Protein Requirements for Your Goal

May 13, 2013

A Blog Post About Protein by Hickory Personal Trainer & Strength Coach Jacob Creson, M.A, C.S.C.S, USAW


As you go about your fitness program, at times the goals that you’re striving to reach may change. Initially you may be set on seeing great fat loss success from your diet and workout plan, but over time, that may change so that you become more focused on building lean muscle mass.

Or, maybe you don’t even have any body weight changes you want to make, but rather you want to promote overall good performance and health.

Whatever the case happens to be, it’s important to understand how your protein requirements will change as you go about your goals so that you can structure your diet properly for success.

Let’s go over what you need to know.

Protein For Fat Loss

The first goal to address is fat loss. If you want to shed the excess fat from your body, your protein needs will actually be higher now than ever before. Most people would think that your protein intake would come down since you’ll be consuming fewer calories, but really, the opposite is true.

By eating more protein during the goal of fat loss, if you do use any protein for energy purposes, there will still be plenty left over to maintain your lean muscle mass.

This is absolutely critical if you hope to maintain a higher metabolic rate over the long term.

Protein For Muscle Building

Second, if you’re someone who is seeking muscle building, you actually won’t need nearly as much protein as you would for fat loss.

The body can only build so much muscle each day, so once your protein requirements are met, any additional protein taken in over and beyond this really isn’t all that helpful. You’d be better off putting the calories towards carbs or dietary fats.

One gram of protein per pound of body weight is more than sufficient in this case.

Protein For Performance

Finally, if you’re looking to achieve maximum performance with your workout, you want to be somewhere in the middle ground.

You won’t need as much protein as you do when you’re striving for fat loss since you’ll be eating more calories overall, but you do still need plenty of protein so that you are always in a fully recovered state.

Aim for around 1.2 grams per pound a day and you shouldn’t have any problem seeing good success.

With all of this, also make sure that you are taking in high quality sources of protein as well such as chicken, fish, lean red meat, low fat dairy products, and eggs so that you are feeding your body all the amino acids that it needs.

Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that you stay on top of your protein requirements all throughout the course of your diet plan. 


Food for Thought: Shrimp

One of the top protein sources that you should consider including in your diet plan is shrimp. Shrimp is virtually fat free and contains a decent amount of iron as well, so is a perfect way to enhance your nutrition when you lead a very active lifestyle.

Shrimp is also relatively easy to cook and is extremely versatile as you can use it in so many different ways as you go about setting up your diet plan.

Let’s give you a few quick serving ideas for shrimp to get you off to the right start so that you can start making better use of this terrific source of protein.

Shrimp Salad

If you’re in the mood for a light meal, try a shrimp salad. Take some spinach and toss it with some fresh peppers, sliced oranges, and cucumber and then add on 10-12 fresh shrimp. Drizzle with whatever dressing you prefer.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

Another fast and easy dinner for a busy weeknight is a shrimp stir-fry. Stir-fry’s are a great way for anyone to get in their desired vegetable intake for the day as you can easily take in 2-3 servings in this one meal.

Chop up some fresh vegetables and stir-fry them with some fresh shrimp, adding in some freshly minced garlic as well as ginger as you go about the cooking process.

Stir-fry’s can be eaten with or without rice depending on the desired carbohydrate content of your diet plan.

If you are looking for a stir-fry higher in healthy fats, prepare it with olive oil and sprinkle on a few slivered almonds on top or else add in some coconut flakes.

Home Made Wonton Soup

The next great way to get some shrimp in your diet plan is to prepare home-made wonton soup. This soup does take a bit of time if you prepare the wontons from scratch, but it’s well worth eh effort.

It’s broth based so relatively low in calories and you can load it up with fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, celery, and snow peas.

Add the shrimp in at the end for a quick protein boost.

Raw Shrimp

Finally, if all else fails, don’t forget that you can eat shrimp as a snack cold as well. Serve it with some cocktail sauce or some fresh salsa that you’ve prepared and you’ll have a very low calorie, high protein snack in seconds.

So make sure that you aren’t overlooking this powerful source of protein in your diet plan. Most people do struggle to get enough protein in their day, so adding this in can help you effortless reach your requirements while making sure you have good variety in your diet and never become bored.

Next time it’s on sale at the grocery store, stock up and be sure to keep some in your freezer at all times for

Featured Recipe

Shrimp and Garlic

  • 2 pounds cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined without tail
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • chili pepper flakes
Recipe makes 10 servingsChange Servings

  1. Place shrimp in a large mixing bowl with red and green bell peppers, garlic, onion, cilantro, and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop. Serve chilled.

Calories - 231kcal - 12%
Carbohydrates - 4.7g - 2%
Cholesterol - 177mg - 59%
Fat - 14.9g - 23%
Fiber - 2.1g - 8%
Protein - 19.9g - 40%
Sodium - 323mg - 13%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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