Question:

I am a 38 year-old male, 250 pounds, 5’11” and I’ve been steadily working out since June and have lost almost 50 pounds, but I’m curious what is the right amount of protein that I should be taking in daily? I work out 5 or 6 days a week on average and work with a personal trainer six times a month. I usually do about 30-45 minutes of strength training followed up by 30-45 minutes of cardio. I’m currently shooting for somewhere between 130-180 grams of protein a day. Is that enough for my goal of losing weight while building muscle? Thanks.

-Steven M.

Great work on your consistent progress, Steven! For your body weight, goals and activity level your current aim for 130-180 grams of protein daily seems on track. That’s between 1.1 and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram body weight, ideal for supporting muscle growth with an intensive workout regimen. The range midpoint of 155 grams provides 620 calories which would equate to about 30% of energy if your intake was 2000-2100 calories. 

Though you may be counting protein grams and calories, the quality and timing of what you’re eating has as much impact as – if not more than hitting calculated marks. Remember to support your workouts with some carbohydrate and a little protein in your recovery snack. A high-protein yogurt with fruit or granola works as well as a protein shake. For your main meals, lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains and healthy plant fats will promote efficient metabolism better than typical fare. For example, choose a healthy stir-fry (e.g. chicken, carrots/broccoli, cashews, brown rice) instead of a cheeseburger (regular ground beef, cheese, refined flour bun). 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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