Tip #12: How much protein do you need daily?

Obesity levels for the senior population in the U.S. are now over 40 percent. If you are a former high school/college/post-college athlete who has been on the couch for the past 20-30+ years, this series of twice-monthly tips (1st and 15th of the month) will show you how to resume an active lifestyle.

Fortunately, numerous studies have confirmed that it is never too late to resume an active lifestyle. I will show you how to reduce your fitness age, a more reliable indicator of longevity than your BMI, by 20+ years over the next 12-24 months. You will definitely be healthier, happier, and an inspiration for your family, friends, and colleagues. What’s better than that?

How much protein do you need daily?

What’s so important about protein? Exercise breaks down muscle tissue, so adequate protein is vital to muscle recovery/repair as well as growth and strength development following training.

The best sources of protein are low-saturated fat sources – lean cuts of meat, white fish, skimmed milk and low-fat dairy produce (i.e., yogurts and cheeses). Nuts, seeds, and oily fish are also good sources of protein because the fats present are mainly the healthy, essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6 fats).

Research suggests that endurance athletes need more protein than was originally thought – around 1.6-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day – in order to prevent muscle tissue breakdown during the harder periods of training.

So, how many calories do you need daily? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that protein makes up 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories. So, if you eat 2,000 calories a day (and are sedentary), roughly 200-700 calories (25-90 grams) should be from protein sources. On the other hand, if you are active, you need 112-225 grams of protein daily.

What does 177 grams of protein, for example, look like?

  • 1 egg: 6 grams
  • 10 oz protein whey shake: 30 grams
  • 1 roasted chicken breast: 53 grams
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt: 17 grams
  • 1 cup tuna: 39 grams
  • 1 cup whole milk: 8 grams
  • 3 oz turkey breast: 24 grams

What have I learned?

I consume between 100-140 grams of protein daily depending on the intensity of that day’s workouts. I will consume a combination of the following:

  • Breakfast: Either 6 oz cup of yogurt (14 grams) or 8 oz of homemade granola (13 grams) = 13-14 grams of protein
  • Lunch: 2 slices of gluten-free bread (7 grams), 1 slice ultra thin cheese (3 grams), 2 slices of roasted turkey breast (10 grams) = 20 grams of protein
  • Dinner: 2 servings of Kalamata Chicken with New Potatoes (62 grams) or Spicy Red Beans & Rice (42 grams) or Chicken Fried Rice (78 grams) or Tuna and Broccoli with Noodles (96 grams) = 42-96 grams of carbs
  • Snacks: 1-2 energy bars (5 grams each) = 5-10 grams of protein

Any questions?

If you have any questions about living an active lifestyle or about your cycling goals, training, racing, or gear, I’d like to hear from you. I may address your questions in a future tip. Just drop me a note.

Tip #13 Preview: Do you have to lift weights?