How Much Protein in a Diet, Really?

A friend of mine who competes in 24hour long endurance races recently asked me about how much protein he really needed in his diet. This was an interesting question from an interesting man; for example he now does adventure races over the weekends when away from his cubicle job because he learned all the necessary skills being a Navy S.E.A.L.!

I’ve been reading about protein intake…and while opinions vary, it appears that most formulas point to me consuming about 160 grams of protein per day given my size and body mass? Does that sound right to you? Most of the calculations are from bodybuilding type sites…do the formulas translate for trying to build “endurance” muscle as well as pure muscle mass?

-Tortoise

Short answer: Yes, it sounds right to me.

Long answer:

Bodybuilding would require at least 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass and up to 2g.

Ex. 200lbs @ 10% body fat = 180 lbs of lean mass = 180 – 360g / day over 6 meals that day.

He was correct that this metric is for bodybuilders looking for as much mass as possible.

On the endurance side I think it matters how much destruction you are doing and how in / out of shape you are. Remember, your body can only rebuild and recover with the building blocks you provide to it.

The first question you should ask is can you stomach that much protein. I for one can and like to even in endurance training. I am a carnivore at heart! If the amount is not an issue, go with it. If you feel that is too much, don’t do it. You’ll never stick with a diet you disagree with.

I would (and have been) focusing on macro nutrients in veggies and fruit as well as essential oils / fatty acids in cold water fish to help me repair. Another focus has been on getting enough water.

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