Athletes have higher protein needs than the general, non-exercising population. Some athletes can reach their daily protein targets from a balanced diet but others may have difficulty meeting protein requirements and will benefit from protein supplementation.


Protein is useful for all of us but the amounts we require are very different.  As we are all individual the answer to the question ‘how much protein do I need’ will depend on your personal weight, goal and activity level.


According to Louise Burke at the Australian Institute of Sport, 20g of protein is the optimal amount for meals and snacks.  This is equivalent to a small chicken breast, a small tin of tuna or 90g of tofu.  Scientific research also shows that those with greater muscle mass can benefit from amounts as high as 40g per meal.


Healthy non-exercising individuals require a minimum of 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight and athletes and individuals with high activity levels require between 1.2-2g of protein per kg body weight.

E.g. 70kg elite male endurance athlete (70 x 1.6 = 112g protein per day)


The table below provides an indication of personal protein requirements based on activity level and body weight.

 Group Protein intake (g/kg/day)
Sedentary men and women 0.8-1.0
Elite male endurance athletes 1.6
Moderate-intensity endurance athletes (a) 1.2
Recreational endurance athletes (b) 0.8-1.0
Football, power sports 1.4-1.7
Resistance athletes (early training) 1.5-1.7
Resistance athletes (steady state) 1.0-1.2
Female athletes ~15% lower than male athletes


Burke and Deakin, Clinical Sports Nutrition, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd, 2006

The table below identifies the amount of protein found in a variety of foods.

Food Serve size Protein (g)
Beef fillet, grilled, lean

Chicken fillet, skinless, grilled

Turkey, lean, baked

Pork, boneless, lean, cooked

Fish, grilled

Canned Tuna

Milk, skim

Milk, full cream


Egg, hard boiled

Yoghurt, low fat, plain

Cheese, cheddar

Cottage cheese

Ricotta cheese

Rice, white cooked

Bread, wholemeal








1 cup (250ml)

1 cup (250ml)

1 cup (250ml)

1 large

1 tub (200g)

1 slice (20g)



1 cup (160g)

1 slice (30g)

1 scoop (50g)


















There are many reasons people choose protein shakes, but the most common reasons are to build muscle, lose weight, gain weight and muscle recovery.  Most of us typically eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and experts recommend we include protein with each main meal, but snacks are often neglected and protein poor i.e. chips, biscuits, fruit, chocolate all contain low levels of protein.  Protein shakes, drinks and bars are a great way to top up daily protein requirements and help split daily protein evenly throughout the day.


To help you choose a protein supplement that’s right for you, start by working out your total daily protein requirements and divide the amount by the number of meals you eat per day.  This will give you a total about of protein you should look for on the label of your Musashi protein supplement when selecting a snack.




Weight gain athlete weighing 80kg


80kg x 1.8 = 144g protein per day


Divide the total (144g) by the amount of meals per day i.e. 5 meals per day = 29g protein per meal


The table below provides an example of how 144g of protein can be evenly divided throughout the day

Breakfast  Morning Snack  Lunch  Afternoon Snack Dinner
4 x Scrambled eggs on grain toast (29g protein)  Musashi High Protein smoothie

 (30g protein)

Large tin of Tuna & Salad

(29g Protein)

Musashi Deluxe Protein Bar

(22g Protein)

Chicken, vegetables and rice

(28g protein)


By Gwen Gothard