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Protein Series Part 2 - How Much Protein Do You Need?


Protein is required by all healthy adults, regardless of activity. Proteins are the building blocks of the body and used for numerous aspects, including maintaining body structure, enzymatic reactions, facilitating movement and transporting oxygen through the bloodstream However, your protein needs will vary, depending on your goals and activity level. All types of athletes require protein – recreational, lifestyle, endurance, strength  and team sports athletes, to name a few. Let’s discuss what your individual needs may look like, depending on your goals.


A good place to start when determining your protein needs is to first calculate your estimated total daily calorie needs. Once you have calculated your estimated daily calorie needs, you may reference the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR), which provides a recommendation for the percentage of calories that can come from each of the macronutrients across all sports and fitness goals:

  • Carbohydrates: 45-65%
  • Fat: 20-35%
  • Protein: 10-35%



Depending on the how active you are, your goals, and the types of physical activity you engage in, your protein needs will vary. Adequate protein intake is important for muscle rebuilding and recovery after exercise. When determining protein needs, it is important to assess what types of activities you primarily participate in. For example, endurance and team sports athletes’ protein needs may fall on the lower end of the 10 to 35% range for protein, while strength athletes may lean towards the higher end of the range in order to support muscle building and recovery. All types of athletes should incorporate protein for their individualized needs in order to support muscle recovery after training.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of bodyweight per day (0.8 g/kg) each day, but many researchers have found that 0.45 - 0.55 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (1.0 - 1.2 g/kg) is a more optimal intake for adults. Depending on needs and goals, some individuals may consume up to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (2.2 g/kg) or more of protein each day.


Choose a variety of high-quality, complete protein sources throughout the day. Find ways to incorporate different sources, including those from both plant and animal-based products. Some examples include meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, nuts, seeds and soy.


Check out part three next on ‘protein quality.’