The amount of protein you need to maintain muscle mass is considerably lower than the amount of protein you need to build muscle mass. Ramp up your protein to match your number of hours per day/per week of exercise.
- Most scientific sources and recommend 50-75 grams of protein per day for basic consumption and exercise, with the higher amount for a stronger exercise regime.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that although athletes only need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram to maintain muscle mass, they require 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram to build muscle mass; this is equivalent to about 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.
- For example, a 150-pound athlete trying to build muscle should eat 96 to 123 grams of protein every day.
- A 150-pound, high-intensity endurance athlete may need to consume up to 135 grams of protein each day.
- More protein is recommended as you age past 50. Loss of muscle mass naturally occurs with age, but can be dramatically reduced with exercise and nutrition. Results from the PROT-AGE Study Group suggested that physically active people over age 65 get at least 1.2 g of protein/kg of body weight.
Keep in mind that you need to spread this protein consumption throughout all your meals, snacks and recovery drink to be most effective.
For a long distance hike it is even more important to maintain the proper balance of protein consumption.