Determining Protein Requirements

If you spend any amount of time surfing the internet and visit any of the popular (or not so popular) fitness message boards and look for any topic concerning six pack abs diets, fat loss diets or just building muscle in general you’ll come across various recommendations. One of the more popular is the idea that you should consume 1 gram per pound of bodyweight if you are looking to build muscle or lose fat.


Now I want to start out by saying that for the most part I do agree with the general recommendation of anywhere from 1.0 to 1.6 grams per pound of bodyweight. I feel that while these blanket recommendations are bad, they do make life easier, most people don’t consume enough protein so giving them that recommendation will do.

What most of the research doesn’t factor in, is the diets who wants six pack abs, have to compete or has to do photo shoots. Things change when we look at someone who needs to be very lean. It’s not a want, you either have that six pack or you don’t get the photo shoot or you don’t place well. Dieting is a prolonged caloric deficit and we have to jack up our protein intake since our carbohydrates are so low for variable periods of time.


The problems begin when we look at our current bodyweight and determine our protein needs based on that bodyweight that we’re not going to be at for much longer. You’re better off basing your recommendations on the bodyweight that you’ll be at on stage or at your goal weight. This is going to apply for the housewife who wants to lose 10 pounds or someone that’s 55 pounds overweight and needs to start losing weight.

So determine your goal weight then determine your target bodyweight. So if you have to be at your target goal in 16 weeks then start dieting. Obviously this has to be assessed on a weekly basis. In my experience, male physique competitors should use anywhere from 1.2-1.5 grams per pounds of bodyweight and women will benefit from 1.0-1.2. Not competing? That’s fine, most people will see significant fat loss results with just .7-1.0 grams of protein based on their end goal weight.

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