How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?

We all know that when we exercise, our muscles break down. And proteins are the building blocks that help repair those broken muscles, making them stronger over time.

But how much protein should you be eating in your diet? As a general rule, you need about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. If you weigh 180 lbs., you’ll probably need 72 grams of protein per day. A normal diet provides more than enough protein for this person. (In fact, most Americans eat 50% more protein than needed.)

But, if you’re active and exercising, you’ll need more. Active people require roughly .6 grams of protein per pound per day. That same 180 pound person would need 108 grams.

Very active people, athletes or people focused on muscle building need even more protein. I, for example, weigh 155 lbs., but live a very active lifestyle; I spend 90 - 120 minutes in the gym, six days a week. In order to maintain my current muscle mass, I need to eat 140 grams of protein each day. For very active people, protein shakes or supplements are necessary; no normal diet provides 140 grams of protein.

And easy does it: Too much protein can harm your body. Extreme protein consumption can stress your kidneys, lead to calcium loss and even aggravate allergies.

Use these guidelines to ensure that you’re taking the right amount of protein to fit your body, your lifestyle and your goals.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Hey Davey!

    Thanks for this little bit of advice. I have a question though. I am trying to be Pescitarian and as such I can only eat meat from seafood. All other proteins come from other sources like Yogurt, nuts, and other foods. My question to you is “Since I am pescitarian, do I have to increase my protein intake? And if so, how should I do it?”


  2. This doesn’t neccessarily have to do with protein, but i didn’t know where else to post/ask. Is it healthier to eat while standing up or sitting down?

  3. As a vegetarian, I get a lot of crap like “But how can you eat so little protein?” and “OMG But WHERE do you get all your protein?!” Thanks so much for this. I’ll be sending it to plenty of people. 😉

  4. Thanks for this bit of information. Now I know I need to increase my protein intake. Any recommendations for protein drinks and/or bars?

  5. Yet another thing i wanted to know! Thanks!

  6. I am a long distance runner while also doing some lifting at the gym. Should I be following the same protein guidelines? I run 5 miles a day and do about 30 minutes of lifting.

  7. Nitrogen balance: the ratio between the amount of nitrogen you take in in the form of protein and the amount you loose in your urine. A rough guide to nitrogen balance is 1 gram of protein/day per kilo of weight. for men it’s slightly more and women slightly less. Any less and your body starts breaking down muscle and other structural proteins (catabolism) in order to provide the amino acids make enzymes, and serum proteins like albumin and clotting factors.

    Most people who are trying to add muscle mass usually do twice that, or one gram/lb (a kilo is 2.2 lbs).

    Not all proteins are equal. Milk proteins like whey and casein are simpler and more easily digested. They are also more balanced, supplying all the essential amino acids. There’s a reason for this: milk is made for the immature guts of animals incapable of obtaining adequate nutrition on their own. In other words, it’s baby food.

    The great thing about milk proteins is that they are almost 100 percent digested and absorbed, as opposed to the protein in the steak picture above, of which only 60-70% of the protein is broken down by the time it reaches the terminal ileum. The other 30% ends up in your poop.

    • brandon says:

      sorry your wrong on that one. milk is one of the worst sources of protien. whey isolate is….but that’s only a fraction of milk, making milk not a very good source of protien.

      also most manufactures who sell whey isolate isn’t try 100 percent isolate…most are actually only 1 percent isolate. but they don’t tell you that.

      Soy protien Isolate on the other hand is 100 percent pure isolate making it a better protein.

      there is a reason why so many people are lactose intolerant. this is because milk was never meant to be used for any source of nutrients except when your a baby. baby’s can absorb the protien from milk much easier.

      most old countries do not drink milk. like north Americans. almost all Asians are lactose intolerant. this is the reason why they drink soy milk from natural soy beans. if milk was made for humans why would more than 2 to 3 billion people be lactose intolerant?

  8. Hi,
    Im not sure if im being dumb here, but if i need say 6g of protein per lb of body weight…(im 12 stone so thats 168lbs) ill need 1008g of protein a day.
    Someone please tell me im thick and correct me!

    ta 🙂

  9. Figured it out, im not thick, im BLIND!

  10. I m skinny guy..what should be my diet..i used to go to guy…plz tell me how much calorie i need..

    • First of all how old are you? secondly how do you compare to the rest of your friends. also what type of body does your dad and mom have? if you have an older brother, how old is he and what type of body does he have. lastly are you a sports guy? do you work out? or do you just sit in front of a computer all day?

  11. Hi, i’m 18years and weigh 65kg, i eat 2 eggs every 24hrs evrday, is it enough protein 4 the day?

  12. Hi Mike,

    I been working out for almost 2 years but on and off, I recently get back to the gym and train hard because I am now focusing to reach 10% fat and have a muscular look,, I do excercise in the morning and heavy weight lifting at 6 pm during MWF and I am taking hydroxicut in the morning then have my excersice then have my breakfast which is 3 egg whites and 1 whole egg and multi vitamins, another pill on my lunch and i take 1 serving of protein shake and half a cup of rice and vegetables.
    I take a coffee on my brunch+ 1 wheat bread then at 6 pm I do my heavy weight lifting and after working out I take 2 servings of protein shake which is 30g protein per serving and vegetables.

    On Tuesday and thursday I only do circuit cardio and rest on saturday and sundays,

    Am i doing ok? or wrong? Pls asnwer me 🙂

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