What Exactly Is Protein And How Much Do I Need?
There is a pretty good chance that if you are alive and breathing, reading this article; you have a pretty good idea of what protein is. When you are tracking your nutrition, protein is one of the 3 macronutrients (Carbohydrates & Fats are the other two) that you will be keeping tabs on. Of course protein comes to us in numerous form, most commonly; meat, but there are countless others as detailed in the infographic below.
Warning: Science Ahead!
Protein (nutrient) via Wikipedia
Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue, and can also serve as a fuel source. As a fuel, proteins contain 4 kcal per gram, just like carbohydrates and unlike lipids, which contain 9 kcal per gram. The most important aspect and defining characteristic of protein from a nutritional standpoint is its amino acid composition.
Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. During human digestion, proteins are broken down in the stomach to smaller polypeptide chains via hydrochloric acid and protease actions. This is crucial for the synthesis of the essential amino acids that cannot be biosynthesized by the body.
Protein can be a pretty complex subject right? If you are into all of the sciency stuff, feel free to click-through to some of the linked topics above. However, for the majority of us, we don’t necessarily need to worry about every little detail when it comes to protein; we just need to make sure that we are getting enough and it is coming from proper sources.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
1 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight should be your goal for total protein intake for a given day. For example, a 200 lb. person would need/want to consume roughly 200-250 grams of protein daily. This will also vary based on your goals and the demand for protein that your body requires.
This should primarily come from whole food based sources of protein and ideally, it should be a lean protein source. When you are having difficulty getting enough protein from food sources, a protein powder supplement is the most common alternative. Of all of the supplements, protein is certainly on of the top supplements for hardgainer. However, protein powder supplements should not replace whole food sources of protein, see the examples below.
What Does 25 Grams of Protein Look Like?
This is an awesome info-graphic (courtesy of DailyBurn)! Check out the 33 different ways that you can get 25 grams of protein.
Got an additional idea?
Comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts/feedback!
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