How to calculate protein intake for individual needs?

  • Hi everyone! I am somewhat confused as to how a person would calculate their required daily protein needs. I suppose it depends whether you want to lose weight, lean and tone or get lean and strong, etc? I myself fall into the category of lean and strong as I am looking to lose about 17 pounds of fat, tone the muscle I have, but also wish to gain an additional 5-10 pounds of muscle, mostly in my arms and back. I have large muscles in my thighs and calves, ( I have large muscle in the calves especially, so I am not looking to add muscle to these areas. So I am looking to gain about 5 pounds total in y arms, then and define and tone everything else up. Does anyone know how I calculate how much protein I would need daily? Is it just a fist sized portion every 6 meals or is there an actual gram weight I need to follow so I don't over or underdo it? Also, do I eat carbs with every single meal, or restrict them maybe to just 3 or 4 times per day?

  • great question.. i will follow your post for any insights as I have the same ????

    thanks Tamara


  • The main purpose for protein when dieting is to prevent muscle loss, and when gaining it is to assist in re-building muscle tissue, so either way you're looking at about the same (1-1.5g / lb of lean mass).

    One of the nice things is that excess protein is much less likely to be stored as fat than excess carbs, so if you shoot for the high end that is probably a lot better than having too little.

    I think it's awesome that your goals are so specific and focused, that has to put you miles ahead from the start.

    The one thing I can say though, is it can be really hard to add muscle (in terms of poundage) while you're in the caloric deficit required to burn fat... I only say that because I don't want you to be discouraged if your lean mass doesn't go up too much. But that being said you can tone up and even volumize your muscles quite nicely especially since you know the areas you are focused on.

    Best of luck!!!

  • I think the BFL plan says to eat the same amount of protein as your ideal weight. So in my case, if I want to weigh 125 pounds, I should shoot from 125 grams of protein.

  • Hey, Miw - Good rule of thumb there.  I target 1.1 g/lb of lean body mass.  I've been adhering to BFL since 2008 and never got much more than 1.3 g/lb and still hit the calorie targets.  My target ratio of fat to carb to protein is 25/35/40%, so basically, I take the protein number and back into the carb and fat numbers.  Lemme know if you want me to expound on that calc.

    Good luck with the goals

  • Tamara40, there is a specific App for that. It's called MyFitnessPal. Also found at Since I got on there my meal planning has changed completely and now I know how much I need to take in daily and shoot to hit those. You put in your date and goals and it tells you how much you should be taking in, but you can also set it to your own individual goals manually and everyday as you put in your planned meals it tells you at what percentage you are on a pie chart and tell you if under or over. I LOVE IT!!!! Frick has different goals then me for example. Each person sets their own goal if losing weight or building muscle. I try to keep my carb/protein/fat intake at 40-40-20. Should you decide to get on, feel free to add me. Same username SorayaRosaria. It works same like Facebook too. You can post or comment on other people's posts and see each others meals and learn from each other. Great support system for people doing the same challenge. Several of us are on there.


  • Rule of thumb is to take enough daily to meet what your actual weight should be.  Not what you currently weight.  Find out the weight you should be for your age/gender/height and take in that much protein.  For instance, I'm currently around 176 but I should be more like 155 or 160.  I try and take in at least 150Gs per day.