Q: How much protein should I have everyday if I’m trying to gain strength (weightlifting) in addition to training?

Okay so you want to know how much protein should you be eating?

Most times people will tell you one gram per pound of body weight (method #1). And others will tell you one 1 gram per pound of lean mass (method #2).  And both would be correct.

Unless you are extremely overweight, you can go for eating 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal weight. However, let’s say for example, you’re 200 pounds and your goal weight is 100 pounds. If you start eating for 100 pounds of body weight all at once, it would be very hard to make such a huge leap all at once AND maintain it. It may make you hungry, unmotivated and cranky and we don’t want that.

I would suggest that you instead make your first goal maybe 150 pounds before you get to your larger goal and eat for that body weight. Set smaller goals that help you to reach that larger goal. (Set daily training goals as well to help with reaching each goal along the way.)

Method number 2 is also good as long as you know your lean mass.

How do you find out your lean mass out? Simply ask most any fitness professional and they will help you.  If you’re at Crazy 88, just ask me!

So how is your body fat and your lean muscle mass figured out? There are many methods.

The most accurate method is underwater weighing (Hydrostatic Body Composition Testing) but it is very expensive and time consuming. There’s also the Skin Fold test where your skin, at various areas on your body, is lightly pinch between skin calibers and measurements are taken. It can be pretty accurate unless you have extra skin or are very overweight. Also, you want to stick with the same person to ensure that they consistently use the same spots and skin fold method. Some people don’t find this method very comfortable being as though certain areas, such as the thighs and the belly, have to be exposed to get the readings.

Then there is the Bioelectrical Impedance method which is also the method that I use. It’s most often used because it is the quickest and easiest method. It’s the little handheld thingy that I’m sure most of you have seen or used at some point in time. You put your info (height, weight, age, sex, and athlete or not) into it and it kind of uses a light electrical current/sound waves sent out into your body and gives back a body percent reading. Though some trainers swear by this method, it does tend to be the least accurate by a small percentage.

As for my recommendations in regards to daily protein consumption, I agree with both methods previously mentioned. My very general recommendation for people who want to keep it as simple as possible, is to aim for 120 to 150 grams of protein per day which equals to about 4 to 6 ounces,at each meal, over the course of the day.

For example.. 5 small meals with 20 to 25 grams per meal. If you don’t have a scale use your hand. And by that I mean.. The area and the thickness of your palm will be your serving size. Or you can think of a deck to a deck and a half of cards as your protein serving size. And keep in mind that protein keeps you satiated longer which will help keep you from those hunger pangs that keep you reaching for the junk. Pair it with a proper portion of a healthy carb source OR a healthy fat source for more bang for your buck. And for your waist 🙂