Your active lifestyle depends on getting enough protein to maintain muscles, transport oxygen and support your metabolism. Since your body doesn’t store enough to cover a shortage, it’s essential to consume a regular daily supply of lean protein. Remember that protein won’t keep you optimally healthy if it's used for energy, so consume enough carbs and healthy fats to provide fuel for your body.
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Adult Women and Men
Besides needing protein for basic structure and maintenance of your body, you also need a daily supply to keep up with the natural turnover. Proteins are continuously broken down and rebuilt to maintain structural integrity. Your body turns over about 250 grams of protein every day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Women should consume 46 grams of protein daily, while men need 56 grams, according to recommendations established by the Institute of Medicine based on one baseline weight and height for each gender. You can also determine your individual requirement by calculating 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of body weight.
Pregnancy and Child Development
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should increase their protein to 71 grams daily. The protein requirements for children increase to meet their developmental needs. From the ages of 1 to 3, all children need 13 grams daily, and from 4 to 8 the amount increases to 19 grams. Boys between ages 9 to 13 should get 34 grams of protein daily. Their intake increases to 52 grams daily from 14 to 18. After that, boys need the recommended dietary allowance for adults. At age 9, girls should consume 34 grams daily and maintain that until age 14, when they need the adult amount of protein.
Active and Athletic
Whether you participate in exercise classes or you’re an athlete-in-training, you may need to increase protein because muscles need it to recover and repair normal damage. If you participate in light to moderate endurance activities, you should consume 2.3 to 3.2 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Protein needs increase to 3.2 to 4.5 grams per pound during high-intensity endurance activities, and up to 5.5 grams per pound if you train more than 4 to 5 hours daily. Resistance trainers only need to add 0.54 to 0.77 grams of protein per pound of weight.
Even when you reduce calories to lose weight, you still need to meet minimum protein requirements. This doesn't just keep you healthy, it also supports weight loss because protein helps you feel full and keeps blood sugar balanced, according to the Harvard School of Public health. If you're following a high-protein diet, you can consume as much as 35 percent of your total calories in protein, according to the Institute of Medicine’s Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, 35 percent of total calories equals 700 calories from protein, which means you could consume 175 grams of protein.