Today during my daily research reads a post on examine.com that talks about protein intake caught my eye. As many of you know as nutritionist and fitness coach, I lean toward maxing protein at 1.3 – 1.6 grams per kg of body weight when bulking up and 1 – 1.3 or 10% of total daily calories for maintenance and leaning out. In non-active individuals, I suggest staying below 1.2 as a rule of thumb. Yet, the guide on examine.com takes my suggestions and adds much higher ranges. Thus for active individuals, let’s dive in and see the numbers.
Seeing that this is the current phase I am in, I figure why not start here. In a lean bulk, eating a surplus of 200 – 400 calories is sufficient and regularly recommended. Staying within this range allows for less fat buildup during the process to keep a shredded physique.
However, according to the guide to gain muscle protein intake should vary from 1.6 – 2.4 g/kg in addition to eating 370-800 surplus calories. I don’t know about you but eating that high of a surplus within those protein margins sounds like a hefty commitment. If you’re supplementing protein through shakes, bars or some other premade substance, then maybe this becomes easy. Yet It’s almost overkill. To put the icing on the cake, they also suggest to bump up to above 3g/kg to pack on muscle and minimize fat. Bear in mind six different scientific studies back these claims.
That said, applying controlled studies to everyday life is difficult my opinion because of body composition, diet, amongst other person-specific issues. Therefore, after reading these new protein recommendations, I am going to try applying them in my current program. Not just to see if they work, but also to see how much extra time and brainpower it takes.
In my experience and across a few earlier studies losing weight is a simple task in a caloric deficit ranging from 250 – 400 calories. Yes, there are some trade-offs like losing a bit of lean mass, but isn’t that apart of the process?
According to the guide, a shift in macros toward higher protein intake while in a deficit will preserve lean mass while shedding fat. Thus, eating the same amount of protein as you would while bulking is the way to go. The International Society of Sports Nutrition backs these claims as well and states to increase protein to 2.3-3.1 g/kg, which is even more than during the bulking process. At this range, it sounds like you must be eating a carnivore style diet to keep up with these numbers of devoting a lot of your time to eating high quantities of protein.
What’s The Point?
After reading my numbers vs these numbers, you must be wondering whats the point of a post like this. The answer is simple everyone is going to post something different when it comes to nutrition, especially now with so much research published every day. If you’re like me, you’ll use this information to help you make some minor adjustments in your current programs. Even use it as trial and error to dial in the correct numbers that work for you.
However, if you aren’t, you might want to completely switch to adhere to the latest study or studies, which from experience won’t end well. Furthermore, adhering to this style may lead to some adverse effects on long term health.
All this is to say use resources as tools rather than laws to abide by because science is always changing at a rate that people can’t fully keep up. Furthermore, improving yourself comes from mixing things up and daring to chart a path that aids in your growth. not everyone else. As a coach, I try to instil this in trainees as soon as possible in addition to never giving them specific numbers to hit, but ranges to try as they figure out what works best.