I deal with a lot of customers on a daily basis. I love helping people progress towards their goal and helping to educate them a little bit along the way. However one thing about my job (like many other jobs), is getting asked the same questions many times.
One I got asked today in my store was about protein absorption. His question was along the lines of “I heard that your body can only absorb 30 grams of protein per hour”. Keeping in mind he didn’t seem to have much understanding of the question he was even asking, but I am sure it was another store or someone in his gym saying something that they really don’t know much about.
For example, I know nothing of cars, Nothing! I know they take gas (and my jeep for instance takes a lot of it), and that when they break I bring it to a garage lol. That is all I know. But I don’t give advice on cars. I leave that to people who know. However when it comes to sports nutrition and supplements it seems like everyone who has read a 1/5 small article on protein is an expert.
When it comes to protein absorption who much protein does someone really need or use? Well the deal on this is pretty simple. There is NO SET AMOUNT.
All you can do is look at many factors pertaining to the persons goal and then try to come up with a sensible number.
There are a lot of factors that come into play, some for example are :
• What are your goals? (Do you want to build muscle, maintain muscle, lose fat?)
• What kind of metabolism does you have? (if you have a fast metabolism you need a lot of calories just not protein)
• How much muscle do you have? (The more muscle you have the more protein required daily to maintain or build).
• How athletic and how many times training per week/day. (Are you training once a week or twice a day every day?)
• What’s your work schedule like? (Do you have a physically demanding job)?
All these factors (and many more), play a role in determining how much protein you need daily & weekly. Keeping in mind that to build muscle it is what you do DAILY that adds up into WEEKS & MONTHS. Having a high protein diet for 2 weeks won’t help you build much muscle. But if you have a good protein base for 2-3 months consistently I assure you that you will be well on your way to building some good lean muscle!
As a rule of thumb I usually recommend about 1g of protein per lean pound of muscle. Now if your goal is purely bodybuilding/hypertrophy you can bump that higher to 1.25-1.5 g per body pound. But keep in mind these numbers are not set in stone.
If you compare 2 guys which one do you think requires more protein.
Guy 1 – Weighs 165lbs and lifts weights 3 days a week. He runs twice a week and does cycling once a week. He wants to maintain his bodyfat levels and try to build a bit of muscle.
With this much training he will have a hard time building muscle. But I would put him at about 175-200g a day because he is training so much. Even though he won’t build a ton of muscle, he needs the protein to aid in recovery and reducing potential MUSCLE LOSS (Catabolism).
Guy 2 is a state level competitive bodybuilder. He weighs 200lb and is 5 9”. He does minimal cardio and his main goal is building muscle.
I would put his daily protein intake at about 250 grams a day. If he is growing well at this number it is a good baseline to see if he needs more.
So in summary there is no X amount per hour that can be absorbed. There is no proof that there is a perfect amount. Track your protein amount daily, track your soreness, and track your gains in the gym. If you aren’t progressing the way you want up your protein and see how your progress goes.