Protein Police…

Sabrina over at asks:

I do some sort of physical activity about 5-6 days a week, usually for 30 to 45 minutes. 2 of those days are easy, 2 are hard/intense, and 2 are lifting + a little cardio.

When I lift I do circuits for 30-45 min that include a lot of plyometrics and muscle confusion so I am constantly moving and getting a great workout.

To give you an idea of my fitness level.. I can easily do 30 pushups, I can prob run a mile in 7:30 but I don’t think much faster (haven’t tried in years).

I am 5′ 6″ and weigh about 137 right now.

How much protein do i need in a day?

Well friends…I’m definitely a protein advocate.  If you are a regular casual exerciser, I suggest macronutrient ratios of 40/30/30.  40% being protein.  If you are an endurance athlete, you will want to take your carbs higher.  In Sabrina’s case though, she is not doing enough cardio to need to increase carbs drastically.

So if you were eating 2000 calories a day, you would want to consume about 200 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbohydrates, and 67 grams of fat.  Obviously you want to focus on whole, unprocessed foods.  This amount of protein tends to freak some of my clients out…so a more moderate example could be:

at 1600 calories, 214 g/carbs, 143 g/protein, 27 g/fat…ratios of 51/34/15, respectively.  This is more comfortable for some people to ease into because they like to see the lowfat number, and 143 is less scary than 200.

However, I absolutely believe that what you eat should make you feel great!  So if you experiment with different macronutrients (give new ratios a few days before you move on to other ratios), pay attention to how they affect your mood and energy levels, tweaking them from there.

Higher protein diets are great for a few reasons:

  • Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.  (
  • Protein Needs: Endurance vs. Strength Training
    Your fitness goals will affect your protein needs. Even when not dieting, people who exercise have higher protein needs. According to Dr. Peter Lemon, an internationally renowned protein researcher, individuals who engage in regular endurance exercise should eat about 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day (about .6 grams of protein/pound/day). Those who strength train need 1.7-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day (about .8 grams/pound/day). If you are dieting, your needs are probably higher.  (
  • Protein helps maintain muscle mass if you are restricting calories in an effort to lose weight (so you lose a greater ratio of fat, becoming leaner, as opposed to losing muscle AND fat, and becoming a smaller version of the same figure).
  • Protein takes the longest to digest of the three macronutrients…increased thermogenesis!

Have I confused you?   Does this help?

I ran 8.5 today and easy biking to loosen up ma’ sore legs.  2 tests.  1 study group.  Dad’s Bday.  Huge assignment.  Flying to LA in the morning for a 4 hour certification test.  BEST GET TO STUDYING!  Have a great weekend, I will check in sometime late tomorrow night or Saturday morning!


5 responses to “Protein Police…

  1. rhodeygirltests

    thank you very much for that. I get about 60 grams of protein right now, probably because in recent years I have felt that healthy fats make me feel better than protein. I will have to try out upping my protein and seeing what happens. thanks!

  2. Thanks for the info! Have fun studying and happy birthday Dad!

  3. You asked for my opinoin: You may enjoy protein, but there is no conclusive research that supports athletes needing more. Athletes need more calories and by keeping the same % protein they will eat more grams per day, but there is no evidence to suggest they need a higher percentage in the primary research 😀


  4. I think it was helpful. I learned that I think I need more protein. I think I have to try to keep track for a bit.

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