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Ask a Nutritionist

Lovie Spicer, RNC, CNHP, ISSA Specialist, has provided consulting to international athletes for over 30 years. She has owned Nature’s Health, a supplement store in Saskatoon, for 35 years. 

Q: How much protein does a male athlete need?
(John F., Saskatoon, SK)

A: It depends on your body’s size and activity, but a general guideline can be calculated using this formula:

Men’s minimum recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is about 40% of your body weight in grams, but an athlete may need double that. Start with 60% to 70% of your body weight in grams. This means if you are 180 pounds, you will need 180 X .6 = 108 grams of protein per day.

NOTE: This amount refers to “pure” protein, not just 108 grams of meat or eggs. Meat and eggs have other components that aren’t protein. Examples: 100 gram (3 ½ ounce) serving of fish or steak has 22 grams protein; 1 egg has 6 grams protein.

If you need to gain more muscle after eating this amount, increase to 80% - 90% of your body weight in grams. If you have a muscular build, but your body fat is too high, you still have to eat more protein because although your goal is to reduce fat, you don’t want to lose that muscle you’ve spent hours building while trying to lose weight!

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