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Protein Intake for Best Results

A steady stream of protein from the foods you eat helps your body recover from stressors like workouts.  Recovering faster and more thoroughly helps you stay on top of your game and allows you a bigger buffer against unanticipated stress, such as family emergencies or fighting off a cold.

Related: 3 Key Elements of a Successful Nutrition Plan

Assuming you’re eating an “American Standard” three main meals per day, your protein intake should look like the graphs on the right, not the left:

protein-distribution

To accomplish this, first find out how much protein you need to consume daily.  That is between 0.8 and 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight.  Be on the high side if you’re trying to gain muscle, on the low side if you’re trying to lose weight or if you have trouble getting enough protein.  There are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram, so if you have your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2, and multiply by your goal of between 0.8 and 1.2 g/kg to find your daily need.  The graphs above show consumption of 90g of protein per day, so it would be appropriate for a person between 75 and 113 kg (at 1.2 and 0.8 g/kg respectively).  Those are 165# and 249#, respectively, so you can see how important it is to know your goals and pick your protein intake appropriately.

Next, divide that by the number of main meals you eat per day to find your goal per meal.  Then, take a look at what you commonly eat at each meal today, and calculate the protein content.  That will show you what your current actual distribution is.

Related: How To Choose Nutrition Supplements – Protein Shake Edition

With your protein goal number available, you’ll have an easier time finding recipes that deliver your goal amount and that contain the kinds of foods you like to eat.  Start trying those recipes, and pay close attention to how you feel — with smoother protein intake, your energy levels should stabilize, your recovery times shorten, and your overall sense of well-being increase.

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

CrossFit Slipstream