protein intake - part 1

Protein – The 3 Ts – Total

By Danny Webber
Danny Webber is a SENr registered practitioner, an ISAK certified Anthropometrist and a UK Anti-Doping accredited adviser.
| Updated on February 6, 2023

Nutrition Advent Calendar – Day 15

Protein intake – the 3 Ts:
Part 1: Total

Over the next 3 days I’ll be looking at dietary protein and the 3 Ts you should focus on to maximise its effects on increasing muscle size, strength and function.

The most important of the 3 Ts is Total, or how much protein you need each day. The RDA for protein for most sedentary individuals is 0.8g/kg/body mass (bm), however literature supports that anybody who regularly undertakes resistance or endurance exercise requires more protein than their sedentary counterparts.

resistance-trained Resistance trained athletes habitually consume very high protein diets and can eat anywhere between 2-2.5g/kg/bm protein per day. For a 100kg man, this means eating approx 250g protein every day, the equivalent to 8 chicken breasts!

Endurance-athletes Endurance athletes do not need as much protein but are recommended to consume between 1.4-1.8g/kg per day.

Athletes Athletes who compete in high intensity intermittent sports, e.g. football, tennis, hockey, require enough protein to support both endurance and strength/power based training, in which 1.8-2g/kg protein is recommended to promote training adaptations.

Consuming-protein Consuming protein after training is well-known to support recovery, by stimulating muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to repair damaged tissue and promote training adaptations. 20g protein is sufficient for near-maximal MPS, with 40g offering slightly better results, but may only be beneficial for larger athletes (>100kg).

Take home messages:

Consume 20-40g protein soon after training based on your size & sport, as part of a daily intake of 1.8g/kg protein to optimally stimulate MPS so long as calorie intake is matched or increased for hypertrophy gains.

For fat loss goals, increasing protein intake to 2-2.5g/kg can support the retention of lean muscle mass, with leaner and larger athletes requiring the upper limit to support their needs.

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