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.
As told to Critical Bench by Ben Tatar
Jeremy Hoornstra is one of the most dominant bench pressers of all time. One could say that Jeremy Hoornstra is to bench pressing as Usain Bolt is to sprinting.
Back in 1977 Mike MacDonald set a World Record in the bench press that nobody thought would be beaten, 522 @ 181, 562 @ 198, 582 @ 220, and 603.5 @ 242. Almost thirty years later Hoornstra came onto the scene and not only beat MacDonald’s record but crushed it.
Now Jeremy Hoornstra is breaking his own bench press World Records and has done so repeatedly! He just benched 661.4 at 242! I was fortunate enough to talk to Jeremy about what it’s like to be the great bench presser he is today.
CB: Jeremy tell us about breaking Mike MacDonald’s near 30 year bench press world record! Then tell us what it was like shattering your own world record by over 50lbs?
JH: Well, the 242 lb weight class was 603, held by Mike McDonald for 29 years. I broke that with 605 and then 615 in 2006. After that, I got injured, life got in the way it seemed but I got back on track. I started training with Josh Bryant and increased it to 617 in November. However, the last meet I did in April I benched 622, then 639, then ended with 661.4 (an even 300 kilos). I thought that was really cool because at one time that was the highest bench ever set by Bill Kazmaier, ten days before I was born.
*Editor’s note* Jeremy Hoornstra competes in the 242lbs weight class in the bench press and he not only increased his own bench press world record, but beat Bill Kazmaier’s World Record from the 275lbs weight class that lasted a total of 22 years! That just shows how crazy strong Jeremy’s bench press ability is. He not only dominates his own weight class, but he has beaten World Record Holders in heavier weight classes.
CB: Jeremy, what are your best lifts on the following exercises?
Dumbbell over head shoulder presses for reps – I’m not sure, but I know I can do the 150′s for around 50 reps for a few sets, but that’s cardio.
You make 150lbs over head shoulder presses cardio? (laughs) How many times can you rep 450lbs on the bench? – I haven’t gone for an all-out rep max, but somewhere in the vicinity of 18.
How much can you shrug? – My bar can fit eleven 45′s which is right at 1,035 and I’ve done sets of 8 with that but lately I’ve been hanging around the 800-850 range for 12-15 reps.
How much weight do you use when you do bent over rows? – I have done sets of 6 with 545, 585, etc. but have been doing strict, head supported or chest supported sets lately. Lats are huge in benching.
Your best incline bench press is – 635
Your best bench press in the gym is – 715
CB: Jeremy, on the bench press how many times can you rep 225, 315, and 405?
JH: I haven’t really repped a whole lot lately but I can say the most I remember repping out 225 was 71, 315 was 42, 405 was 24.
CB: What’s harder doing skull crushers with 315s for 10s or 100lbs dumbbell over head presses for 100 reps? I know you’ve done both.
JH: I’d say the 100 reps because that’s crazy endurance, I can muscle up the 315 for a few seconds of reps but 100 reps is insane.
CB: Jeremy, tell us about your diet and what supplements do you take? Do you eat clean or do you eat anything that doesn’t move?
JH: 99% of the time I eat clean. I eat chicken, potatoes, eggs, steaks, etc. I try to make sure I have no cheat meals the week before a show and that puts me right at my comp weight within a few days. I take MHP’s Up Your Mass, Tbombs, and Dark Rage also.
CB: Eating right is so important. Jeremy, What do you think are the 10 most important factors in increasing one’s bench press?
JH: Diet, sleep, listening to your body, staying balanced, going heavy, deloading when necessary, variety, secondary muscle work, technique, and setting a goal…then getting it.
CB: All of these things count folks! Jeremy, before you bench press a world record, what is going through your mind? Do you get deranged or have really intense thoughts or do you empty your mind? Do you like it when people hit you in the face or get in your face and scream?
JH: I try not to think a lot about anything, the less the better. I just focus on staying loose and ready to hit something big. I’m not the type that likes to scream, get slapped in the face, and then hit the weights. I just sit down, lay back and bench it, knowing that my training before the meet will ensure a good lift.
CB: Jeremy, noone thought Mike MacDonald’s records would be broken. They lasted for almost 30 years, until you came on the scene! Now you’re also out benching Bill Kazmaier, who weighed 320lbs, at 242lbs. That is amazing. How did you celebrate after setting the bench press world record once again?
JH: Honestly, we didn’t really do too much, I was already hitting that in the gym and knew that’s what I was going to be benching around. When I got home, my wife and the guys at the fire station cooked me a “congrats” dinner but other than that it was back to the normal routine. I’ll celebrate when I break Scott’s 715…that record was just a stepping stone.
CB: Well, good luck on your next big goal, very few people become the best bench presser in the world.
What is your advice for the following: the 225lbs bencher, 315lbs bencher, 405lbs bencher, and the 500+ bencher who wants to go extreme.. What really makes the difference between an average lifter and a top lifter?
JH: Well, for all of them, I’d say stick with it. As important as diet, training, the “next and newest exercise” can be, none of it factors in as much as consistency. Rome wasn’t built overnight. You have to stay with it when you feel great and strong and ready to tear it up but also when you just don’t feel like going in at all. That’s the difference between an average lifter and a top lifter.
CB: What are your future goals?
JH: Next goal I have set is I want 730 at 242.
CB: Jeremy, a lot of people criticize you for staying 242lbs and not gaining weight as they feel it might give you an edge. What are your thoughts?
JH: I get a lot of people saying “I wonder what he’d get if he gained a few lbs and went up a weight class or two”. In my opinion, all I’d get would be fat. I feel way better where I am and honestly feel that I will get 730. I’m getting close now.
CB: Do you do any type of periodization for your bench press routine? If you do, how does your training change from the start of a cycle to the finish? How long are they?
JH: Well, right now I’m done with my post show training which is a little more conditioning. I’m headed into pre-show training which is a lot more volume and weight, the reps start to diminish off. Josh Bryant writes my workouts out and have made huge gains in less than a year with him.
CB: Do you train hardcore every session? Give us more detail about how Josh is training you.
JH: Josh has me on a four day split, days off I do cardio usually while at work by pushing an ambulance across the parking lot. Three weeks are heavy, hardcore sessions, the fourth week is a deload.
CB: Sounds much like how Kennelly trained for a shirt record. Very interesting how two of the very best in different bench press venues have conjugate like periodization tactics. So far in your bench journey, what has been your favorite moment?
JH: My favorite moment was when I did the 661. I knew that I had hit just over 700 in the gym. Then injuries have always made it where I wasn’t really even close to that by the time the competitions came. However, this past show I was able to increase the record I set with 617 a few months prior to 622, then 639, and then ending at the 661. I felt pretty good about that…but I’m definitely not done with the 242 class yet.
CB: What motivates you to stick with it? Are you as motivated to stick with things other than bench pressing?
JH: Ben, I’ve always been very motivated to finish things I’ve started, almost to the point where it keeps me up at times during the night. For example, if I know I have to work on my house or truck, it will irritate me if I can’t do it and finish it right then. I’m not done with my record, I want it higher, I want the highest and will do what I need to, put in the time I need to, to finish that goal.
CB: Well, Jeremy what a bench press record breaking machine you have become! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next. In closing who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank a few, first my family for their support, my wife and son. They’re behind me the whole time, even when I have to leave them to go to the gym, etc. The rest of my family, my workout partners for not only giving me a good lift, but at times coming in when they’ve already lifted just to give me a lift, Josh Bryant for the training program that has me not only on track but aiming at the future, and my Sponsors MHP and Monsta Clothing.
Like many of you I played sports in high school. I walked on the football team in college and played four years of football. Keeping my body lean and strong during that period of my life wasn’t a problem. After all we had practice, mandatory weight lifting sessions, morning running and a very positive environment for keeping the body in an overall anabolic state.
As the post-college years kept passing by, I found myself being less and less active. Don’t get me wrong I found a new passion and started testing my merit in amateur powerlifting over the past few years and it has kept me really motivated and I do love the competition. But……something is missing. I’ve gotten a lot stronger but I also gained over 25 lbs! It’s kind of embarrassing actually. Here I am preaching on the Internet and trying to help others stay fit and I go right ahead and pack on some un-needed pounds.
What does all this have to do with the Warrior Physique Mike? I’m glad you asked, let me explain. I have lot of relatives that live in Sweden and I’ve always been interested in Viking History. As I was reading a book of mine called, “The Long Ships” I realized the Vikings didn’t have to workout in gyms, their lives and their battles were workouts enough. Fortunately I don’t have to engage in battle which is good considering I get winded from playing a pickup game of basketball! It was starting to get obvious that I’d probably make a lousy Viking and was nowhere close to the top shape I was in during college.
Several months ago I hooked up with my now good friend Elliottt Hulse who is the owner of a warehouse gym in my area called Strength Camp. Elliott is pro strongman and I started watching some of the workouts he was putting his clients through. This wasn’t like anything I had really seen before. They weren’t using your typical gym equipment. They were carrying odd objects, loading sandbags, dragging sleds and doing all kinds of exercises that looked like half resistance training and half cardio training.
I told Elliott I wanted to try some of the “Warrior Training” methods. He grinned and wanted to know what I meant by that and I told him, that the guys from his camp train like guys from my Viking book. It’s no surprise Elliott and I hit it off right away and started doing some workouts together.
We’d combine my strength building exercises with his max effort resistance cardio techniques to come up with some pretty sick training sessions. The fat has been melting off and I’m still getting stronger so I think it’s safe to say we’re on the brink of discovering something pretty special.
Check out my results so far in only the first 8-weeks!
Ya I know I look like an idiot in the pic to the left. They made me put that outfit on when I got my bodyfat tested in the Bod Pod. The results came in at a shocking 27%! Ouch. That pic coupled with that stat really put a fire under me to get crankin.
If you think this is as remotely cool as I do than go check out this free video series we put together called, “The Art Of Rapid Transformation“. We’ve already released video 1 and 2. Video 3 is coming out tomorrow. You can see them all together on the page. There are over 1000 comments. Mostly good, a few bad apples, so head over and join the battle!
You should check this out. I think you’ll really like it.
This podcast was with Mr. Jeff “The Muscle Nerd” Anderson who was kind of enough to spend some time with us to talk about his
new program called Project X Hardgainer.
In this podcast, Jeff and Al Mokbel of CriticalBench.com discussed a lot about why Ectomorphs have so much difficulty increase their lean muscle mass.
To quickly summarize the 30-minute interview, we discussed:
The common reason and mentality behind gaining muscle.
Why the old standard of “eat more and workout harder” doesn’t work.
What are the different body types and how much different they are from each other.
How Ecotmorphs have a genetic disadvantage in terms of gaining lean muscle.
The 7 different reasons why Ectomorphs can’t gain lean muscle.
How come Ectomorphs should eat more carbs in order to gain weight instead of a protein-based diet.
How and why isolation exercises will benefit Ecotmorphs in bulking up.
Why the current mainstream of compound muscle training is not ideal for Ectomorphs.
This interview is jam-packed with information and is bound to make you progress to new heights in your goal in gain lean muscle.
To learn more about Jeff’s Project X Hardgainer program, please visit: http://www.projectxhardgainer.com