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How Much Protein Do I Need, Really?

Hey everyone,

So my question today is on the topic of protien intake. I have read a few articles that say you take in about .8 grams of protien per lb of body weight (Ergo 203lb eats 162 grams). However, talking to a few of my friends who are fairly adept in training, they say just take in your body weight in grams of protein (Ergo 203 lb eats 203 grams of protein a day). The latter seems to be a bit harder to accomplish and I do not want to be trying to do something I do not need to be doing. 4 meals a day and 3 snacks a day is not easy for me to be honest… Not because I am to lazy to make them, but because I am just not hungry… They say better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Another question that ties in that I have, how much protein should you drink versus eat? Currently, I consistently drink 1 protein shake a day but sometimes I will try to get 2 to help me try to reach 203 grams. Is it better to fail reaching by eating or to achieve with an extra protein shake or two?

Stats:
30 years old
Male
5’11"
203 lb
Bfp: Around 18% (20 on some charts)
Years Training: Last 24 months (Have worked out off and on 12 years before that)
Goal: I am not trying to be pro nor am I an expert in any sense. I just want to see how big i can get/ how strong. I workout 4 days a week upper/lower split. (Each of those 4 days are about 1-1.5 hours of lifting free weights and using resistance bands at home)

Your math is wrong. 162g.

40-60g of protein per meal, 3-4 meals per day should be possible in my humble opinion. What are you eating in a day?

Wake up meal 1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt
Breakfast: 3 eggs and some turkey sausage (this i change out for oatmeal and nuts from time to time)
Snack: usually more greek yogurt (some days roughly 2-3, i will add a protein shake)
Lunch: burger patty, side of stir fry veggies, and rice
Snack: banana and some peanutbutter
Dinner: Is almost always chicken and veggies
Workout
Post Workout: Protein shake
Will add a fruit here from time to time
I do not eat after 8 pm

Of course this is just what I ate yesterday, but I try to keep it somewhat the same while not burning myself out on specific items.

And yes you are right, I did mess up on the math as I put kg instead of pounds. Sorry for that

And how many grams does that end up being then?

Between 130 to 145 grams

Why Greek yoghurt? Is it convenient for you? Cheap? Something that you love? Need (probiotic)?

Here’s an idea for changing

While retaining a lot of the style of the above

Breakfast: 4-5 eggs + 1-2dl egg whites and turkey sausage. If oats and nuts add 2 scoops whey.
Lunch: 3-4 burger patties, side of stir fry veggies, and rice. Not sure how lean your burgers are or what your calorie goals are.
Snack: 1-2 cups of cottage cheese, a banana, tbsp of peanut butter.
Dinner: chicken and veggies
Post-workout: 1-2 Greek yoghurt mixed with whey.

(personally I’d make twice the amount for dinner and eat it again post workout, maybe wrap it in tortilla bread or something or eat with rice).

Side-note: I hope you get some nutritional variety some days.

The greek yogurt i love, it is convenient, and it was a brand (at least on its chart) that has 14g per serving of protien.

So it would seem that I am around 30 to 40 grams short a day. So, I guess i just need to put my head down and drive through the “suck” of having to eat so much, keeping my goal in mind.

You’re about one chicken breast shy FWIW. If you can eat one more chicken breast without finding it sucky you’re money without even having to put your head down.

1dl of egg whites is 10g of protein without making the meal a lot more satiating. And these are purchasable as liquid egg whites so no need to toss out a bunch of yolks.

If you are trying to gain you do not need the 1 g per/lb it is just easier to do 1x bw. I easily get 1.5 per pound and have gone higher.

Based on your stats I do not see how not being hungry is an issue. 203 lbs , 20% bf at 5’11 sounds sloppy.

As stated above my goal is just to see how big and strong I can get. Not trying to be in any competitions or anything like that where bfp is important. I am really just wanting to check to see if I need to intake 160+ grams of protein a day to continue on that path. And if drinking the protein is just as beneficial as eating the protein.

Do you want to eat as frequently as you do? Some folks have an easier time getting fewer bigger meals down.

I think whole food is better, especially as I’ve come to recently appreciate micronutrients to a far greater degree, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting 1/4 of your daily protein in via shakes either. It’s almost hard not to.

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I have thought of this but I hear so much that 4 meals and all the snacks was the way to go. Have you gotten same results with less meals at bigger sizes?

There’s a lot of dogma in this hobby. You’re going to see everything from one meal a day (or even longer fasts!) to eating every two hours.

The research probably supports 3-5 daily feedings to maximize protein synthesis, but who knows if that’s the be-all.

I prefer to eat 4 times a day, when I’m on my game, with an extra intra-drink when I’m lean (not a concern right now!).

Visually, I don’t notice a difference how frequently I eat as long as my calories are right.

For performance in the gym, timing does matter for me. It matters more the lower I’m getting in calories.

I’d probably set my hierarchy:

  1. Total calories
  2. Daily protein
  3. Protein feedings (split it into even amounts across meals, depending on your desired frequency)
  4. Meal frequency: I’d let this be guided by how I feel in the gym, at work, with family, etc. For instance, if I talk to customers all day without eating, I probably will no longer have the paycheck to worry about buying my groceries!

For what it’s worth, I think you’d stand a better chance of gaining good weight if you leaned out just a little bit first. I don’t know how you measured your BF, so I could be wrong, and your goals are your goals anyway. In my experience, once I’ve gotten chubby, I’m only adding more chub after. Once I get lean (which freaking sucks, so I’m not preaching), I get a splice 4-6 months of pretty solid gains.

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Well, if lean first aligns with the overall goal, how can you cut down while still ensuring you are not taking away from your workouts? Or better said, what would be your recommendation?

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My way is not THE way, but I will say usually I just have to cut down on my weekend crapfests of beer and junk food that I pretend don’t count in my weekly totals. I can go a long ways on that.

We’re not talking bodybuilder lean, at all - there is no reason you can’t continue getting stronger while shedding some body fat.

This may not yet be that practical, but it’s kind of an open question. What does a week truly look like for you eating? Do you know your daily calories? I saw you posted a day above, but is that representative of 90% of your days and do you know the quantities?

My weekends are shit in truth. I do not drink any alcohol, but Saturday and Sundays have been slacking on my part for sure (Not like 6000 calories a day crazy, but definitely not disciplined). Which maybe even worse because my rest days are Sat and Sun. So, off that percentage, that example above of a day is Mon-Fri (75% ish for simplicity). I honestly have not counted calories at all, but the question alone implies its importance so I may have to count for a few weeks to properly answer that.

You don’t necessarily have to count if you’re eating relatively consistently every day.

Maybe just clean your weekends up some for two weeks and see what happens. You might get some mileage out of that. Get what you can out of the smallest change

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Well I am glad I asked on a Friday. Will definitely try to make the small choices count over the nest few weekends and see what I can get out of them. Thank you for the advice

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