Alright, so you’re in the process of fine-tuning your macronutrient goals. You’ve read a handful of random articles about recommended protein intake for athletes, but you’re not sure how it all translates to you and your personal situation. Also, you need to convert your bodyweight to kgs and need a lb to kg chart.

No worries, we have everything you need including a lb to kg chart PDF you can download.

For some of you, it is thrilling to feel like you can have such control over what lands on your plate. For others, it is somewhat stressful trying to ensure that you are hitting the mark each day. I hear you! Hitting a specific protein goal each day can be very tricky when you are constantly on the go, are a picky eater, have limited options in a cafeteria, etc.

BUT, fear not. In this article, I will review the recommended protein intake for athletes, how that calculation pertains to you and how you can reach your daily protein goal with ease!

Why is protein so important?

It does not matter what sport you play or what your body composition goals might be; adequate protein intake is critical to human survival! Protein is a component of literally every cell in your body! Your hair and nails are actually made almost entirely of protein.

The major benefits of protein in the body are as follows:

  • Assists in the building and repairing of tissue
  • It is a key building block for cartilage, bone, skin, muscle tissue, and even blood
  • It helps to create enzymes and hormones

Protein is known as a macronutrient, meaning that we need fairly large amounts of this nutrient to maintain our health. Here are some of the signs that you may not be eating enough protein:

1. Learn How to Calculate Protein Needs

First and foremost, to make sure that you are meeting your daily protein intake requirements, I would like you to sit down and calculate your needs. If you hate math, don’t worry, we’ll share our lb to kg chart.

In an ideal situation, you would be working with your local registered dietitian to estimate your protein needs. However, I realize this is not possible for everyone, so I will teach you a quick way to complete the task on your own.  It may not be perfect, but it should help you come pretty darn close to where you need to be.  

Step 1: Get on a scale and retrieve an up-to-date body weight.

Step 2: Assuming the scale provided your weight is in pounds, divide that number by 2.2 in order to get to kilograms (kg) of body weight.  For example, purposes, let’s say you weigh 140 lbs. This amounts to 63.6 kg.

If you would prefer not to do the calculation and just see your weight on a chart, check out our lb to kg chart below.

Infographic explaining how to convert lbs to kgs without a lb to kg chart in order to determine the recommended protein intake for athletes.

Step 3: Think about your goals. Are you trying to maintain muscle mass? Gain lean mass? Do you have a health-related condition where you are required to limit your protein intake?

With your goals in mind and body weight converted to kilograms, move on to part 2 to determine the exact daily protein requirements for you specifically.

lb to kg Chart PDF

You may download the lb to kg chart PDF here.

lb to kg chart to help with determining the recommended protein intake for athlets.

2. Calculate Needs Based on Activity Level and Recovery Demands

Once you use our lb to kg chart to determine your weight in kg’s you can use this quick cheat sheet to help you calculate how much protein you need for optimal muscle protein synthesis.

Low Protein Intake

.8-1.0 g of protein per kg of body weight is a safe recommendation for athletes suffering from a current medical condition requiring them to restrict dietary protein intake. This amounts to 51- 64 g protein/day for the 140 lb athlete.

Moderate Protein Intake

1.2-1.7 g of protein per kg of body weight is the recommended range for the average athlete.  Endurance-based athletes and low to moderate intensity weekend warriors typically feel and perform best at 1.2-1.4g of protein per kg body weight.

Think swimming, cross country, triathlons, rowing etc. Strength and power athletes tend to maintain lean, fat-free mass easier around the 1.4-1.7g protein per kg of body weight. Think football, hockey, sprinting, wrestling etc.

It is also important to note that in some cases, the recommended protein intake will depend more upon the athlete’s individual goals vs. the nature of the sport.

For example, a cross-country runner hoping to add a little lean mass may find himself closer to 1.5 g/kg vs 1.2 g/kg of protein/day. Endurance athletes often underfuel when it comes to protein intake. Keep in mind that endurance exercise causes a lot of muscle breakdown, and endurance athletes need a lot of protein to recover and have optimal muscle strength to perform.

So, don’t think of moderate protein intake as being only for weightlifters and power athletes.

Lastly, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! 1.2-1.7 is a fairly wide range. If you estimate that 1.2g/kg is best for you and you consistently hit that goal for a few weeks and you are not seeing progress, start to gradually increase the amount of protein you consume each day. Jump to 1.4g/kg and see where that takes you after 3-4 weeks. The same can be said for the reverse.

If you are an eager beaver and you start with 1.7 g/kg for the day but find yourself extremely full, sluggish, stomach upset etc. it’s time to bring down your dosage a few notches to see if you notice an improvement.

High Protein Intake

During specific periods of an athlete’s season, such as when he or she has been asked to cut weight for a certain situation (think of the wrestler trying to make weight before a big match or the bodybuilder looking to perfect his or her physique right before competition), a dietitian may recommend higher protein intakes of nearly 2.0g/kg of body weight to maintain skeletal muscle.

This amount of protein helps the athlete achieve necessary muscle repair and maintain lean muscle mass while also feeling full during a time when carbohydrate intake and overall calories are severely restricted. When referencing the 140 lb athlete, this amounts to 127 g protein/day.

Pro Tip #1: If you are eating a lot of fresh food (which I hope is the case!) you will not have a food label to read in order to find grams of protein. To get around this obstacle, use this quick calculation: for every ounce of animal protein, that equals approximately 7 grams of protein towards your daily goals. So, if you cook and eat a 4 oz chicken breast (weigh the protein AFTER it is cooked) 4×7= 28, and you just consumed 28g protein out of your daily total.

Pro Tip #2: It is always best to consume protein in divided doses throughout the day. This allows your body a change to take the food, digest it, and then utilize it throughout your system. The math doesn’t have to be perfect, all I am saying is that if your goal is 90g protein/day, 70g should not be consumed at one sitting for dinner! Instead, Aim for three meals containing roughly 30g of protein or consider three meals of 25g protein and a snack or two to total 15g.

3. Learn the Best Protein Sources

Ok, you just calculated your estimated protein goal for the day. This is a big accomplishment. Great work! Now, let’s figure out how to obtain the best sources of protein.

On the whole, animal protein tends to have a more inclusive amino acid profile vs. plant protein sources. This is a major reason that most athletes choose to incorporate some form of animal protein into their daily or weekly routine.

Plants can absolutely provide us with protein as well, however the body cannot use this protein type as easily as animal sources.

More specifically, animal protein contains more grams of protein per ounce, they’re more easily absorbed and used by the body (greater bioavailability), and contains a much higher amount of essential amino acids, which are crucial for muscle repair. Without all your amino acids, it is easier to reach your daily goal of eating a smaller volume of food.

The best sources of protein include the following:


Egg Organic Chicken Organic Turkey Grass-Fed Beef Wild Caught Fish (Aim for cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, trout) Organic Greek Yogurt

High Quality Protein Supplementation Options & Protein Powder Options: Organic Grass-Fed (try Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey), Pure Paleo Protein by Designs for Health (A pure beef collagen peptides protein powder.  I promise, it tastes better than it sounds!)

>>>Read More: The 17 Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powders


Tofu Tempeh Edamame Legumes (lentils, kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans etc.) Seeds (Sunflower, flax, chia) Nuts /Nut Butters Quinoa Protein powder: pea, rice, hemp.

Organic soy protein may be a nice option, however, due to its high allergenicity, processed soy is often not my first recommendation.

A Word of Caution on Protein Quality

Whether it is a plant-based or animal-based source of protein, it is essential to focus on quality.

Non-organic plant-based proteins as well as animal protien are often full of pesticides and GMO’s that will lead to inflammation and impaired long-term athletic performance.

No matter your protein type, focus on quality.

If it is plant-based, focus on buying organic.

If it is animal based, focus on grass-fed, wild-caught, and pasture-raised sources of protein.

4. Map Out a Succesful Menu

What would a typical menu look like for a protein-conscious athlete?

Time to put all of the pieces together. Let’s say that this 140 lb athlete decided to aim for 1.5g/kg of protein each day. This amounts to approximately 95 g protein/day and translates to 13-14 oz/day. Here is what a typical day might look like:

Normal Meals

Breakfast: 2 eggs + cup of oatmeal with apple slices and 1 TBSP chia seeds (15g protein) Snack: apple + 1.5 TBSP almond butter (5g protein) Lunch: 3 oz grilled chicken + side salad + baked potato (21g protein) Snack: Granola Bar ( 3-5g protein) Dinner: 4 oz baked fish + 1 cup brown rice + 1-2 cups roasted broccoli in olive oil ( 30g protein)

Practice: Recovery Shake: 20g scoop protein powder + 1 frozen banana + 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (22g protein)

While we prefer to get our protein mostly from food sources, unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.  In these situations, a high-quality grass-fed protein powder is essential.  We do have a few favorite protein powders that we like such as Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey.  To read more about the benefits of grass-fed protein powders over traditional whey protein as well an amazing budget pick sourced from Ireland, check out our post on The Best Grass Fed Whey Proteins.

Regardless of what you choose, be sure to check the label and read the ingredients carefully.  There is a high variance in quality. Lower quality products will lead to less than optimal recovery and performance so choose wisely.


Hopefully, after reading this article you not only understand the reasoning behind the recommended protein intake for athletes but also understand how to turn this number into something tangible.

If you haven’t already, be sure to download our lb to kg chart PDF to make it easy for you, a family member or an athlete to determine their protein requirements to achieve optimal muscle recovery.

If you’re struggling with sore muscles and joints, be sure to closely examine if you’re following the recommended protein intake for athletes. You may also want to consider boosting your overall protein intake with a high-quality and powerful protein shake.

Are you an athlete looking to gain weight and looking for the best ways to gain pure, solid, healthy weight without the flab? Check out our handout Gain Weight Like a Champion.

Is your estimated protein intake higher, lower or exactly what you had estimated for yourself? Share your comments below!