How Much Protein Can My Body Use? | Q&A Weekly Roundup

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When involved with working out, sometimes it seems like all you hear in terms of nutrition is protein, protein, protein ! But, are there times when you might be taking too much? And just how much is enough? We answer that question this week, as well as addressing some related issues regarding workout shakes and the correct way to do shoulder exercises.

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

  • How Much Dietary Protein Can My Body Use?
  • Is Dextrose OK In A Workout Shake?
  • Can Low Testosterone Affect Your Results?
  • How To Properly Stretch Your Chest Muscles?
  • No More BuiltLean Youtube Videos?
  • Question #1 | How Much Dietary Protein Can My Body Use?

    Question: Hi John,

    Very interesting article!

    I am just shy of 6 feet tall and about 210 pounds (lots of body fat to lose!). I am trying to lose body fat while keeping muscle so I try to take about 200 grs of protein / day. The thing is that when taking it, I don’t follow the usage advise (1 scoop of whey protein) as that’s only 24 grams of protein, which is clearly not enough to get my daily dose of protein. I put 3-4 scoops instead and have a single protein shake per day after the workout. Due to my job, I have to work out at the evening (8-9 PM) and my protein shake actually replaces my dinner as well (as I try to keep the kcals in check). During the day I have a breakfast plus a single whole meal per day for lunch.

    So my questions are:
    - Am I taking too much protein at once? Is it a waste? It might be like flushing money down the toilet… quite literally… In short, is there any downside in taking such dose at once?
    - Any advice on how to take the protein in an efficient way? I often read things like having one between each meal but it is just not possible for me due to my job. Maybe I can take one as a pre-workout snack (like around 1 hour before the workout)?

    The BuiltLean site is really great by the way, thanks for bringing your knowledge to the masses so that we can all be healthier and fitter! – Frank

    Answer: @Frank – Glad you found the article interesting. As for your questions:

    1 – That seems like an excessive amount of protein at one time. Most estimates at the high-end of protein utilization at any one point would be 40-60 grams, where anything over that amount is really not utilized by the body and generally being converted to other things. 1 -2 scoops, at max, should suffice, and that would really depend on the intensity of your workout. The downside is your not utilizing that protein and causing it to be converted to other substances that were not your original intentions.

    2 – It would be better to take pre-workout (at least an hour before) and possibly post-workout. A better option would be to take 1-2 scoops pre-workout and eat a meal post-workout or vice versa. Only you know your schedule, but most of your protein should come in the form of food if you’re trying to lose weight as it should help with hunger better than the liquid shakes. Hope that helps.
    – John (John Levya, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #2 | Is Dextrose Ok In A Workout Shake?

    Question: Hey! Is it OK to take dextrose with my post workout shake? Is it really necessary to cause the insulin response or would something simple be fine like a bagel or something? What foods (carbs) would you recommend taking post workout with a protein shake? – Jason

    Answer: Taking dextrose with a post workout shake is fine. Dextrose is another word for glucose which is more commonly used in terms of simple sugar; therefore, any type of foods that contain simple sugars would suffice as a fast digesting food to help with the replenishment of your glycogen stores. Here’s a post-workout article that specifically covers post workout meals, as well as recommendations and timing.

    –Kwesi (Kwesi Peters, CPT, Community Manager )

    Question #3 | Can Low Testosterone Affect Your Results?

    Question: Hi Marc,

    I’m a 35 year old man in Australia. I’ve lost 25kg in 18 months. From 35% body fat to 15%. I have also worked hard on my flexibility. I believe I have done everything naturally. I refuse to take any ‘supplements’ or shakes of any kind. I have also removed dairy, wheat and gluten from my diet. My genes are not the best, I have low testosterone levels. I go to the gym 3 times per week with a full body work and HIIT each time. I eat right…Do you have any tips for men with low testosterone levels?
    As I’ve said I work out pretty hard but my body only looks like I’ve been working out for a few weeks or months. I have read in one of your articles ‘that some people can put on muscles by just looking at weights. From my experience of going to the gym all the other men there surpass my perceived fitness level (muscles appearance) within a month or so of going. It is difficult to keep up that motivation.
    Thank you for your time. – Nat

    Answer: @Nat – Here are my answers:

    1) That’s a really interesting question. I agree with you that losing weight naturally implies not taking supplementation, but with that said, as much as I don’t love supplements in general (See my article on dietary supplements), some of them do serve a purpose and can help people maintain their health (fish oil for example).

    2) Regarding low testosterone levels, of course you can have a conversation with your doctor, which I’m assuming you have. Lifting weights combined with relatively higher protein/fat may increase testosterone. We do plan on writing an article about this as it’s in our article database. Consider focusing your workouts a couple days a week on legs. Your legs can have a powerful hormonal effect. Combine that with proper rest and decreased stress, my hope is your testosterone will bounce back.

    Good luck!
    - Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #4 | How To Properly Stretch Your Chest Muscles?

    Question: I don’t get how the first exercise works where you are going up to the wall and stretching your chest (See: How to Correct Rounded Shoulders)…All I feel is my hand being stretched not my chest or back? – Vince

    Answer: When stretching your chest, the key is to have your hand slightly above the plane of your shoulder, which helps create a better stretch. As you come up the a wall, or tall, stationary, and sturdy object, be sure you twist your body away from the wall and keep your hand above the plane of your shoulder. You should feel a great stretch in your chest. If as you are stretching you turn your wrist slightly so that your palm is now facing the ground, the stretch will emphasize your biceps muscle.

    - Marc ( Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #5 | No More BuiltLean Youtube Videos?

    Question: Why have you stopped making videos?:( – Jake

    Answer: Thanks for raising the question. It has been over 5 months since I added a video to Youtube! The short answer is that I’ve been so busy trying to create more high quality articles for the BuiltLean website that I haven’t invested the time, energy, and money into doing more videos. In a perfect world, I would be putting up 1 video per week. I never imagined how hard it would be to get to daily content (1 article per day) while keeping the articles high quality. This is one of my goals and the videos took a back seat to this primary goal. Just to be clear, videos are hugely important and I do intend to get back into doing them in the next few months. Thank you for your patience and support!

    - Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

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    6 Comments on “How Much Protein Can My Body Use? | Q&A Weekly Roundup

    1. James
      October 30, 2012 #

      I understand that the protein from a shake is absorbed very quickly. But if you are eating meat which is digested and absorbed slower; would you be able to consume more protein than the 60g quoted. I try to eat protein throughout the day, but my main meal can easily hit around 100g.

      1. November 2, 2012 #

        @James – that’s a really good question and I’m going to put it in our Q&A Weekly Database and try to get John to answer it.

      2. John Leyva
        November 9, 2012 #

        @James – Most research suggests that although there is an upper limit to maximal protein synthesis and absorption in one meal, you can still eat more protein at one time and see positive results. The key is to ensure that you’re getting enough protein throughout the day and that you still watch your overall caloric intake if you’re trying to lose weight.

    2. Donald
      November 10, 2012 #

      hey marc, how would you recommend post-workout protein nutrition? as in carbs and protein ratios, say 3:1 or 4:1? I am on a lean bulking phase, not trying to add fats and eating clean 80% of the time. You suggestions on the post (and may pre) workout shakes?

      1. November 10, 2012 #

        @Donald – Check out these articles, I think they will be helpful for you. A 2:1 ratio has been shown by some research studies to be effective:

        Pre Workout Nutrition
        Post Workout Nutrition
        Best Protein Shakes

    3. Michael
      November 15, 2012 #

      Hey Marc,
      I am 13 almost 14 years old, i have a bulk but lean body type, 4.3% fat, 64kg and 180cm tall and am an australian soccer player and swimmer.
      I do very intense training sessions and normally have a whey protein shake(not body builing one) before and after training.
      It was a few months ago and i was at state swimming and i dedcided to have some whey protein and engera once the day was over. After having them both in seperate bottles i felt fine, but during the night i woke up and vommited after that first vommit i couldnt keep anything down not even liquid.
      I wanted to know how much protein my body can handle and did i food poison myself with too much.

      Thanks in advance

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