How Much Protein is Really Needed?
by Sol Orwell of Examine.com
We have to take a step back and ask ourselves – what do we mean by need? Are we talking about the amount you need so you don’t die? Or are we talking about the optimal level for good health?
Firstly – the bare minimum. You need roughly 0.8g per kg of bodyweight to just live. So for a 150 lb person, that’s just 55g (just above 2 scoops of protein powder). For a 200lb person, that’s 72g (just a bit less than 3 scoops). You can outright ignore the RDA you find on labels – that’s based on a 165lb male or a 137lb woman.
Then again, that’s the bare minimum to survive. If you want to look rail-thin, that’s your minimum. But for people who are into athletics, scientific studies say more is better:
• The bare minimum you should consider is roughly 1g/kg of bodyweight. This is pretty much for everyone. Only exception is if have an actual disease and your doctor recommends something else.
• The range athletes who want to have muscle is roughly 1.2-1.5g/kg. So for a 150 lb person, that is roughly 100g/day. For a 200lber, that comes out to ~125g/day.
• Any more than that has not been studied. That doesn’t mean more protein is good or bad. It just means we don’t know.
Still, if you eat even more protein, there is no evidence that it will cause harm. So if you love your protein, take as much as you want.
When should I increase how much protein I take?
While the above is your base, when cutting, the rules change.
Protein has a very high TEF (thermic effect of food). That means how much energy your body has to burn to be able to use it. Carbs and fat have roughly 5% TEF. Protein is at 20% TEF. That means if you eat 1000 calories of protein, you instantly “lose” 200 calories (as your body needs to burn that much just to be able to use that protein). Furthermore, when you are cutting, your body has to get energy from somewhere. It will get this energy from your body in the forms of adipose (fat), glycogen (carbs), and skeletal muscle (protein).
So when cutting, protein becomes super important. It helps burn itself off, and when your body needs to extract energy, it helps minimize any loss from skeletal muscle (which you want to keep!)
So our 150 lb athlete should likely bump his protein intake to ~125 grams and our 200 lb athlete up to ~160 grams.
All of the scientific research presented in the Supplement-Goals Reference Guide (over 2000 references) is human studies. While they factor in animal studies and in vitro studies while building up their knowledge on topics, they do not include them in their conclusions.
Supplementation is interesting field. Some people rely too much on supplements while others totally dismiss them as useless. This non-biased guide will help you decide for yourself.
I bought a copy for everyone on my staff to reference.
Interview with Olympia Ultimate Athlete Superstar Michael Waters
Interview by CB Reporter Ben Tatar
1) CRITICAL BENCH: Michael, tell Critical Bench readers about yourself..
My story is pretty simple. I fell in love with football at an early age and played through college finishing at UNLV under Coach John Robinson. After college, I started working with athletes doing some training and recruiting helping them get scholarships. That started to take off and here we are 10 years later with a 10,000 sq ft. training center working with 100’s of athletes, fitness competitors, and the general population.
You can learn more about our facility and company by visiting www.phase1sports.com and connecting with us on Instagram and Facebook @imaphase1.
2) CRITICAL BENCH: Everyone, check out Michael’s gym! Michael, We’ll brag for you. You were a force in the Olympia’s Ultimate Athlete challenge as you were a top contender. How did you become such a great athlete? What sports did you play growing up?
Growing up I played a few different sports including football, baseball, and track & field. To be honest I feel my overall athletic development came from playing sports in my neighborhood. Anyone that grew up like me knows, there is no JV and Varsity in street ball. Either you are good enough to play with the big boys or you’re not. It was that simple so I just competed and tried to keep up from an early age. By the time I was high school it was clear that I was better than most of the kids my age .
3) CRITICAL BENCH: Michael, what makes the Ultimate Athlete Challenge “World’s Greatest Athlete,” at the Olympia such a unique event?
The fact that it is a part of Olympia Weekend says a lot. That alone makes it a very credible event.
Olympia as a whole focuses a lot on bodybuilding, power lifting, etc so the Ultimate Athlete Challenge is great for the more “athletic type” of competitors. By athletic type for lack of a better term, I mean people like myself that are more into SAQ-Speed Agility Quickness training, Plyometrics, Chain and Band resistance training vs traditional bodybuilding.
4) CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about some of the events that the athletes participate in. Do you have a favorite athletic event during the Ultimate Athlete Challenge?
There are a nice variety of events, so it takes a lot of skill to dominate in every category. For example (based on last years event): The challenge started with a 3 point contest very similar to the one you see for the NBA All Star event. Followed directly by a baseball pitch based on points for hitting the designated target and points based on the MPH. This was followed directly by the MMA obstacle course which started with a row machine for 100 meters, into box step ups with kettlebells, 12 foot A-Wall climb, 100 lbs. heavy bag slam, and farmers walk.
After completing the MMA obstacle you have 1 minute to recover and attack the Football Challenge. First a pro-agility run, followed by a heavy sled pull, and finally after completing all that and being “blurry and fatigued” you finish with the QB throw challenge. The QB throw consists of a short, medium, and long target with point for each ball made.
5) CRITICAL BENCH: How would you advise one to train for such an event?
Train like you are getting ready for a professional tryout for each sport!
6) CRITICAL BENCH: You’re ripped as well as athletic. Tell us about your training routine and diet!
The great thing about being a performance trainer, we didn’t have to change too much to prepare. My style of training includes lots of dynamic strength training, SAQ-Speed Agility Quickness, and Sports Specific Drills. As for diet, I keep it very simple maintaining a high protein, low carb nutrition plan. On training days I maximize carb intake after workout to promote recovery. On off days I keep them very low which helped me come into a competition lean and a few pounds lighter with more endurance.
7) CRITICAL BENCH: Give us 10 training tips so one can be a better athlete!
What is your advice for others who would like to compete in the ultimate athlete challenge?
10 is a lot, but lets do it!
1. Start with nutrition. Not diet, but healthy eating plan that you can maintain as a lifestyle. Definitely not a crash diet.
2. Think like an athlete, high intensity training sessions with a very high level of focus.
3. Create goals. Short term, and long term. WRITE them down and then put together a plan to accomplish them.
4. Don’t be afraid of change. If you are always in the weight room, hit the stadium stairs, hills, track, etc.
5. Study athletes. With today’s resources on the internet you can learn how all the best athletes train. Research and that will help you design your new program.
6. Track your progress. There is nothing like seeing physical evidence that you are getting better. There is no pain worse than thinking you are getting better and realizing months later you wasted your time!
7. Treat your body like a business! Athletes get paid based on how they perform. So that makes your body the tool, so take care of it.
8. Find someone to workout with that will push you to get better. Someone that is better than you or someone that want to be better than you. Both will keep you on your toes.
9. Be consistent. Consistency is King.
10. In the words of NIKE Just Do It!
My advice for anyone that wants to compete in the Ultimate Athlete Challenge is FOLLOW STEPS 1-10
9) CRITICAL BENCH: You are not only a great athlete, but you follow sports. Who would you say is the ultimate athlete or the best athlete of all time? Explain why.
Best athlete of all time would be very difficult to name, but I will say the best athlete of today is Adrian Peterson. He has consistently been one of the hardest working athletes in sports. He has the genetics that not many have and the work ethic to match those genetics. Not to mention what he did last season after ACL surgery, which few athletes ever make it back from.
10) CRITICAL BENCH: It has been great interviewing you today. Is there anything else that you would like to add or anyone who you would like to thank?
Thank you it has been great! Also want to thank my team @iamphase1