An athlete asked me this question in the gym last week, and I figured that many of you would want to know the answer! So, here’s a whole blog post 🙂
The question: Based on my goals and my lean body mass, l need XX blocks/grams of protein per day. How many pounds of meat do I buy each week?
There are two ways to calculate this: Zone Blocks or Grams of Protein. Both are great.
In this formula, you will count protein with blocks as the unit.
Use the Zone calculator to see what your Zone prescription is. 1 block equals somewhere between 1 and 1.5 ounces of meat, depending on which sources you choose. We’ll assume that you eat a lot of beef & chicken breast (the basics), and for those, 1 ounce = one block. If you eat a lot of ground turkey or ground beef, you may want to use 1.5 ounces here. Remember that this is one ounce of of cooked meat, so multiply by 1.17 to find out how much raw meat you would need to buy at the store.
your block prescription multiplied by 1 ounce = total ounces of cooked meat needed per day.
Multiply this number by 1.17 to found out how many ounces of raw meat you’ll need per day.
Divide this number by 16 to find out how many pounds you’ll need per day. Multiply this number by 7 to find out how many pounds of meat you need to buy at the grocery store every week.
Grams of Protein
In this formula, you will count protein with grams as the unit
If you don’t want to do Zone, but you do see the value in getting adequate protein (everyone should!) this option may be easier and possibly more precise. Use this link for the calculator. It’s from the site, ‘If It Fits Your Macros” and it will allow you to tweak your macro nutrient ratios around a bit, based on your goals. “Macronutrient ratio” is just a fancy way of saying what percentage of your daily calories are coming from carbs, proteins, and fats. In The Zone, you eat 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat. A lower carb ratio would be 35% fat, 25% carb, 40% protein. The Zone is a great place for anyone to start, but other ratios have their place.
Number of grams of protein you need per day divided by 96. This tells you how many pounds (or what % of a pound) of meat you need each day. Multiply this by 7 to find out how many pounds you need per week.
Remember that this is all to help you get a rough number. One pound of lean steak has more protein than a pound of 75% lean ground beef…not all meat is created equal! You also have non-meat options, including eggs, protein powder, and some dairy options. Check out this site for more information on that. When possible, choose the leanest cuts of meat that you can find, and get a variety of sources in each week. And by all means, get enough! 🙂