The Athlete's Guide to Protein Intake

The adult RDA for protein intake is 0.8 gm /kg /day and is easily met with 12% of your kcal coming from protein. Following this model, a 200 pound individual only needs 73 grams of protein per day to maintain normal daily functions. With that being said, an important question becomes, "Do athletes require more protein than the RDA recommendation?" The answer is YES... but how much more? That depends on the status of the athlete. There is little to no evidence that healthy individuals engaging in resistance or endurance training need more than the RDA, however elite athletes performing high intensity endurance training need anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 g per kilogram of body weight. Taking our previous example of the 200-pound individual and incorporating the increased amount of protein per Kg of body weight, they would still only need 110 to 127 g of protein per day. Now, Lemon PW conducted a study in 1991 and concluded that the gold standard for protein intake for athletes should be 1.5 g per kilogram of body weight, and in 2009 the American College of Sports Medicine suggested that the requirements for athletes performing resistance training may be as high as 1.7 g/k/d, but this all hinges on the intensity and volume of training an individual is doing. If you have questions about how much protein is right for you or the athlete in your life, be sure to ask us the next time you come in!
American College of Sports Medicine. Nutrition and athletic performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 41: 709-731, 2009.
Lemon PW. Effect of exercise on protein requirements. Journal of Sports Science 9 Spec No:53-70, 1991.