In 2018, Bryson DeChambeau declared he was going to “get huge” in pursuit of incredible driving distance.
Pictures of DeChambeau chugging protein shakes soon followed, as did an insane daily diet that included no less than seven of those famed shakes.
DeChambeau needed all that protein to help his body recover and build muscle following hours long workouts multiple times a day. His pursuit of distance also ignited a dialogue among Tour pros including Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and others — each of whom said bulking up like Bryson was not in the cards for them.
All of this talk about diets and protein left average golfers wondering: How much protein do I actually need to eat (or drink)?
There’s no exact number, because everyone has a different body and different goals. As a general rule of thumb, though, the Dietary Reference Intake recommends sedentary adults consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound (or 0.8 grams/kg for those outside the U.S.) of body weight.
This amounts to 56 grams of protein per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. However, because you as a golfer are more active than the average person, you may need to increase your protein intake to compensate for your activity level.
Adjusting your protein intake based on your activity level can also help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
If you really do want to bulk up like Bryson, you will have to consume closer to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re looking to slim down a bit, on the other hand, try getting about 30% of your caloric intake from protein sources.
Another way to think about this is trying to consume 15-25 grams of protein per meal or post-workout snack.
Regardless of your goals, if you’re physically active (golf counts!) you need to eat more protein than the minimum recommended.
Maintaining the right protein intake also contributes to your longevity in the game of golf because it can help prevent bone and muscle loss as we age, which is a common problem for older golfers.
So what should you eat if you’re looking to boost your protein intake?
Plant sources and lean meats are a good place to start. This includes soy, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, white meat chicken, turkey and lean cuts of beef or pork. Fish, eggs and low-fat dairy are also great sources of this key macronutrient.
Munching on some protein-packed snacks before, during and after your round will help you stay full longer and promote better recovery. Staying intentional about your protein intake will help you get more focused on your birdie putt than your rumbling stomach the next time you hit the course.