In order to determine how much protein I'm eating per day, I need to calculate my lean body mass. Lean body mass (LBM) is the weight of everything in your body BESIDES body fat. LBM includes organs, blood, bones, muscle, and skin, etc. On average 42% of an adult male's body weight is skeletal muscle, and 35% for adult females.
Lean body mass formula:
Body weight - (body weight x body fat %)
There are several ways to measure body fat; most of which are not 100% accurate! A body fat % estimate is OK in this case. This may come as a surprise to most, but I don't actually have my body fat measured!! Would be cool to do one day, but just goes to show that it's not necessary to have that exact number when calculating your macros.
With my lean body mass determined, I multiply that number by 1.25 grams. I recommend anywhere from 1 to 1.25 grams per pound of lean body mass. For cutting, use the lower end of that range. For bulking, the higher end. Biggest mistake I see people make is over-eating protein. Your body will run much more efficiently with additional carbs and fats. An excess of protein will not build MORE muscle than you're already capable of.
I use a few different tools to track and calculate my macros. Some people prefer to write it down on paper, others use apps like MyFitnesssPal or CalorieKing.com. No matter how you keep track of your daily intake, make sure the information you're using is pulled from a credible source. Pay attention to details like grams vs. ounces, or whether the food you're looking up is calculated based on cooked/raw/frozen/etc. These details can make or break your macro calculations!! The great thing about apps is the ability to save the foods you commonly eat. That way you aren't constantly looking up 20 items a day. You can easily use values from previous days to calculate different measurements of those same food items.
One more thing to remember when using apps or Nutritional data websites, try not to get hung up on the macro or calorie calculators they provide within the program! Those calculators are using very basic factors to determine your 'suggested' daily intake. The app can't account for the current state of your metabolism, the amount of muscle you're carrying already, or the true value of your energy output during the day.
CALORIE COUNTING AND MACRO TRACKING ARE NOT THE SAME
If you're tracking macros, there is no need to additionally count your calories.
So let's say you're really good about eating 5-6 clean meals a day. Each meal contains 3oz of a protein/meat, 1 cup carbs, and some type of fat. All sources are not created equal!!
3oz Chicken breast (cooked) = 24g protein, 0g carbs, 2.25g fat
3oz Atlantic Salmon (cooked) = 18.8g protein, 0g carbs, 10.5g fat
3oz Chunk light Tuna = 21.7g protein, og carbs, 0.7g fat
Big differences!! In the event you ate Salmon, you'd have to adjust your fat intake elsewhere in the day to account for it. If you ate the Tuna, you'd have to make sure your fat intake was compensated in another way since it's so low in fat. The beauty of flexible dieting is the ability to tweak and adjust so you CAN eat the foods you like, while still hitting your daily macros and achieving your goals. Blindly putting together meals that 'look clean', or matching someone's diet from Instagram, won't put you any closer to finding YOUR specific numbers. Once you find your numbers, you can easily adjust to bulk/build or lean down.
Here are some examples of each protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Obviously not a comprehensive list. Just the ones I use and love!!
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
93% or 95% Lean Ground Turkey
95% Lean Ground Beef
Eggs or Liquid Egg Whites
Albacore Tuna (canned)
Whey Protein Powder
Casein Protein Powder
Potatoes (reds, yukon, russet)
White (sushi) Rice
Dave's Killer Bread
Cream of Wheat or Rice
Natural Peanut Butter
THE GREAT YAM DEBATE
There's a large amount of confusion about what is a YAM and what is considered a SWEET POTATO. I personally wanted to know which food I should be looking up for macros!! So I did a bit of research.
Turns out. Everything we've been eating is a SWEET POTATO. True Yams are only sold in specialty stores (here in the U.S.) Sweet potatoes can vary in flesh color, but they should not be considered or calculated as a YAM. Lesson learned!