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Get expert recommendations based on science by answering these 7 questions.
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Answer this next set of questions for more about how your diet and protein intake may vary by other lifestyle considerations, priorities and habits.
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This quiz relies on a combination of the latest research, each answer you provided and the expertise of a Registered Dietitian who’s spent years working with a diverse group of men and women, including elite youth athletes and Olympians, and every major level in between, to calculate a recommendation specific to you.
Your recommended daily protein intake goal was calculated based off of your answers to the following data points:
- 1. Your age▼
Your protein needs increase as you age.
This age-related increase in your daily protein needs (specifically post-workout) is related to a phenomenon known as “leucine resistance.”
Leucine is one of – if not the – key amino acids involved in “turning on” muscle building on the cellular level. Without leucine, or a specific amount, your body doesn’t optimize its response to a dose of protein (think serving of grilled chicken).
This equates to a reduced ability to build muscle and recovery, meaning your body not being able to capitalize on the work you’re putting in with the same amount of protein.
As you age, your body becomes resistant to leucine, which means that even more is required to achieve the same maximal muscle-building and recovery benefits derived from a serving of protein; thus, you need to eat more protein to elicit the same benefits.
For an average-sized person between the ages of 18 – 40 years old, 20 – 25 grams of protein is enough to elicit maximal benefit from a serving of protein when it comes to muscle growth and recovery.
In older populations, however, 40 grams has been shown to be necessary to elicit a similar response.1 It’s worth noting that most studies look at elderly subjects 60 years of age and older, but it is recommended to begin increasing protein intake after the age of 50 to help speed recovery time and help build new muscle mass.
When designing this quiz, we set the threshold at 50 years of age to determine whether or not we need to give you an extra dose of protein throughout the day in your daily recommendation.
If you’re older than 50 years, you’ll note you have a higher daily protein recommendation versus someone who answers the quiz exactly the same as you but is 49 years of age or younger.
- 2. Your gender▼
- In general: the larger and individual, the higher his or her protein needs. For instance, a 250-pound male linebacker has significantly greater protein needs than a 124-pound female gymnast. On average, males tend to have larger frames and carry more muscle mass compared to females; thus, we took your answer to this specific question into account when determining your daily needs. However, because people and athletes come in all shapes and sizes, we used the information provided in the following questions (height and weight) to round-out our final recommendation for how gender influences your daily protein need.
- 3. Your height▼
- In this calculation, height does not impact protein needs directly, but is necessary. We collect this information to best determine how your gender and body size may or may not impact your total daily protein needs.
- 4. Your weight▼
- Your weight serves as the foundation for how we calculated your daily total protein intake. In fact, many protein calculators only look at this metric, recommending 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Why do we look at more? As you’ve read, there are other, equally important variables to consider to ensure your protein intake is optimized for your current body, your lifestyle, and your goals. finalize your optimal need.
- 5. Your primary mode of exercise▼
- The type of exercise you engage in influences your daily protein recommendation because each type has a unique impact on your muscle mass, including how it grows, repairs and recovers. Your eating habits similarly impact this process. Exercise that directly breaks down muscle mass on the micro level – think resistance training, or, a generic, high-volume bodybuilding-style workout routine – necessitates greater protein intake to help with muscular repair and growth. Conversely, some forms of exercise, such as any cardiovascular exercise, don’t directly break-down your muscle, but impact it indirectly. An athlete who engages in a cardiovascular sport, such as Cross Country still has a strong need for protein compared to a sedentary individual, but his or her needs likely aren’t as high as someone primarily engaging in resistance training. And, of course, there are the athletes who fall in between and do a combination of both types on a weekly, and, occasionally a daily basis. Regardless of your style of training, your protein needs are elevated compared to a sedentary individual. Resistance training warrants a further increase since this form of exercise directly induces muscular damage on the micro level.2,3 And even an endurance athlete still induces significant muscle damage, which makes a bump in protein intake beneficial for recovery.
- 6. Your current weight change goal▼
- Whether you’re seeking weight loss, weight gain, or weight maintenance, your protein needs are slightly, yet, significantly different. If your goal is weight loss, protein needs are higher compared to if you were seeking weight maintenance or weight gain. This added protein is necessary to help support maximal muscle retention, but also helps to keep you feeling full, which is essential to keeping you on track with your diet. Conversely, choosing a goal of weight gain doesn’t necessitate a further increase in protein, and, may even necessitate a reduction in your intake. Why? Protein is satiating – meaning eating a lot leaves you feeling full quickly. If you’re eating too much protein, you may find yourself unable to consume enough fuel – carbohydrates and fat – to support hard training and optimal recovery. Your answer to this question played a significant role in determining your final daily recommendation.
- 7. If you currently take protein & if so what kind.▼
- Not all proteins and protein powders are the same. The quality of the protein matters when calculating your daily intake. Depending on the type of amino acids in each protein, they can be considered as complete or incomplete. Complete proteins are those that have all the essential amino acids, whereas incomplete proteins do not, or have only trace amounts. Generally speaking, animal-based protein have the right ratio of all the essential amino acids for us to make full use of them. This makes sense since animal tissues are similar to our own tissues. Complete proteins: Animal protein: Fish, Poultry, Meat, Eggs, Dairy Plant protein: Soy and soy-based foods like tempeh, tofu, and milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, and buckwheat Incomplete proteins Plant protein: Some vegetables and fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and beans Some plant exceptions are quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, and chia. If you're an omnivore, both a plant and meat eater, you're probably already doing pretty well, protein-wise. Those on a vegetarian or plant-based diet may have to consult with an expert and fill some nutrient aps with vitamins and minerals, and of course plant-based protein supplements. If diet is not a restriction for you, and you are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of the 8 different types of protein powders. Click here.
If you like, test it out with different information. You’ll get a different recommendation.
What do you with this information? If you take protein powder, you know that each scoop = a certain number of grams. How does that contribute to your overall protein recommendation? Do you need to add another scoop? Or maybe just a quarter?
Over the next couple weeks we’ll follow up with more information on your protein own personal protein intake, including ways to meet your quota that align with your weight goal, as a guide to how much protein whole food protein sources contain.
Curious about who developed the quiz and formulated the calculations?
- Read about Paul Salter, MS, RD, LD, CSCS▼
Paul Salter is a Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutrition Consultant. Salter obtained his Bachelor’s in Dietetics from the University of Maryland and his Master’s in Exercise and Nutrition Sciences from the University of Tampa.
Currently, Salter serves as a Sports Nutrition Consultant and Coach for several high-profile companies and athletes. He has worked extensively with elite youth, collegiate, professional, and Olympic athletes across a variety of ages, sports, and cultures while serving as a Sports Dietitian at IMG Academy. He’s the former Nutrition Editor for Bodybuilding.com and also teaches in the Nutrition Sciences Department at Northern Arizona University.
- Churchward-Venne, T.A., Holwerda, A.M., Phillips, S.M. & van Loon, L.J. (2016). What is the Optimal Amount of Protein to Support Post-Exercise Skeletal Muscle Reconditioning in the Older Adult? Journal of Sports Medicine, 1-8.
- Campbell, W. (2012). Dietary protein efficacy: Dietary protein types.
- Rodriguez, N. R., DiMarco, N. M., & Langley, S. (2009). Nutrition and athletic performance. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 41(3), 709-731.
- Norton, L., & Wilson, G. J. (2009). Optimal protein intake to maximize muscle protein synthesis. AgroFood industry hi-tech, 20, 54-57.
We recommend 1 scoop of BuiltByStrength Grass-Fed Whey immediately after your workout to fuel your muscles after a great workout.
- An Excellent Source of Protein
- All Natural Ingredients
- Always Great Tasting, Guaranteed
We recommend 1 scoop of BuiltByStrength Grass-Fed Whey immediately after your workout to fuel your muscles.
- An Excellent Source of Protein
- All Natural Ingredients
- Always Great Tasting, Guaranteed
*This protein calculator is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. This tool is intended for adults who are healthy and is not appropriate for children, pregnant or nursing women, competitive athletes or people with specific diseases or medical conditions.
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