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Protein rule of thumb

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  • Protein rule of thumb

    Okay, so I haven't really focused on protein for the purpose of body composition since college and all I recall of the formula of grams of protein per day versus body size was that it required calculus, long division, and a fair to middlin understanding of particle physics.

    Meh. I definitely prefer a more intuitive approach - assuming such a beast exists.

    So the other day I came across a formula on somebody's primal-friendly blog (I want to say it was Eades' blog, but I'm everywhere these days and I really don't remember) and it actually did feel intuitive to me.

    The author suggested consuming a number of grams of protein equal to your goal weight (I assumed from the context that that could be applied to a weight loss goal weight as well as a bulking up goal weight).

    So yeah, intuitive, friendly, easy to remember and keep track of.

    None of which matters if it's not an accurate assessment of protein requirements. Which is why I brought it here.

    My goal is to lose weight (I have about 100 lbs to drop) and to gain strength without losing muscle or necessarily bulking up. I am at 300 lbs right now, so I'd be eating about 200g of protein per day with this formula (or the way I do things it might be more accurate to say I'd be eating anywhere between 180g and 220g a day trying to average out to about 1400g a week).

    Anybody have an opinion based in experience whether this would be a realistic (and helpful) approach considering my goals?

  • #2
    i remember the same advice of aiming for your goal weight in pounds for how many grams of protein to eat per day. i was lifting pretty heavy at the time, and i was eating as close to 200g as i could each day. i definitely got smaller while getting stronger. a lot stronger. i was doing SL 5x5 and lifting more than my body weight on all the big lifts except overhead press.

    that much protein wasn't coming all from food though. i had a couple scoops of whey in a PWO shake.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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    • #3
      Yeah, getting 200g of protein is no joke, honestly. I'm probably hovering around 100g/day the way I'm currently eating.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had understood it as being per pound of lean body mass (but I've also heard of .7 grams per pound, 1 gram per kilo...too many variations). I aim for the lean body mass number as a minimum target. I find it's hard enough to get that much in sometimes! I can't imagine trying to take in over 200g daily.
        “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

        Owly's Journal

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by brahnamin View Post
          Okay, so I haven't really focused on protein for the purpose of body composition since college and all I recall of the formula of grams of protein per day versus body size was that it required calculus, long division, and a fair to middlin understanding of particle physics.

          Meh. I definitely prefer a more intuitive approach - assuming such a beast exists.

          So the other day I came across a formula on somebody's primal-friendly blog (I want to say it was Eades' blog, but I'm everywhere these days and I really don't remember) and it actually did feel intuitive to me.

          The author suggested consuming a number of grams of protein equal to your goal weight (I assumed from the context that that could be applied to a weight loss goal weight as well as a bulking up goal weight).

          So yeah, intuitive, friendly, easy to remember and keep track of.

          None of which matters if it's not an accurate assessment of protein requirements. Which is why I brought it here.

          My goal is to lose weight (I have about 100 lbs to drop) and to gain strength without losing muscle or necessarily bulking up. I am at 300 lbs right now, so I'd be eating about 200g of protein per day with this formula (or the way I do things it might be more accurate to say I'd be eating anywhere between 180g and 220g a day trying to average out to about 1400g a week).

          Anybody have an opinion based in experience whether this would be a realistic (and helpful) approach considering my goals?
          Brahnamin...your number is more than adequate for your needs. As I gathered from your post...you would seem to be the type of person that would be against an exact, finite, quantity of protein being required to maximize your muscle building. You seem more like a range guy to me...you know....the amount of protein you need is between "x and y". And Im sure you would like it that your body probably works in a similar fashion. Just like you have a carb threshold where if you eat below that...you remain in ketosis (i.e. fat burning) and if you go above it you become gluconeogenic (i.e. running off of glucose for energy and fat storing), you more than likely have a protein threshold for muscle building as well. Go below it and your body cant build muscle. Go above it and you will build muscle but you also run the risk of adding bodyfat because extra protein in your system will get converted to glucose if insulin is turned "on". Its a fine "edge" that can be as sharp as a knife!

          Anyway, for building muscle, the number I hear a lot of people use is 1.5-2.0 grams of protein/lb of bodyweight. So, to be safe and to limit the gain of bodyfat...use your target weight for the calculations. If you want to be a 200lb muscle man then you need to eat anywhere from 300-400 grams of protein per day to ensure you are getting enough.

          One more thing...to make life easier for you...consider all meat (pork, beef, chicken,fish) to average exactly 7 grams of protein per ounce. This is a number that has been averaged from all available resources and I find it is extremely accurate.

          So, to convert your grams of protein per day into ounces of meat you need to eat just divide by 7 and round up to the next nearest gram: 300-400/7. So, you need to eat between 43 and 57 ounces of meat each day to obtain your desired amount of protein for muscle gain. This doesnt sound nearly as bad, to me, as having to eat between 300-400 grams everyday.

          Just think...three 14oz New York Strip steaks a day and you are literally where you want to be!!!!
          If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
          James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by nachobrawler View Post
            So, to convert your grams of protein per day into ounces of meat you need to eat just divide by 7 and round up to the next nearest gram: 300-400/7. So, you need to eat between 43 and 57 ounces of meat each day to obtain your desired amount of protein for muscle gain. This doesnt sound nearly as bad, to me, as having to eat between 300-400 grams everyday.

            Just think...three 14oz New York Strip steaks a day and you are literally where you want to be!!!!
            I sinceriously hope you're joking.

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            • #7
              I'm with Owly. I'd understood it to be aim for 1gm per pound of lean body mass.
              The following is a direct quote from the blog post on April 3:
              Mark tries to eat about 1 gram of protein per pound of body mass each day and suggests many others do the same to maintain lean body mass.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by brahnamin View Post
                I sinceriously hope you're joking.
                If you are a 250lbs muscle man with 10% BF on steroids then he would not be joking.
                Don't be a paleotard...

                http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

                http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

                http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

                http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

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                • #9
                  Okay - So how does one determine lean body mass in the absence of a reliable means of measuring body fat?

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                  • #10
                    No, Brahnamin, I wasnt joking. I have never done steroids or human growth hormone either in my life(chima-p).

                    The amount I quoted you is what people working to build muscle from scratch at the start of a mass building lifestyle consume. Are you ok with your current amount of muscle mass? If so, you can just target for maintenance of what you have and that number is more in line with what Mark quotes....(1g/lb of bodyweight).And this works well for maintenance (this is about what I am doing...more or less).

                    Its completely up to you as only you can decide what YOU want. 1.5-2.0g/lb of bodyweight works. I have seen plenty of people get enormous (without steroids or hgh) eating that much protein. Keep in mind also that the 43 oz of meat I quoted you is for the entire day and can come from many different protein sources (i.e. including shakes with whey protein). Its not as hard to get as you would imagine once you start doing it. Much harder is the heavy lifting involved in building the muscle!
                    If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
                    James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you don't have a way to measure more exactly, use a few of the measurement-based calculations to establish a general range (for me that's 125-140 grams per day) and use that as a basis, much like the carb intake ranges Mark uses in the carb curve.
                      “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

                      Owly's Journal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        @ nachobrawler
                        Hrm. Well, as stated in my original post, my main goal is weight loss with an eye towards maintaining the muscle mass I have and gaining strength (but not necessarily adding muscle mass). And considering that my daily eating window (this was not in my original post) is 6-8 hrs max (in which I usually have only two meals) 43oz of meat is still a scary lot of meat. And probably excessive given my fairly modest workout routines.

                        Even including shakes with whey protein in the meat family, I think that's probably more protein than I actually want to consume - even if it is the correct number.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brahnamin View Post
                          @ nachobrawler
                          Hrm. Well, as stated in my original post, my main goal is weight loss with an eye towards maintaining the muscle mass I have and gaining strength (but not necessarily adding muscle mass). And considering that my daily eating window (this was not in my original post) is 6-8 hrs max (in which I usually have only two meals) 43oz of meat is still a scary lot of meat. And probably excessive given my fairly modest workout routines.

                          Even including shakes with whey protein in the meat family, I think that's probably more protein than I actually want to consume - even if it is the correct number.

                          Im just passing the info on to you as I know it. Obviously, taking it all into account, several priorities in your life must be worked out. Is gaining mass the priority? No? Well, then what is? Is it losing bodyfat? Once determined that becomes the "focus" of your lifestyle. And then all of your effort, in exercising and dieting i.e. your lifestyle, goes towards ensuring that goal is met.

                          Losing bodyfat does not require as much protein overall (and total calories) as gaining muscle mass. In fact, it requires significantly less and THAT IS DESIRED. You are trying to "reverse build" if you will, your body into a smaller, more muscular, more healthy version. Thus, you want to consume less calories overall than what is required to maintain your weight currently AND you ideally want them to come in the form of nutrients that will most likely NOT increase your body fat percentage. Since excess protein is converted to bodyfat via gluconeogenesis....and excess of protein is not desirable.

                          The range that I have heard to target for losing bodyfat AND maintaining muscle mass is 0.7-1.0g/lb of body weight...ON AVERAGE. That means some days you may fall out of the average on the low side and some on the high side...as long as it averages out to this range...you should be ok. This range seems to work for most people. You will have to find where you fit in it exactly based on your personal genetics and experimentation.


                          One other thing...please understand...when I responded to your post initially I probably didnt read it through enough and clearly understand what you were asking. Because if I had done so....i wouldnt have given you the 1.5-2.0g for targeting mass building. That is a serious amount of protein to be eating everyday. But it works. And if your goal is to get big(ger) and have more muscles....it takes protein to build muscle. Nothing else will do it. And you need a surplus above and beyond what is your maintenance requirement for your body. And of course you need a stimulus (i.e. heavy, intense lifting).It sounds like you are more on the spectrum of working with what you have rather than building more...(and this is where I am at currently).Target the 0.7-1.0 per day on average and work out (i.e. FYI-heavy lifting stimulates more growth hormone secretion and HGH is anabolic. So, lifting heavy will help you maintain your muscles better than light, low intensity exercise) and lose body fat.

                          Good luck, man. Let me know how it goes. We are in the same boat.
                          If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
                          James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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                          • #14
                            @ nachobrawler
                            So @ 300 lbs I should be shooting for between 200-300g of protein (on the .7 to 1g scale).

                            That's probably doable. As a diabetic I try to be careful with my protein precisely because of the gluconeogenesis effect you mentioned. But I don't want to end up skinnyfat either.

                            In any case, thanks for taking the time to be so thorough in your explanations.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by brahnamin View Post
                              @ nachobrawler
                              So @ 300 lbs I should be shooting for between 200-300g of protein (on the .7 to 1g scale).

                              That's probably doable. As a diabetic I try to be careful with my protein precisely because of the gluconeogenesis effect you mentioned. But I don't want to end up skinnyfat either.

                              In any case, thanks for taking the time to be so thorough in your explanations.

                              Actually, the 210-300g amount would be ideal for maintaining your lean body mass if your lean body mass was 300lbs.That means you had 0% bodyfat @300lbs. I have yet to meet a person that enormous and muscular! There are a few out there, though, and they play in the NFL.


                              Anyway, what you need to be eating to maintain is the amount of protein required based off of your lean body mass. And that is the amount of muscle and bone you have without any of your body fat included. So, in answer to your previous question, yes, you do need to get a general idea of your overall bodyfat percentage. You can easily do this with a tape measure. There are thousands of body fat calculators online where you can plug in your various measurements and it will spit out a % body fat based off of your measurements. They are accurate enough for these purposes. All you need it for is a general idea of where you are at currently so you can calculate your lean body mass. Once you know that...then you can calculate your daily protein requirements for maintenance.

                              Lean body mass= current weight-lbs of body fat(converted from the percentage bodyfat in the calculator).

                              Lean body mass X 0.7-1.0 will give you your protein requirements for maintenance.

                              I hope this was all good info. Sorry for the mind dump...thinking about this stuff is a "break" for my mind from work. I enjoy it way more than the average grok.
                              If you can just get your....mind together....then come on across to me.....
                              James Marshall (Jimi)Hendrix

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