Protein Basics and Calculator

Author: Rod Ferris CPT (YMCA, ACE), CPAFLA


Protein makes up the structure of most cells in the human body. The major function of protein with regards to exercise is its involvement in the reparation and development of all tissues and hence it is essential for muscle growth.

Protein is made up of small molecules called amino acids. While some amino acids are manufactured by the body, some must be obtained through the diet. These are known as the essential amino acids. All 22 amino acids must be present in order for the body to metabolize protein properly.

Complete Proteins

Complete proteins contains all 22 essential amino acids (also termed high-quality protein). It is common for animal sources to be complete proteins.

Incomplete Proteins

Incomplete proteins contain only some of the 22 essential amino acids. It is common for plant sources to be incomplete proteins and hence fail to support growth when used as the sole protein source.

Log your Protein Intake

Charts are a great way to help yourself become accountable. Get yours to print now.

How much protein do I need?

To determine your personal recommended daily intake of protein, simply multiply your body weight in kg by 0.8g. (Note however that larger individuals, pregnant women may need slightly more protein.) 

Eg: Joe weighs 165lbs
(Recall: Convert lbs to kg by dividing by 2.2!)
=(165/2.2) x 0.8 

Therefore Joe requires 60 g of protein per day. If Joe was doing endurance training his needs go up to 1.1g per kg. Resistance training also requires more but there is no current guideline setup at the moment.

Also see our protein body weight chart. This chart will help you determine based on your weight and goal how much protein to have.

In other words, remember that approximately 20-30% of your diet should be comprised of protein. Please keep in mind that if you are resistance training you can increase your protein intake.


This calculator will calculate the how much protein you'll need. Type in your weight and then select the type of athlete you are.

Enter your weight in lbs:

Select the type of athlete you are:

Other Protein Links

Incomplete Protein Combinations
Protein Absorbtion
Foods Highest in Protein
Hemp Protein

Next: Carbohydates