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Old 03-02-2012, 02:30 PM   #1
Andy Sweetland
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Protein intake for a big boy?

Hi all,
Relatively new to CF (2 months+) and really enjoying the work, the exceptional training in my local box, and most of all the community aspect of sharing the work and the results with like-minded people at our affiliate.

For background, I'm 6'1'', 235, former athlete (hockey / football / rugby / crew) who's gotten into some bad food / fitness habits and trying to get back, that is rebuild strength, trim up significantly, and overall be healthier. I've been hitting CF 3x a week and once I get my feet underneath me will look to take it to 4 or 5x. So far, I'm most comfortable with the lifting pieces we do, the conditioning workouts are tougher, and anything bodyweight crushes me.

Here's my question - obviously I'm working to get my diet in order and focus on lean protein, minimize refined grains and sugars, and emphasize fuits and vegetables in order to make sure I'm giving my body the fuel it needs to CF 3 or 4 times a week. A lot of the research I've read out there (I tend to stick to peer-reviewed stuff to weed out the nonsense) calls for somewhere around 1.75 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Even if I whittle that back to my goal weight (200 lbs or 90.7 kg) that's still like 160 grams of protein a day, which sounds like a lot, certainly more than I'm getting now. In my log, a normal day I'd probably only get about 90 g or so through breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks.

I want to make sure I'm giving my body the fuel it needs to get stronger and fitter, but at the same time I'm sensitive to overdoing it and adding calories unless I really need to (and at my body weight I feel foolish pounding a protein shake - I can practically hear someone wisecrack "hey buddy, you need less, not more!")

Do I really need 160 - 180 grams of protein a day?
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #2
David Sigmon
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Re: Protein intake for a big boy?

Yes, you can utilize that much protein and will probably need it in order to optimize your diet for achieving your goals. The only situation in which I'd say you could lower your protein would be if you're taking in a substantial amount of carbs as they are protein sparing. However, since you're doing what sounds like a paleo/zone type diet that's not the case.

I'd find your LBM and feed to that number. So if you're LBM is 200lbs, I'd get AT LEAST 1 gram of protein per lb so 200grams per day. That's only 800 calories so fill the rest of those with quality fats and carbs. From there you can easily get in 90 grams of fat per day for an additional 810 calories and the remainder and I'd probably go with a total of 100 carbs for a man of your size so another 400 calories for a total of 2000 calories per day. This may not be enough calories initially so you can increase fats up to 100 grams but I'd keep the carbs low in your case, primarily in your breakfast and post workout meals.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:56 AM   #3
Joey Shishineh
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Re: Protein intake for a big boy?

I definitely agree with David. I believe that protein intake should be calculated on a LBM basis and not BW. Whether that is 1g or even 1.5g per lb, then so be it...but LBM is a good figure because you don't want to be considering your fat if you plan on losing it. What is your current approximate BF%?

As for sources, try not to get too much protein from shakes/whey. Really focus on lean meats - fish, chicken, etc. At my BW (~140) I am taking in about 180g protein per day and that is because I go by a 35/35/30 macro breakdown (protein/fat/carb).

I think everyone on here will error on the side of more is better...so, eat quality foods and go hard at the gym. Consistency is key in hitting your goals.
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:49 AM   #4
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Protein intake for a big boy?

This is really a two part question. The answer is yes you need more protein to replace calories from refined foods, sugars, fruit (yes I said fruit) and so on.

I'm not sure what you are reading but I have seen devastatingly effective results from both Paleo and Zone. The vast majority of the ripped people you see in CrossFit follow one or the other. Both diets (I prefer nutritional plans) will up your protein intake from the current levels.

If your serious about eating right get on one of the two diets and simply do it. We know they both work. Many of us have the experience of getting too light following the diets and then carefully finding ways to add more calories back in. I suggest this pattern to everyone. I went from 200 to a very lean178. Then I figured out I wasn't strong enough so I upped the food intake did a lifting program put on 10 to 12 pounds of lean muscle, knocked off the 5 or 6 pounds of body fat I picked up in the process and now sit at a much stronger and better 190 with the same waist size as I was at 178.

If met-cons and body weight stuff is killing you then you are starting from a low level of conditioning. The good news is people like you can build work capacity and cut body fat at the same time no problem. Once you lean out and get in better shape you may need to play with it but for now just do it.

CrossFit progress is measured in months and years, give it time to work. Consistency is the key to success in both nutrition and training.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
Andy Sweetland
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Re: Protein intake for a big boy?

Awesome thoughts, thanks to all.
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