How to set a daily protein goal and hit it every day

Among athletes, lifters, and active people, protein is widely considered the holy grail of nutrients. Protein is built from smaller organic compounds called amino acids. These compounds are essential for building and repairing muscle, improving strength [1], and controlling your weight and body composition [2].

Unfortunately, many people are confused about protein intake. Some follow outdated guidelines set decades ago, while many Americans are actually eating too much protein [3].

If you’re depending on protein to hit your fitness goals, there are two key things you need to know: how much you need, and how to consistently consume that amount [2].

How much protein do I really need?

Lots of (digital) ink has been spilled on this question in the health and fitness community. The answer depends on who you ask:

Your daily protein requirements also depend on your age and gender. For most normal active people, 0.3 – 0.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is a good starting point. You can adjust from there depending on how your body responds

Tips for consistent protein intake

It doesn’t matter what your daily protein target is if you only hit it once in a while. Consistently getting enough protein is especially important for athletes or those looking to gain strength and muscle. But research has also shown that consuming at least 25g of protein with every meal can slow the deterioration of skeletal muscle mass due to age [6].

Once you’ve decided on a protein target to aim for each day, you’ll need to plan your diet to hit this goal consistently. Here are a few tips:

Protein is personal

It can be intimidating to sift through all the information available on protein intake. The key is deciding what’s right for your individual needs. You have to set your own protein targets by evaluating your activity level and fitness goals.

Once you know what you need, it’s simply a matter of planning your days and meals to support those goals. That’s also a matter of preference – but with a good routine, some trial and error, and foods and supplements tailored to your specific needs, protein can be the foundation that lets you build a healthy body and lifestyle.

[1] "Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a ... - NCBI." 8 Sep. 2012, Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
[2] "Protein intake and energy balance. - NCBI." 25 Mar. 2008, Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
[3] "How Much Protein Do We Need? - The New York Times." 28 Jul. 2017, Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
[4] "Protein requirements and muscle mass/strength ... - NCBI." Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
[5] "Effect of Protein Intake on Strength, Body Composition ... - NCBI." 13 Dec. 2006, Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
[6] "Protein and healthy aging - Oxford Journals." 29 Apr. 2015, Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.

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