How Much Protein Should An Athlete Consume Per Day – Athletes who go through the Rapid Performance Nutrition (APN) training system, as well as our 4-day Strength and Mass protocol, can gain 1 pound of lean body mass per week.
Below are some examples of customer data. The first client trains 4 days per week and does a “fast diet” for 15 weeks. He lost 15.4 pounds and weighed 16.75 pounds. The next client lost 10.3 pounds and 9.75 pounds in 9 weeks. This third example is an athlete actually on a cutting cycle, so we cut 19 pounds in 8 weeks, changed 60% body fat, and achieved a net loss of 7.88%. A high protein intake is essential to prevent weight gain.
How Much Protein Should An Athlete Consume Per Day
Not all athletes have the resources to go through our APN program, resulting in many questions about diet and exercise. Two warranted questions: How much protein should I eat and how do I get my bench press? Interestingly, these questions are interrelated. If your protein intake is adequate, your stool will bulk up. If your protein intake is short, your bowel movements will stop or go backwards. Recognizing this, the bench press is our light test of protein intake. If an athlete is benching twice a week, and not seeing an increase in benching, we know it’s time to evaluate protein intake.
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Below is a 5-step approach to assessing protein needs, determining current intake, and helping clients meet their protein needs. Remember, this 5-step method is perfect for athletes who train hard at least 3 days a week and want results!
When evaluating clients you want to make sure they meet at least the minimum requirements. Once we know they meet the minimum requirements, we can adjust upwards based on performance. Minimum Requirement is the minimum amount of protein an athlete needs to maintain “nitrogen balance” or “active nitrogen balance”. Protein is about 16% nitrogen. Nitrogen balance studies measure how much nitrogen is digested and then how much protein is excreted. When nitrogen excretion is equal, the athlete is said to be in balance. When balanced, muscle mass is maintained. This is especially important when losing weight, as many weight loss programs lead to muscle loss. “Positive nitrogen balance” means that nitrogen intake is greater than excretion, leaving you in an anaerobic state, which requires strength and muscle adaptation.
As clients go through the Rapid Nutrition System, we can more accurately calculate their optimal needs based on their lean body mass (because we don’t need protein to maintain fat mass), and monitor them by measuring each body composition. 3 to 7 days.
Below is a 5-step approach recommended for athletes based on body weight. Remember that this is the minimum protein requirement. Fall short of this number and the athlete will lose lean muscle mass.
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Instead of counting grams of protein, we teach you to count protein centers. A protein replacement equals seven grams of protein. Some people find it difficult to understand the exchange of words. Substituting the word “unit” for “replacement” will help them understand the concept. Substitution means you can switch this protein source for that source and still consume the same grams.
Divide the grams of protein by 7 to determine how many servings you need. See below for our 200-pound athlete reference. Always round to an integer. Our 200-pound athlete below needs 21 types of protein. Also, unless the athlete is a vegetarian, we expect all of these replacements to come from animal sources.
Now that you know your athlete’s minimum needs, let’s see how close they are to the minimum. We always recommend assessing protein when stools are not passed. Since it’s really hard to remember what you ate for 24 hours, we have a solution. We recommend working backwards from the current timeline, as this will trigger recall.
For example, if it’s an afternoon, ask the athlete what protein sources they have:
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Once you know the amount for each meal, check if your consumption is on target. Is total protein intake (in grams or servings) on target? If not, they need help. Continue with step 4.
4. Determine how many protein-rich foods you eat per day (minimum of 4 for getting in shape or maintaining weight).
Meal frequency is a hot topic, and there is no consensus on what size fits. Eat more food to lose weight Eat more food to lose weight With our HPT Nutrition Coaching System, we completely cycle meal frequency to achieve weight loss and weight loss protocols. We find that most athletes need at least 5 meals, but the minimum we give athletes is 4. Most of our athletes who gain 16 pounds in 16 weeks eat 7 meals a day.
5. Use the chart below to plan how much protein you need per meal. There are many options. Generally, snacks are 1/4 to 1/3 smaller than the main meal.
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The next step in helping athletes meet their protein needs is to determine how much protein should be in their meals. Remember that snacks are 1/4 to 1/3 smaller. Make sure the food you put in matches the athlete’s daily intake calculated in step 2.
Another thing we’ve included in the Protein Evaluation and Tracking Chart is how to convert labels to protein replacements. Divide the protein in the label by 7 to determine the number in the center. In the example below, there are 14 grams = 2 types of protein. See below.
No one wants to work hard in the gym and then end up losing muscle due to low protein or calorie intake. Remember that stool is a test of protein intake, but really you should always evaluate. It only takes 2 minutes to calculate. Finally you can do the math in your head. Attached is our Protein Evaluation Chart so you can start tracking your athletes.
Jason Ivesdale is the founder and CEO of High Strength Training. He started high intensity training in 2004 and opened the current facility in 2008. Prior to founding HPT, Jason Ivesdale was the Director of Training at Flagship Athletics Club, where he oversaw 20 coaches.
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High Strength Training is a 15,000 square foot facility in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. HPT offers sports performance training, personal training, nutrition coaching, group exercise classes and relaxation services.
Jason currently coaches clients and athletes, is a nutrition and detox coach, and leads HPT’s personal training staff in day-to-day operations and training. Jason consults with other coaches and trainers on the Metabolic Detox HPT and Nutrition Performance Acceleration Program, and shares his knowledge of strength and nutrition through local lectures and classes. Most people have protein powder in their pantry. For some it’s tucked away in a corner collecting dirt, but for many athletes the bowl is front and center and used regularly. While it’s easy to get enough protein each day through whole foods, this powder quickly adds protein to any meal, delivering nutrients to our active bodies in an efficient way to maximize training results.
The average person needs 0.3-0.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, those looking to gain muscle—or athletes using protein for high-volume endurance training—require up to 1 gram per pound. Whether you choose protein powder or whole-food protein, aim for 25-35 grams at meals and 10-15 grams at snacks.
The variety of protein powders on the market is mind-boggling—from plant-based to animal-based, pure protein to whole-food nutritional supplements, and from vanilla to birthday cake flavors that are as scary as the cereal aisle. To make the right choice, you need to know your needs—maybe, one plate isn’t enough (like if you didn’t eat just one type of whole-food protein).
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If you can’t fill your closet with many different types, get one or two at most. Choose a high-quality wheel powder and a few other additives. Great for any meal or shake for a protein boost. Also, choose a plant-based meal replacement powder, which combines some plant protein with other vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to improve the quality of your overall diet. Try to avoid protein powders that contain sugar, sugar alcohols, fillers, fats, and other ingredients that look like chemicals.
Protein powder can be used in many ways other than shakes and smoothies to increase the macronutrient content of your meals.
Protein powders are a great way to increase your protein intake for athletic needs or when you’re in a hurry to fit in a balanced meal, and there are plenty of options out there.
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