I have heard that you are not supposed to have more than 16 grams of protein per serving, but I know that there are some protein supplements that may have up to 56 grams of protein per serving. Is this unhealthy? If an athlete is training for hypertrophy how many grams of protein per pound of body weight should they have per serving? My client is 202 lbs, and in the hypertrophy stage of his training. What would you suggest for them in the way of a protein intake?
Ah, the old grams-per-meal protein story. I recall hearing when I first started lifting that the body could only use 25 grams of protein at a time. Back then (the 80’s…oh how I miss the crazy spandex and doo-rags) no one made shakes or products that were greater than 25 grams per serving. But then Met-Rx came on the scene. I credit them with starting the high protein craze that has since populated the fitness industry. I personally feel it was simply a matter of one-upmanship that has led to the current crop of 50-60+ gram shakes that are all of the rage. The question becomes, “can your body use all of that protein?” Yes, but not all for tissue repair and growth. Some of the amino acids will be used for energy, either immediate or potential (fat storage).
Some other questions to consider:
- Is this much protein harmful? No.
- Is it necessary? No.
- Is it expensive? Yes.
There are four justifiable reasons I can think of for using protein powders. Not getting it in the diet, convenience, timing and you simply like protein. Does the last reason surprise anyone? There are individuals that feel better and in the case of weight loss, feel fuller longer, when eating a greater amount of protein than they require. OK fine, eat more protein. I certainly want one to feel good and enjoy their meals. However, if one thinks that this will cause them to build more muscle or lose fat more quickly, they are mistaken.
For your client’s stated goal of hypertrophy, one can reasonably assume that calories are sufficient to cover energy needs, and include sufficient carbohydrate and fat to accomplish that goal. With that in mind, 1.6-2.0g/kg of body weight is plenty. For a 202 lb client with hypertrophy as the goal, protein recommendations would be 146-183 grams. My experience leads me to believe that most weight gain clients will eat enough protein, but fail to consume adequate calories to support growth. Hope this was helpful.