Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
How Much Protein Do I Need? (January 10, 2006)

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I’m weight training on a regular basis, balancing out with a cardio program and am eating pretty healthy for the most part. But I’m confused about how much protein I need. What are some good healthy protein choices to complement my training regimen? (Larry, Smithtown.)

Well the rule is: 1 gram up to 1 and ˝ grams per pound of body weight, or to put it simply: Eat 2-3 servings of protein rich foods daily. The protein rule for a serving includes a total of 4-6 ounces of protein rich food split up between each meal. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but excess protein that the body doesn’t absorb isn’t stored as muscle or fuel for the muscles; it turns into fat. So huge slabs of steak or hamburgers should not be part of an athlete’s diet. Here are some good protein choices:

  • Lean beef – Try a lean roast beef sandwich with 2 slices of whole wheat bread for complex carbs. You will get iron, zinc for muscle growth and repair of muscle tissue including B vitamins which will help with energy levels.
  • Steak – Eat it lean! Any cut with “round” in its name will be a lean cut.
  • Poultry – Chicken or turkey usually has less saturated fat than red meats. Make it skinless.
  • Fish – Canned or fresh it’s a great source of protein. Target 3 fish meals per week. Best choices for omega 3s are the oily varieties like salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, etc.
  • Peanut butter or almond butter – Spread a few tablespoons on whole grain bread or crackers. Peanut butter has no cholesterol and is a source of plant protein.
  • Beans – A wonderful change of pace! If they are canned, note the sodium content; if you are gassy, use “beano.”
  • Tofu – soy bean curd is a vegetable protein rich in phyto-chemicals and may help prevent cancer. Add it to your salads and tofu can replace meat in many of your recipes.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on