Through the years the debate has been heated, ruthless, ever evolving and even rude at times! What debate do you ask? Well, of course I’m referring to how much protein one should eat or consume each day. There have been some that claim we don’t need to worry about “how much” protein we get as long as we get “some”. There have been groups of people who claim that you don’t need “whole” sources or “complete” sources of protein and can get all you need from plants and mixing incomplete sources of protein together to make what we need. And then of course there are groups of people who swear that you MUST eat whole meat sources of protein (complete sources) in order to build and maintain muscle.
The ironic thing about each perspective is that there are some lean and well muscled people representing each group. I’m not here today to express my personal opinion just some facts for you to consider.
When it comes to being healthy and eating for wellness we know that a balanced diet is best for long term compliance. But we are all very different when it comes to beliefs, opinions and simply lifestyle preferences. Can we agree on a few things? Yes. Protein is essential for life, and especially for building lean body mass. How much and from what? Well, we can almost agree to disagree on some of these points, simply knowing that we do NEED protein!
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass. It is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes. There are three macronutrients: protein, fats and carbohydrates. Macronutrients provide calories, or energy. When it comes to maintaining or gaining lean body mass it seems that evidence shows one should goal between .7-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass per day.
Whether your goals are to gain muscle mass or lose body fat we know that more protein benefits both! Higher protein diets help boost metabolism (as it takes energy to burn through protein, more than other macro’s). So what is your goal? Well eat as much real food as possible and supplement with 1-2 shakes a day to help you keep your protein intake high and at the levels that will help you achieve your goals. When training intensity and volume is high, higher protein will help you recover from day to day. Remember the big picture is to fuel our body for our training, which means even if you simply want to lean out and lose weight, if you can’t recover from session to session your intensity goes down. We want to rebuild muscle and recover from session to session so we can keep our intensity and output as high as possible. Over time, consuming a minimum of .7-1.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass will help you reach whatever goals you may have.