Lean Protein to Develop Six Pack Abs — How Much Do I Need?

Having enough protein in your diet is essential for building muscle. But how much do you need? ( Complete formula included )
By Peter Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 05:10 PM

How much protein do you need each day?  It is one of those never ending debates and almost every fitness pro and bodybuilder has their own idea of how much is enough.I like a medium to high protein intake but not a SILLY amount as you will see some bodybuilders  preach.

But before we look at how to calculate your own specific needs per day there is something else you need to know first.

Remember that when we talk about your protein intake per day we are talking about Lean Protein. So let’s look at what exactly lean protein is.

What Is “Lean Protein”?

The issue is not choosing between “types of protein” that are lean or not (although there are several categories of protein, that issue is for another article), but rather that many proteins also include a lot of fat and cholesterol and therefore, by definition, can’t be “lean” because you’re getting too much fat at the same time.

It gets tricky for a couple reasons — because when we concentrate on “proteins” rather than food that happens to contain protein, we start to forget that most foods are never just “pure” protein or “pure” fat.

So just keep that definition in mind: when I say “many proteins include a lot of fat”, what I really mean is that non-lean proteins are foods that contain protein but also too much fat for comfort.

Food is the delivery system by which we get protein into our bodies, and it’s very rare and undesirable to find something that’s just “pure protein”. That’s what supplements are for, and while they can be great, no one wants to eat only supplements for the rest of their lives — you’re getting a six pack to enjoy life, right? And good food is a big part of enjoying life.

So — How Much Protein Should I Eat?

It really depends on what phase you’re in. If you’re concentrating on losing fat, on getting rid of that weight so as to reveal the six pack (or at least the start of one) you’ve got underneath, you don’t want to be maxing out on the protein.

This isn’t because protein is going to prevent you from losing fat, but because it’s very difficult to continuously eat high amounts of pure protein without filling yourself up and leaving your body unable to get the carbs and fat that it needs.

When you’re concentrating on fat loss, you want to reduce (but not drastically) the amount of fat you’re taking in, but especially the amount of bad-quality fats and simple carbs. These changes will make way more of a difference to your waistline than concentrating hard on protein.

Eliminate all trans-fats and other products that contain them (which are almost always processed and refined beyond belief), and stop eating simple sugars and white-flour based carbs, which your body is more than willing to turn into stored fat.

I would recommend around

During the Muscle Building Phase

If you’re really working hard on getting that six pack defined, and you’re doing strength training to build muscle, you’re going to need more protein in order to get all the essential amino acids necessary to keep muscle development happening.

The Formula

So now that you have the background of what kind of protein to eat ( Lean protein ) and you know that there are two main phases, let’s look at the formula that will help you determine the exact amount of protein you will need per day.

You can also just pop over to this calculator to get your answer: Protein Calculator

There a few ways to calculate this depending on whom you talk to you. Many people will just say go with 1.2 ( If you want to get ripped )  or 1.7 ( If you want to build serious muscle )  x  your weigh and that is an easy way to get a rough idea of how much you need. The main problem with this method is  that it does not take in consideration your Body Fat % which means that if you are really overweight then you might actually need less protein then you think as your actual “Lean Mass Weight” is not that high.

So I am going to give you the formula I like using and yes it will require a little more work but it should give you very accurate number for a good amount of protein that should provide you with the necessary protein to get ripped and be healthy. I will also tell you what you can do if you want to add a little more protein per day if you are in a serious muscle building phase.

Ok, get your calculators out and stay focused 🙂

In simple terms this formula is:

Lean Mass Weight (Kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement

So the first thing we need to determine is your lean mass. This is your Weight – Fat.

  • To do this you need to start by finding out what your body fat% is. Go use this calculator: Body Fat & Calculator  
  • So now that you know your body fat % you simple multiply this number with your total body weight to determine the amount of fat you are carrying.
  • Now subtract this amount from you total body weight again to get your Lean Body Mass.
  • And then to finished of multiply this number with 2.25 to get your ideal intake of protein per day in grams

Confused? Ok let me give you an actual example so you know how to do this.

So let’s do mine.

I will actually start in pounds so that anyone, no matter if you work on pounds or Kg can use this formula.

Ok so I weigh 200 pounds ( By the way you simply divide pounds by 2.2 to get the equivalent in Kilograms. So 200 pounds is 90.90 Kg) and my body fat  is around 10% right now.

  • Step 1 ) 200/2.2 = 90.90kg   ( Taking my weight in pounds and converting it to Kg’s )
  • Step 2 ) 10% x 90.90 = 9.09Kg  ( Taking my weight in Kg’s and multiplying it with my Body Fat % )
  • Step 3 ) 90.90 – 9.09 = 81.81Kg  ( Subtracting my Fat weight from my total body weight to give me my Lean Mass Weight )
  • Step 4 ) 81.81 x 2.25 = 184.1 g ( My Lean Mass Weight multiplied by 2.25 )

So the total amount in grams of protein per day I will need  is 184.1g  and then you can divide that by 6 to get the amount you need to eat at each meal. In my case 30.1g per meal.

And then if you are doing some serious weight training or body building you will multiply your Lean Mass Weight with 2.75. So in my case this would have been:

Step 5 ) 81.81 x 2.75 = 224.97 ( Protein Booster for muscle building )

This is a formula I have found works very well for myself and my clients. Sure there are many other formulas and you will find every fitness pro have one they like and will normally have a reason why all others are not as good, it is just one of those never ending debates. But this one will give you good amount of protein to make sure you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform at the optimal level and that you will never lose muscle due to a lack of protein in your diet.

IF all of the above are to complicate, you can simple take your weight in pounds and multiply it with 1.1. or go and use this calculator  

Note: This calculator will give you an amount with an protein booster included already, so just be aware of that.