The USDA guidelines recommend eating 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight – meaning a 200lb person should eat 72g of protein per day.
If you want to transform your body from fat to lean then this level of protein is way too low.
I recommend your protein intake is 1 – 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
A 200lb person would therefore need 200g – 300g of protein per day.
A 100lb person would need 100g – 150g of protein per day.
This recommendation applies for men and women.
Why so much protein?
Protein is the building block of muscle. Your body requires it for protein synthesis – a process by which new muscle tissue is formed.
When attempting to get lean, you are most likely doing two things.
- You are eating less calories than your body needs in order to create a calorie deficit and shift fat.
- You are performing 5 or more hours of exercise per week, which include 3-4 sessions of resistance training as well as some energy systems training.
(If you are not doing these two things then you won’t lose fat, build muscle, or radically alter your body shape)
These two things put immense strain on your body. By eating less calories, you have already cut the amount of protein you ingest, assuming your macro-nutrient ratios remain constant. Compounding this is the breakdown of muscle tissue caused by the resistance training. Without adequate protein intake, there won’t be enough amino acids around to repair those muscles, leaving you weaker and less muscular.
To combat this, you need to increase your protein intake by re-adjusting your macro-nutrient ratios.
A simple and effective way to do this is to include lean protein with every feeding. If you sit down at the table and can’t identify a source of protein in front of you, GO GET SOME. Aim to eat 30-40g of protein per meal (that’s roughly a palm sized piece of meat).
Isn’t too much protein dangerous?
No. You could eat 500g of protein per day (and more) without any serious health risks. A high protein intake is only a cause for concern if you already have kidney problems. A healthy individual can cope with a high protein diet just fine.
Provide your body with 1-1.5g per pound of body weight in protein and it will reward you by becoming leaner, healthier and more muscular than you ever have been before.