We all know we need protein, but how much do we really need?
For both men and women, the amount that you have each day depends on the amount of exercise you get, the intensity of your workouts and also what your training goals are. If you were to just follow the recommended daily amounts for protein consumption, in some instances, it may not be enough. You still need to take into account how long and also how hard you have trained for, as well as what you are training for in the first place.
The reason why it is so important to keep your protein levels in check is related to muscle break down and the building of muscle, during and after workouts. By having adequate, or even slightly higher amounts of protein in the diet means the body does not need to source its protein needs from already existing muscle. Every time you exercise you are telling your body you want it to adapt and change. To gain muscle definition, lose weight and get stronger from your workouts, supplying the body with plenty of good quality protein will make it happen faster!
The idea of consuming extra protein in relation to exercise is not new. However many people are unsure of when and how they should be consuming their protein. For example, many people think that they can consume a whole days worth of protein in just one or two meals (lunch and dinner), or maybe even as a few protein shakes? Unfortunately as convenient as this sounds, it just doesn’t work.
Why? It’s because our bodies can only utilize small amounts of protein for muscle protein synthesis to occur at one time. Any excess protein that is consumed is oxidized and is therefore wasted. So for optimal utilization, small protein meals or shakes should be consumed regularly throughout the day.
Getting enough protein in your diet each day can actually be a little trickier than you might think. If you look at the Australian and New Zealand recommended daily intake (RDI) or the USA’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein, they give some great base guidelines for the amounts needed each day.
However, it is interesting to note that the daily limitations of protein in RDI’s or RDA’s is based on people sourcing their daily protein intake from eating animal proteins. The typical western lifestyle (relatively inactive), coupled with eating animal based proteins (meat, fish, chicken etc) which are often fatty, means the daily consumption of animal based protein needs to be monitored. With this in mind, there has actually been no Upper Limitation (UL) given for eating protein in a purified form as yet (for example in the form of protein powder, most commonly derived from either Milk, Soy or Pea).
The best way to determine how much protein you actually need is to use a good sport based protein calculator. For example: http://www.proteinpowderforwomensite.com/Protein_Calculator.html