Sports Nutrition Tip: Optimize Protein Intake

Today I have another awesome sports nutrition tip from Brian St. Pierre. This tip is a “teaser” from the Nutrition Guide he wrote for my new program Ultimate Hockey Transformation. Enjoy! – KN

Tip #3: Eat Protein at Every Meal and Most Snacks

As an athlete, protein plays a critical role in achieving the health, performance and body composition you desire. While many debate about carbs and fats, it has become increasingly clear that protein is the most important macronutrient of them all.

The sports nutrition research shows over and over again that when protein intake is sufficient, good things happen. Optimal rates of muscle gain are achieved, health markers are improved, performance is maximized, and hard-earned muscle is retained when getting lean – while also maximizing fat loss.

Simply put, if you don’t eat enough protein, it’s hard to recover from your training, hard to build muscle, hard to lose fat, and hard to optimize health.

Adequate protein will also help you:

  1. digest your food better
  2. make hormones (like testosterone and growth hormone)
  3. maintain a healthy immune system
  4. make neurotransmitters for better brain function
  5. and much more.

As a hard-training athlete, your goal is to consume approximately 1 gram of protein for every pound of your desired body weight.

Desired body weight is a representation of your lean body mass (your weight minus your body fat), as getting in 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass is ideal. Since it is a pain to calculate your body fat percentage (and it is unnecessary), simply using target bodyweight is a simple and accurate method.

For example, if you weigh 250 lbs and want to be 200 lbs, then simply aim for ~200 grams of protein. If you weigh 170 lbs and want to be 200 lbs, then simply aim for ~200 grams of protein. If you weigh 130 lbs and don’t want to change your weight, then simply aim for ~130 grams.

The best part is you don’t have to count grams to achieve this.

A portion of protein is the size, thickness and diameter of your palm. This provides about 20-30 grams of protein.

Palm Sized Protein Portion

Photo Credit:

Men should aim for ~2 palm-sized portions of protein at every meal (40-60 grams).

Women should aim for ~1 palm-sized portion of protein at every meal (20-30 grams).

Simply eat the 1-2 palms of protein with every meal, 3-5 times per day, and you will get all the protein you need!

-Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS, CISSN, PN1

P.S. For more information on how to get a copy of Brian’s incredible hockey nutrition resource, click here: Ultimate Hockey Transformation

Brian is a Registered Dietitian and received his Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maine, where he also received his Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He is a Certified Sports Nutritionist as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Brian worked for three years at Cressey Performance as the head Sports Nutritionist and as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, working with hundreds of athletes and recreational exercisers of all types. During this time, he also authored the High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide, Show and Go Nutrition Guide, Ultimate Hockey Nutrition and dozens of articles for publication.

Nowadays, he works closely with Dr. John Berardi as a full-time coach and a nutrition educator at Precision Nutrition. In particular, working closely with our elite athletes and fitness professionals. As part of the Precision Nutrition mission, he helps to deliver life-changing, research-driven nutrition coaching for everyone.

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“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University