I'm not an expert, I just read too much. So, do some research, figure out what works/makes sense to you, be safe, and have fun! :)


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On 2017-02-17 at 11:29 PM, Defining said:

Easy ballpark figure is 1g of protein for every lb of bodyweight, if your goals are to build muscle and/or lose fat.


You don't even need quite that much for the full benefits, but also isn't harmful: https://www.outsideonline.com/2065466/how-much-protein-do-you-really-need#article-2065466


5k - 21:29

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I agree 1 gram per pound of body-weight is a good place to start.


With that said, it is just a start--you may need more, you may need less.


One thing I would do, is to take in some protein post-workout--it does not have to be a protein shake--but, make sure you get some protein in.


If you decide to try the 1 gram per pound of body-weight--keep it there for a couple of weeks, so you can gauge your progress.


Meaning are you looking harder in the mirror--do you feel you are recovering better, etc.


Hope this Helps.

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