How much Protein do you need?

Eating for strength

Protein is something a lot of strength athletes worry about. I definitely used to be one of them. Back in my early training days I would put away anywhere from 250g to 350g of protein per day. I subscribed to an old bodybuilding idea from the 70s that if you ingest more protein than your body needed, it would always have the supply it wanted when it wanted.  In theory it was not a bad idea, all be it not a particularly healthy one. My views on protein have significantly changed the they years since then. I am a firm believer your body does not need a massive supply of protein, nor is it particularly healthy to do so.

in one of my posts I talked about how study’s constantly change, and what to take into consideration when understanding these studies in regards to there scope and variables.  That said I am going to just talk about my personal experience.

In regards to protein consumption I first began to scale back in my supplement intake.  I knew that your body could ingest only so much protein in one sitting.  but as I began to reduce and finally stop my protein supplement something interesting happened. My strength was unaffected.   Now I understand the need for protein and the importance of a a wide variety of  amino acids (complete proteins) but it definitely started my questioning of what does your body really need.

I have since seem many athletes train without worrying about there protein consumption. They seem to feel a well balanced diet gives them a high enough level of protein and I am becoming more and more a believer in this. Having a healthy balance of fish, poultry, moderate dairy and occasional red meat seems to be all my body requires to make the same gains I did back when I backed away multiple  shakes with 40g of protein in them.

To be fair I have also known strength athletes who still consume a surprising amount of food, including protein, but these tend to be extreme athletes and not your ordinary gym iron pusher. The strength training they do is beyond intense and really extraordinary.

I know as my health has been higher on my radar as the years have past. It is worth reflecting if your high protein consumption is really worth the health implications it could potentially cause.  Maybe try training for some time with a more moderate intake and see for yourself.



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