This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.

Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 295 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.

Working out and protein… they go together like peanut butter, and, uh… well not jelly… something more nutritious… they go together like peanut butter and banana.

How much protein do you need to eat now that you’re working out regularly?

First, I will use my psychic abilities and go out on a limb by saying chances are, you’re probably already consuming enough protein. How could I possibly know this? This is because there have been a lot of data collected on how much and what types of food populations around the world consume regularly. What we’ve learned is that most consume plenty of protein each day. Is that enough protein to support muscle growth and help build strength? That’s the answer everyone wants to know, right?

The American College of Sports Medicine says that if your goal is to build strength and muscle, you need to consume 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Frustrating that their recommendations don’t use ounces of protein and pounds of body weight, I know. But luckily the math isn’t too hard. We’ll figure this out together… stay with me here.

Let’s say Robbie weighs 125 lbs. To use the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations, we need to convert Robbie’s weight into kg. Luckily, the math is simple: take 125 lbs. and divide that by 2.2. You would do the same thing for your body weight. So if you weigh 150 lbs., divide 150 by 2.2. If you weigh, 110 lbs., divide 110 by 2.2. That gives you your weight in kg. Robbie’s weight in kg is 125 divided by 2.2 which is 56.82 kg.

Now, what? Now that we know Robbie’s body weight in kg, we can figure out how much protein she needs to consume each day. Like I mentioned before, the American College of Sports Medicine says if you want to build strength and muscle, you need somewhere between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight. We know Robbie’s hypothetical body weight in kg–we just figured that out to be 56.82. We take 56.82 and multiply it by the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations.

We’ll start by multiplying 56.82 (remember, that’s her body weight in kg) by 1.2 grams protein. Plug that into your calculator and you’d get about 68 grams of protein. That means, at a minimum, Robbie needs to consume about 68 grams of protein each day to build strength and muscle.

Let’s find out how much she should consume at a maximum, according to these recommendations. We’ll take her body weight in kg again, 56.82 and multiply that by the 1.7 (remember, the recommendations said 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein should be consumed each day, so we’re using the higher number here). 56.82 times 1.7 is 97 grams of protein. If Robbie (or, really, anyone else that weights 125 lbs.) wants to be sure they're getting enough protein to support muscle growth, they need to consume anywhere between 68 and 97 grams of protein per day. For those of us in the states, we still don’t quite know how to make sense of grams, so bear with us. 68 and 97 grams of protein is about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cooked chicken for example. For someone that weighs 125 lbs., they need to eat about 1/2 cup of cooked chicken each day to ensure they’re getting enough protein to build strength and muscle. Not much, I know! Plus this doesn’t include any protein they’re getting from other sources: eggs, meat, dairy, beans, soy, breads, etc.

Sadly, I’m not really psychic. I just know that most people get way more protein than that each day.

Aren’t some forms of protein better for muscle growth? Yes, this is true.

What about whey protein?

You hear about people using whey protein supplements a lot because it’s an easily absorbed form of protein. Unfortunately, “easily absorbed” sometimes translates to “better for you” in many people’s minds. But this isn’t always true. Alcohol for example, is easily absorbed by the body, but that’s not always a good thing.

The studies on whey protein have found that, for most people, it is safe to use. It is, of course, important that you select a supplement relatively free of impurities and follow the right dosing pattern.

It’s safe, but is it helpful? What we’re learning is that consuming whey protein as a supplement is really only helpful for certain groups of people. For example, those that follow a vegan lifestyle may consider taking a whey protein supplement (yes, there are vegan whey protein supplements). By avoiding all animal products, they may not consume enough protein each day.

Those that are 55 years of age and older may also benefit from taking whey protein supplements. This is because, as we age, we’re not so good at maintaining and growing muscle anymore. Researchers are finding whey protein can help with that.

I’m going to share with you an even better trick: rather than supplementing with whey protein, try and eat some leucine-rich sources of protein within 30 minutes after your workout. We’re learning that leucine really helps to support muscle growth, especially when it’s consumed soon after a workout. Many common foods, like yogurt, whole eggs and egg whites, chicken, and even nuts and seeds are good sources of leucine.

The Bottom Line

First, you likely don’t need a protein supplement like whey protein unless you follow a vegan meal pattern or are 55 years of age and older and work out consistently. This is because you’re probably consuming enough protein each day as it is. If you want to help your body build strength and muscle as efficiently as possible, consider focusing instead on consuming some leucine-rich foods within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Then do your best to stay consistent and follow a meal plan full of balance and variety, and you’ll build that strength and see those muscles popping in due time.

Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 295 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.

mm

Neal Malik

Dr. Neal Malik ("Dr. Neal") is currently a professor at California State University, San Bernardino. Before this, he served as Department Chair at Bastyr University California. Dr. Neal has also published peer-reviewed scientific research and presented at national conferences.Send in your health related question and Dr. Neal will answer it on the Optimal Health Daily show!
Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on minimalism tips for family members. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join my weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and free tools to optimize your life (and make my day)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Enter your email to get our free Inspiration File on minimizing your wardrobe. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on decluttering sentimental items. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on getting started with minimalism. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter paper. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter books. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to help kids learn to declutter their toys. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on the bare minimum of items you need when moving. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on why financial literacy is important. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on overcoming money fears. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Enter your email to get our free PDF debt payoff tracker. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on maintaining your level of motivation. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on what to do after a deep tissue massage. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to counter sitting at a computer all day. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to stick to your budget. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on getting over a breakup. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Enter your email to get our free PDF with health and fitness quotes from Optimal Health Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Enter your email to get our free PDF with tips on how to spot -- and get out of -- a toxic relationship. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration, quotes, life tips, and more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

newsletter_shout3

A Better You

Sign up for quick and easy weekly tips on productivity, happiness, and how to optimize your life.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

OLD Podcast: Library

OLD Podcast: Library

Enter your email to get your password to access our handy library. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on improving your personal finances. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Enter your email to get a sample of our journaling worksheet PDF with quotes and templates based on Optimal Living Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!