However, after calories, how many grams of protein you eat per day is BY FAR the next most important part of your diet no matter what your goal is (building muscle, losing fat, doing both, etc.).
Most people already know this, which is why “how much protein do I need daily” and “how many grams of protein should I eat per day” are questions I get asked damn near every single day. Well, if you’ve ever asked yourself that same type of question, you’re in luck. This is the article that’s going to finally answer it.
Why Should I Care About Protein?
Before we actually answer the almighty grams of protein per day question, let’s first quickly recap why the hell you should care about it in the first place.
For starters, eating enough protein daily is an absolute requirement for the growth, repair or function of organs, bones, hair, skin, and of course… MUSCLE!
Your body needs a sufficient amount of protein each day in order for it to build any amount muscle. Plus, it’s also the #1 dietary requirement for maintaining muscle while losing fat. People always say they want to “lose weight,” but what they really want to do is lose fat… not muscle. How many grams of protein you eat per day is key in making sure that happens properly.
In addition to these benefits, there are many other important reasons why your protein intake plays such an important role in your ability to improve the way your body looks or performs. My article about the high protein diet explains all of them in detail.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of why you need it, it’s time to get down to how much of it you actually need.
How Many Grams Of Protein Do I Need To Eat Per Day?
This answer depends on a few different factors. Are you inactive or active? Do you work out or not? What type of workouts are you doing (weight lifting, cardio, etc.)? What are your goals (build muscle, lose fat, etc.)? Are you male or female? How much do you weigh? And more.
So, here’s the daily protein recommendations you need to know:
- If you do NOT workout and do NOT have any real diet or fitness related goal (like building muscle, losing fat, etc.), you should eat between 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is what most consider to be the ideal minimum protein intake for overall health and function for the average healthy adult.
- If you DO workout and you DO have some type of diet or fitness related goal (like building muscle, losing fat, etc.), you should eat between 0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. This is what most consider to be the ideal protein intake range for healthy adults who exercise regularly and are trying to improve their body in some way.
So, to figure out how much you need, just take your current body weight (in pounds) and multiply it by the recommended range to figure out your ideal daily intake.
For example, a 180lb person who does NOT work out or have any related goals would do 180 x 0.5-0.7 and get 90-126. Meaning, they’d need to eat between 90-126 grams of protein per day in this example.
And a 180lb person who DOES work out and IS trying to build muscle or lose fat would do 180 x 0.8-1.5 and get 144-270. Meaning, they’d need to eat between 144-270 grams of protein per day in this example.
But That’s A Pretty Big Range, Isn’t It?
Sure, the recommended protein intake range for people who DO workout and ARE trying to improve their body may be a bit broad (0.8-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight), but that’s because different scenarios call for slightly different amounts.
However, an even 1 gram per pound is usually a perfectly fine middle of the road amount for most people. Honestly though, as long as you are within the recommended range, you’re fine.
If you do want to get a little more specific, I explain how to narrow it down based on your body and your exact goals in my Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide.
Also worth mentioning now is that, in the case of people who are VERY overweight, you should use your target body weight rather than current body weight when calculating your daily protein intake in grams. The significantly obese are carrying way too much excess body fat for the math to work out accurately when their current weight is used.
So, if you fit this description (“significantly obese” or “very overweight”), use your goal weight instead. Everyone else should still use their current weight.
Where Should I Get This Protein From Each Day?
Simple. From high protein foods and, if needed, supplements.
Some high protein foods include: chicken, fish, turkey, meat, eggs, egg whites, cottage cheese, milk, nuts, and beans.
As far as supplements go, I personally use and fully recommend Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey. It’s by far the best tasting powder I’ve used over the last 10+ years.
In terms of quality of benefits, it’s really not better or worse than regular solid foods. However, it is much more quick, easy and convenient, and definitely comes in handy to help ensure you eat the right total grams of protein on a daily basis. Not to mention, it’s also ideal in your post workout meal.
***NEW*** Still have questions about how much protein to eat per day? Confused about the rest of your diet or workout? Need help putting it all together? Well, after nearly 10 years of requests, I’ve finally created the ultimate solution.
I call it The Ultimate Fat Loss & Muscle Building Guide, and in it I provide all of the answers, details and facts that make up the highly proven workout and diet system I’ve used to help countless men and women completely transform their bodies. Now it’s your turn. Learn more here.