By: Alexis Williams, Aug 01, 2013
  Question

Now that I'm lifting weights as part of my exercise routine, do I need more protein?

Do you need to eat more protein when you lift weights?

Many North Americans get plenty of protein in their diets and far exceed the recommended 0.8 g/kg for moderately active individuals. Weight training does increase needs to 1.2-1.7g/kg which, for a 150lb person, is about 80-115g of protein per day. If you have a protein choice at each meal and snack throughout your day, you can easily meet these requirements. Here are some examples of the protein content of various foods:

  • Chicken breast, 90g/3 oz = 27g
  • Yogurt, plain, 250mL/1 cup = 12g
  • Milk, 250mL/1 cup = 8g
  • Tofu, 125mL/1/2 cup = 10g
  • Chick peas, cooked, 125mL/1/2 cup = 8g
  • Egg, medium = 6g
  • Cottage cheese, 125mL/1/2 cup = 14g
  • Soy milk, fortified 250mL/1 cup = 8-10g
  • Peanut butter, chunky, 30mL/2 tbsp = 8g

To enhance the benefits of your strength training, research supports having a source of protein before and after weight training. This can be a small amount ranging from 10-20g, and you can get it from pre and post-workout snacks like a yogurt smoothie, peanut butter on whole-grain bread, or a glass of soy beverage.

Alexis Williams, B.A.Sc., M.A.N., RD, is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. She counsels all types of people, including athletes, on how to eat for better performance and to improve their overall health. Alexis uses practical eating and strategies to guide her clients toward achieving their goals. She believes that nutrition and activity go hand-in-hand to shaping a healthy lifestyle.