Adequate protein intake is essential for building muscle, gaining weight and maintaining your physique. Eating quality protein with each of your 4-6 meals daily will ensure your physique will reach it’s potential. Here are some guidelines on how much protein is optimal:
For Muscle Building or Weight Gain: approximately 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (depending on how heavy you are training)
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For Maintenance: approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. For Weight Loss: approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Good Protein Sources Include: eggs, egg whites, fish (mostly any kind not fried), skinless chicken or turkey breasts, lean beef, cottage cheese, meal replacement shakes or bars and protein powders.
Table 1. Approximate Protein in Selected Foods
Foods Protein – Content
- Ostrich: 10 grams/ounce
- Beef: 7 grams/ounce
- Poultry: 7 grams/ounce
- Fish: 7 grams/ounce
- Large Egg: 7 grams/egg
- Milk: 8 grams/cup
- Cheese: (Cheddar) 7 grams/ounce
- Bread: 4 grams/slice
- Cereal: 4 grams/½ cup
- Vegetables: 2 grams/½ cup
- Soybeans: (dry) 10 grams/ounce
- Peanuts: 7 grams/ounce
- Lentils: (dry) 6.5 grams/ounce
- Red Beans: 6 grams/ounce
- Baked Potato: 9 grams/8 ounces
- Cashews: 5 grams/ounce
Meal Replacement Shakes and Bars (MRP’s) – MRP’s are convenient nutrition meals that can be taken just about anywhere and provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs during your busy day. Take a box of shakes and bars to work for your 3pm snack and go. MRP’s are easy and a great way to get in 4-6 high protein meals per day.
Protein Powders – Protein powders can also help you reach your protein needs. Compared to MRP’s that contain a ratio of protein, carbohydrate and fat; protein powders are almost pure protein. You can drink ’em straight, mix them with fruit or milk to make a shake, mix ’em in oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or anything else you want.