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How Much Protein Do I Need?

What’s the right amount of protein for someone who is looking to lose weight and increase muscle tone? Amanda Carlson-Phillips, MS, RD, CSSD, says there is no magic number for protein intake, but there are a few key guidelines you can follow to help achieve your fitness goals.

  • SET THE TONE WITH BREAKFAST

    The key to making better choices throughout the day is a balanced breakfast—carbs for fuel, protein for a metabolic boost, fats to sustain energy, and fruits and veggies to pack in nutrients.

  • INCLUDE A LEAN PROTEIN AT EACH MEAL

    Protein has a high thermic effort so it takes energy (calories) to break it down. During training I suggest about 0.6-0.8g of protein per pound per day. I recommend splitting it up throughout the day—including protein with every meal.

  • FOCUS ON FIBER

    Fiber helps to slow down digestion and provide stable energy. The less processed the food—like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans—the more fiber and nutrients it has. Make sure cereals, grains, and breads have at least 3g of fiber per serving.

  • EAT MORE COLOR

    Fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients and fiber, and are low in calories. I recommend at least 3 colors at each meal to get the variety of nutrients your body needs.

  • THINK BEFORE YOUR DRINK

    Skip the empty calories from coffee drinks and sweet tea and stick with water.

  • FOLLOW EVERY WORKOUT WITH FOOD

    Make sure you get a combo of protein and carbs immediately following your training sessions. A 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein has been shown to recover the body and help lose more body fat.

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