Calculating Protein Needs for Your Ideal Body Weight

Schwarzenegger Protein

That’s what he was taught and that’s what most of us did . . .  We did it because of the way we ate.


Even Mr. Schwarzenegger changed his tune on protein. . .

schwarzenegger too much protein

For the body builder that formula is pretty close, but for the average Joe who doesn’t work out for an hour a day 5 days a week, I’ve provided the calculation below:

Ideal Body Weight (IBW) is based on your height:
Males: Protein in g/day of IBW = 50 g (for the first 5 feet of height) + 2.3 g for each inch over 5 feet.  (This lets you calculate the average male needs  that are approximately 1.2 g per kg of ideal body weight per day.)
Females: Protein in kg/day of IBW = 45.5 g (for the first 5 feet of height) + 2.3 g for each inch over 5 feet.  (This lets you calculate the average female needs 1.0 g per kg of ideal body weight per day.)
A 6 foot male’s protein calculation for IBW would be 50 g of protein (for the first 5 feet )+ 27.6 g (2.3 g x 12 inches) = 77.6 g
A 5 foot 4 inch females protein calculation for IBW would be 45.5 g (for the first 5 feet) + 9.2 g (2.3 g x 4 inches) = 54.7 g.
If you are exercising more than 60 minutes 5 days per week then the values above should be multiplied by 1.4 grams per kg for females and 1.6 grams per kg for males.
Heavy Exerciser Protein Calculation Example:
6 foot male’s base protein needs: 77.6 g per day.  
77.6 g x 1.6 = 124.5 g max
5′ 4″ female’s base protein needs: 54.7. g per day
54.7 g x 1.4 = 76.6 grams per day max
If you eat three times per day, then simply divide your protein needed for you IBW by 3 to get the maximum protein you need per meal.
I hope that helps.

Do MORE, Be MORE, Achieve MORE Exogenous Ketones for YOUR LIFESTYLE


37 Comments on “Calculating Protein Needs for Your Ideal Body Weight

    • Cory, you are a math wizard . . . Yes, thank you for spotting my units of value error. I’ve corrected it. This is what happens when you try to write your post right before your wife calls you in for dinner . . . 😉

      • hey I like ur videos and appreciate them but I’m 5’11” 273.8 lbs I have my macros set at 19g carbs
        75 g protein
        125g fat how can I tell if that’s too much fat I hardly work out do to my job

      • Your protein and carbs sound correct. Just add fat until you’re full. Listen to your body. Whether you eat 100g of fat or 200 g of fat, will be based upon your activity level and your body will signal you when you’re hungry.

    • What would be the ideal weight for a 6 ft male. if protein is 77.6 kg and it’s 1.2 grams per kg then ideal weight by these calculations would be 64.6 kg (143 lbs) This seems more like lean body mass than ideal weight.

  1. Wow! That is the FIRST time I have read it ANYWHERE on a Keto website or book where it was explained crystal clear…thank you!

  2. Another point of clarification, for the exercising calculations (1.6 or 1.4 multiplier) you reference the “values above”; is that the gram value you obtained from the first equation (50g/45.5g +2.3g/inch over 5ft) that you now multiple by the multiplier? (Example – 74 inch male. (50g + (2.3g * 14)) = 82.2g intake per day) But if exercising greater than 5 hours per week, (82.2g * 1.6 = 131.52g intake daily). Is that the correct method?

      • Thank you very much Dr. Nally. What about someone who is training like 3 times per week weight lifting medium to hard effort, what would be the multiplier ? something like minimum grams times 1.4? (just assuming as 1.6 is training for 5 days per week)

  3. Am I doing the math right on this? I’m a 5’8″ male. So I would come in at 68.4 grams of protein. So if I divide that by 1.2 grams per kg of IBW I get 57kg or around 126lbs. My ideal body weight is 126lbs?

    • No. IBW is calculated 50g for the first 5 feet and 2.3g/inch over 5 feet x 8 = 18.4. So your IBW in kg is 68.4kg or 150.5 lbs. you multiply the 68kg by 1.2-1.6 depending on your exercise levels to calculate protein needs.

  4. Pingback: Calculating Protein Needs for Your Ideal Body Weight — Dr. Adam Nally (aka – DocMuscles) –

  5. Is there no variance here for age? It seems that a 20-30 yr old would need more protein (with a higher metabolism) than say a 50-60 yr old.

    • No. No variance for age. How do you know that a 20 year old has a higher metabolism than a 60 year old? You need to meet some of the 60 year olds in my practice . . . 🙂

  6. I’m having trouble figuring out what the portions of the correct fat, protein and carbs are. I’m use to dealing in ounces and am more visual, like the the size of your fist. When I see, eat a certain percentage of fat, carbs, and protein or 54 g of protein, my no math brain is not working! I have just been guessing! Worked at first, not now!

  7. I have 100+ lbs to lose. Are you saying I will eat the same amount of protein now as I will when I reach my goal?

  8. I am 5’5″ woman and it said my IBW would be 125lbs. I don’t think that would look good on me. 150lbs is my goal. Can I up the protein to meet that goal or does it need to be at my IBW?

    • We’re not using this calculation to find out what your weight should be. We’re using this calculation as a tool to identify your bodies maximal protein needs.

  9. late to the party, but thanks for this post! I am 5’0″ and about 45g protein is what my body likes. If I go too much higher than that, I feel bloated and my FBG goes up, but my doctor thinks I need 60g to maintain muscle mass. Can you direct me to some information I can take with me to my next appointment to argue my case (the simple fact that I feel bloated and my FBG should be enough, but I want ammunition LOL) Thanks, in advance!

  10. Hi Dr.

    Have done the calculation and at 6’3″ it comes out to 102g/day. Does this mean 102g of steak (for example) or does it mean I eat more steak because not every gram of steak is protein?

    I have read that only 25% of a steak is protein.

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