Let me begin by stating that I am an unapologetic carnivore, which is unusual since I am a massive animal lover. I will eat just about any muscle meat except veal, and I consistently eat beef, chicken, and turkey. On average, I consume between 150 to 200 grams of protein each day, which is equivalent to between 30 and 40 ounces of chicken. Yes, I eat the equivalent of about 2 pounds of chicken per day, split into 6 or 7 meals evenly spaced throughout the day. In an effort to mix up protein sources for the sake of variety, I also include egg whites, whey protein, P28 High Protein Bread, salmon, tilapia, and orange roughy in my meal plan.
Why so much protein? For one thing, my body craves and responds well to a high protein intake. Secondly, I need to consume sufficient protein to offset the natural propensity for muscle loss that begins to assert itself after age 40. Lastly, my training is structured to help me build muscle, so I must eat sufficient protein in order to ensure maximal muscle growth. It is difficult for me to eat a meal which lacks a decent protein source because I know that doing such a thing is a disservice to my body.
You may be asking if you need to eat the same amount of protein as I do, or more than that if you are a man. Let me be very clear: if you are dedicated to a regular resistance training regimen, and your goal is to build muscle, then you probably should be consuming more protein than you are currently taking in. Though the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance is set at 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults, I consider that quantity of protein an absolute joke. In fact, the U.S. RDA guidelines are so completely lacking in a true reflection of OPTIMAL values for people that I honestly believe that they shouldn’t be taken that seriously.
I would recommend an intake of about 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight in individuals who perform resistance training consistently, and over 2 grams of protein per kilogram body weight in athletes. I push the envelope and employ a ratio of around 3 grams per kilogram body weight. When I consume less protein, I look flat, my energy lags, and my skin loses its glow. As a disclaimer, I caution anyone with kidney issues or any other medical issues which would be exacerbated by a high protein intake to consult with their primary physicians before implementing an increased protein intake.