If you've started an exercise or weight loss program, you're probably monitoring a daily protein intake (or have considered it) at an increased level. For the general population, most of the official RDA protein guidelines are enough to maintain the body's basic needs (which include healthy hair, skin and organ function) and regular diets tend to be sufficient. Roughly 60 grams per day of protein is considered acceptable for an average sedentary person.
What you may not know is that, if you're active or are trying to keep weight off after losing it, a good bit more than the normal recommendation may be warranted. What you also may not know is that additional protein intake is best to include after (not just before) exercise of 20-25 grams. New research, however, suggests nearly double that amount (40 grams) may actually be ideal for optimal muscle and bodily system recovery.
Overview of Protein Guidelines
To achieve maximum health benefits of protein, the authors of the Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism paper use a suggested range based on your weight, rather than a static number.
To lose weight or work on basic athletic goals, the recommended range is between 0.57g-0.76g or protein per pound of your weight. So, for example, a healthy 150 lb. person would need 85-115 grams of protein each day to meet this increased need.
If you're a daily or more intense exerciser, to see gains you'll need more than that, according to the International Journal of Sports Medicine. They suggest:
- 0.63g-0.82g of protein per pound of body weight for weightlifting.
- 0.54g-0.63g of protein per pound of body weight for endurance sports (running, biking, etc).
These protein requirements for active individuals are roughly twice as high as the RDA for average, sedentary person.
A New Look at Protein Amounts After-Workout
While there are a lot of factors based on the type of workouts that you do, a new study suggests that least 20-25 grams of daily protein consumed immediately after workouts bring benefits, but were surprised to find that gains continued to increase by going much beyond that amount.
In this study, researchers found that MPS/muscle protein synthesis (which is key for optimal recovery) was greater for up to 40 grams of protein over the previously recommended 20 grams of additional protein. The study tested the idea that those with greater lean mass require more protein to stimulate maximal MPS after training.
So, in summary, their conclusions are that those consuming the current 20-25 grams of protein after exercise may see greater benefits at 40 grams. They also mentioned that, even at the worst case, if there is "excess" protein consumed, the small amount of extra calories would not likely disrupt even strict diets.
Read the full summary "The Ideal Amount of Protein to Eat After a Workout" here.
Try Higher Protein Foods to Boost Your Workout
One of our specialties at Diet Direct is providing a wide selection of quality, high-protein food options that help make getting the optimal amount of protein easier and more flavorful.
While we offer a highly-rated lineup of protein shakes and drinks, you can also switch things up with our protein-infused snack foods, bars and even lite entrees. Here are just a few examples:
If you're looking to get the most bang for your protein buck, check out our selection of foods and shakes with 16g-20g of protein per serving here, or view all our items with more than 20g of protein here.
While there are many protein supplements on the market that can help meet your body's increased demand after exercise, sticking to it becomes difficult if you focus on a bland powder or shake-only approach. With our quick-prepare protein food options, we think you might even look forward to it!