YOUR PROTEIN POWER CALCULATOR
What, when and how much to eat, in four simple steps
STEP 1 WHAT TYPES?
Mix it up: beef, pork, chicken, seafood, tofu, even hemp seed, which has more protein by weight than any other veggie source. Variety is not only more fun, it also feeds muscles with a good medley of micronutrients and amino acids. If you want the best value, opt for foods that rank highest by protein-to-weight ratio: that means lean beef, tuna, chicken breasts and whey.
STEP 2 WHEN?
There is a threshold for protein, which means your muscles can use it only in small batches, according to research. Let’s say your weight puts your ideal protein intake at 140g per day. You should divide your daily intake into four servings. That’s 35g per meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a fourth snack right before bed. Also – and this is important – at least one of these meals should immediately follow a workout (see Step 4).
STEP 3 HOW MUCH?
Disregard the NHS recommendations, which suggest 0.75g of protein per day, per kilo of bodyweight. At 75kg, for example, that’s 56.25g, roughly what you get from one large chicken breast. That’s not enough to support the protein synthesis you want. Increase it to at least 112.5g, or 1.5g per kg. If you’re in the gym frequently and trying to add bulk, up to 2g per kg of bodyweight is OK.
STEP 4 ANYTHING ELSE?
At 90% protein, whey beats all other supplements – and even whole foods like steak and salmon – in protein density and fast digestion. So pairing a whey smoothie with a workout is a no-brainer. Mix 35-40g of powder with berries, banana, honey and milk, and have it 30-90 minutes after exercise. In this post-training window, your body sucks up protein like a sponge and converts it to new muscle almost twice as fast as other times.