Protein Needs for Strength Trained Athletes

We received quite a few comments and questions regarding the amount of protein one needs if bodybuilding vs regular day to day protein needs.  I’d like to address this a little more…

This is a great question however what defines a “bodybuilder”?

 We need to define the criteria of all individuals, whether they are athletes or non athletes; weight trained or endurance, etc….  The reason why this is so important is that the total number of calories as well as the absolute ratio of complete protein, carbohydrates and dietary fats (on a prandial or per meal basis) for each individual is entirely dependent on the level of condition (keep in mind that a person’s condition usually parallels the frequency, intensity, time or duration and type of exercise he or she is accustomed to engaging on a regular basis) that the individual happens to be in at the time his/her diet is fabricated.  For example; if we found that a 200LB male at 20% body fat was to eat 600 calories at each meal throughout the day (with a meal being eaten every 2-3 hours from the time he wakes until the time he goes to bed in order to stabilize blood sugar) and with a recommended nutrient ratio of 25/55/20 (P/C/F) and he then began engaging in weight training activities each day for an hour or longer on a regular and consistent basis; would he then need to increase his protein intake over and above the 38 grams of protein he was already eating at each meal throughout the day before he began weight training on a regular basis?

 The answer believe it or not is “no” and in many cases the protein recommendations for an individual subject to these variables would actually decrease over time.  Of course the next question would then be “Why would this be the case?”  The best way to explain this would be analogous to asking the question “would a student earning his/her PhD need to study more or less than a student earning his/her high school diploma?”  The answer to both questions simply boils down to two constants; “need” and “efficiency”.   In simple terms, when the need for protein is high, net protein retention (the body’s ability to efficiently absorb and retain protein) usually is not and vice versa (when NPR is high, the need for protein will be proportionately lower).  Your question might now be; “what variables effect Net Protein Retention” and “what variables effect the Protein Need”?  In an effort to keep this Q&A short and succinct we have provided the following brief lists:

Variables that effect the body’s “NEED” for protein:

  •  Lean Body Mass
  •    FITT of Strength Training Activities
  •    NPR (Net Protein Retention)

 Variables that effect the body’s “NPR” (Net Protein Retention):

  • Protein Synthesis
  • Protein Breakdown
  •  Net Protein Balance

 If you’d like to review a research abstract that further reveals these findings you may do so at

 If you have further questions or would like more information on this or any other Allied Health Care topic, please send your questions to

 Kindest regards,

 William Smith/AKA THUNDER


“Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.”



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