I can’t say this any better than Mauro G. Di Pasquale, who is becoming a hero of mine.
However, for those athletes involved in strength events such as the Olympic field and sprint events, those in football or hockey, or weightlifters, powerlifters, and bodybuilders, I recommend between 1.2 and 1.6 g of high-quality protein per pound of total body weight. That means that if you weigh 200 lb and want to put on a maximum amount of muscle mass, then you will have to take in as much as 320g of protein daily. There are several competitive weightlifters, powerlifters, and bodybuilders that I know who take in 2-3 g of high-quality protein per pound of body weight.
If you are trying to lose weight or body fat it is important to keep your dietary protein levels high. That is because the body oxidizes more protein on a calorie-deficient diet than it would in a diet that has adequate calories. The larger the body muscle mass, the more transamination of amino acids occurs to fulfill energy needs. Thus for those wishing to lose weight but maintain or even increase lean body mass in specific skeletal muscles, I recommend at least 1.5g of high-quality protein per pound of body weight. The reduction in claories needed to lose weight should be at the expense of the fats and carbohydrates, not protein (345).
Protein for Strength Training
This is very telling. Let’s look at each paragraph. The first paragraph discusses necessary protein intake based on body weight. This quote doesn’t just come from a diet or training book, it’s a no-shit textbook with literature reviews on everything related to amindo acids and proteins and applying it to athletics.
Earlier in the book there was a review of the literature concerning how the Recommended Daily Allowances were developed which resulted in the 1989 protein intake of .8g/kg in body weight. This is equivalent to .36g/lb — a horribly low number (a 200 lb male would be prescribed 72g of protein!). Peter Lemon (of Kent State) observed that these recommendations were for sedentary individuals and came up with the following recommendations in 1995: 1.4-1.8g/kg for strength athletes and 1.2-1.4g/kg for endurance athletes. This would be .63-.81g/lb for strength athletes and .54-.63g/lb for endurance athletes. A 200 lb strength athlete’s recommendations would be 126-162g of protein. This is better than the RDA, but still childishly low.
Dr. Di Pasquale’s recommendations of 1.2-1.6g/lb of body weight would have a 200 lb strength athlete between 240-320g per day. This is what we find as practitioners in training and coaching; having more grams of protein per pound of body weight is the first dietary error to address when recovery is an issue. Especially when training for three or more days per week.
Now let’s make this applicable. Have you stalled in your program? Are you unable to train efficiently because of lingering soreness in your back, hamstrings, or shoulders? Has your progress slowed? The first thing to look at is your daily protein intake. What is it? Oh, you don’t even know? Well have fun shoveling shit in the regular infantry, because Special Forces are not in your future.
Estimate your daily protein intake and compare it to Dr. Di Pasquale’s recommendations (which mimic the recommendations on this site of adding 50g of protein to your body weight in pounds). It’s probably low, so figure out a way to increase it. Now. Your training will improve.
Protein for Fat Loss
The textbook thoroughly (very thoroughly) details how protein is digested, metabolized, utilized, skibbytitized, and blabbitized. It covers everything. So when Dr. Di Pasquale — who has a Bachelor’s in biological science, a Master’s in molecular biochemistry, and a medical degree — says in the second paragraph that you need more protein when losing fat than you would otherwise, we should listen. His recommendation of 1.5g/lb would have a 200 lb guy taking in 300g of protein when trying to lose fat. Don’t skimp on protein when reducing or changing calories.
This textbook is full of very good info, and the more that I read it on the toilet, the more that I will share the gems with you.
Di Pasquale, Mauro. Amindo Acids and Proteins for the Athlete, 2nd Ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2008. Print.