Without knowing anything about you client, I would think that if he is losing strength in his legs it’s probably because of his inactivity or very little exercise (as you have mentioned). I don’t think more protein will make much of a difference if he is not exercising those muscles. As for the amount of protein intake for someone in his age, I would first consult with his doctor or dietitian to be sure he doesn’t have any other medical problems or issues (for example with his kidneys).
I also agree with Harris, I dont think lack of protein in the issue. As always the standard book answer is about 1.2- 1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight. This of course will depend on the person and training goal. Taking in to much protein of course will dehydrate someone and is hard on the kidneys if you consume to much at anyone time. Dehydration is already an issue for older population. So I agree get a Doctors opinion and continue to work legs. If strength is what you are looking for try increasing weight and lowering reps as tolerable to client.
Medications can cause this problem. But being inactive can enhance this problem. The amount of protein stated by Nicole is adequate. But, as Harris said it will not do much good if he does not exercise. Many people his age are put on statin drugs for health issues. these can cause some weakness. If he is on these types of drugs. please talk to his doctor first. As Harris mentioned too much protein can hurt the kidneys. Good luck, Brian
Great answers. I suspect, as is suggested, that lack of adequate load against the leg muscles is the prime culprit, not lack of protein, in the decrease in lower body strength. ~1.5 g/protein/kg body wt/day is the general recommendation. It’s easy to get, most get more than that. With physician’s clearance, I’d suggest stationary cycling (or bicycling), eliptical, treadmill walking, especially at grade, as effective ways to increase lower body strength.
To answer this another way…athletes clearly need more protein than non-athletes. The literature is clear about this.┬á
Allow me to quote a colleague that I respect who really knows his stuff:
How much depends on what you are doing and what your goals are.┬á Exercise causes a small uptick in protein requirements to be nitrogen neutral.┬á But exercise often stimulates an increase in caloric consumption so, assuming those calories come with some protein, it doesn’t require a big change.
The big issue is with weight loss. Bodybuilders, wrestlers, or just people trying to lose weight—all of these people need a calorie deficiency.┬á A high protein diet can maximize lean muscle mass retention during weight loss, but with decreasing effect beyond a certain point.┬á I recall a study where they tested up to 1.5 g protein/lb lean for a fairly severe diet and found that even at this very high protein level, there was a small benefit in terms of reducing lean muscle loss.
So if a bodybuilder is trying to cut for a show, then he/she may be eating at a caloric deficit for 4 months, trying to retain as much lean as is humanly possible.┬á As a result, they get nearly all of their calories from protein because it is simpler and because trying to fit 300 g of protein into a 1500 cal/day diet leaves only 300 extra calories to come from fat and carbohydrates.