We all know that getting enough protein in every day is important for our recovery as well as body composition and satiety. However, with many different personal goals and many different suggestions online, it can be difficult to actually figure out how much protein you should be having each day. This is a summary of the most recent guidelines for protein intake in athletic populations based on your goal.
Maintenance & Performance
If your current goal does not require any changes to your body composition and you are looking to optimise your performance and recovery, then the current suggestion is to have 1.6g/kg of bodyweight in protein every day. This will ensure you are getting enough protein to adequately repair the muscle damage from each training session while leaving enough space to have enough carbohydrates and fat. It’s important to note that this is considerably higher than the recommendations for non-athletic populations as the higher protein intake is required for the increase in muscle damage and need for repair.
Reduction in body fat
When trying to reduce body fat, the amount of protein you have each day is crucial. One of the most common mistakes when trying to reduce body fat is not concentrating on protein intake. If you do not have enough protein each day, your body will respond by not only reducing the amount of body fat you have, but also the amount of muscle. This leads to no tangible changes to your body fat percentage, but rather will just lead to weight loss without body composition changes. If you are looking to maintain as much muscle mass as possible, the recommendation is 2g/kg of bodyweight in protein every day. This should ensure optimal muscle mass retention without being excessively high. For athletes such as bodybuilders who do not need high amounts of carbohydrates and want to retain even more muscle mass, the recommendation can be as high as 2.5g/kg of bodyweight in protein every day.
Increase in muscle mass
Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you are trying to increase your muscle mass, you do not actually need as much protein each day as you would if you were trying to lose body fat. This is because your body does not need to protect the muscle mass you already have. If you are trying to increase muscle mass, the recommendation is 1.6g/kg of bodyweight in protein every day.
If you are looking to optimise your protein intake, following these guidelines will ensure that you are getting the most out of your performance, or body composition goals.