I recently had surgery and have been asked to avoid exercise for atleast 4 weeks. Before surgery I was doing moderate weight lifting and cardio several times a week and consuming 200 grams of protein a day mainly from eggs and shakes. I am still taking the same amount of protein daily but was wondering if it's going to waste now that I am not exercising at all.

So if one doesn't work out what happens with the protein? Does the body use just a smaller amount and expell the rest as waste or does it get stored at fat, etc.?

My weight is 180lbs and height is 5.8'

  • 2
    Why would you keep your diet the same if you're not expending the same number of calories? Aug 31, 2012 at 20:01
  • 4
    Short answer...yes; the excess protein that the body can't digest will turn into fat. Aug 31, 2012 at 20:36
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    @RobinAshe - Andreas is correct. Short answer - yes. Long one - no. Point is that body can't store proteins, but can convert them into carbs which then can be stored as fat. Devil here is - to get fat from protein, body needs a lot of energy and in this case caloric value of protein is much more closer to 2-3 kcal then to 4 kcal.
    – StupidOne
    Sep 1, 2012 at 8:21
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    @StupidOne even so, according to that I would have been putting on fat. the calorie hypothesis is grossly oversimplified, and the claim that it'll get converted to fat ignores the fact that we have bowel movements
    – Robin Ashe
    Sep 1, 2012 at 9:43
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    @RobinAshe In that case, you are walking miracle as law of conservation of energy doesn't apply to you.
    – StupidOne
    Sep 2, 2012 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


Define waste.

You may or may not gain weight, but there are other considerations at play. Excessive caloric intake will probably cause you to gain weight, plus there are other metabolic considerations from the reduction in exercise that may have an affect as well.

When you have an excessive amount of protein intake, then you start placing a larger burden on the liver (deamination of the proteins) and the kidneys (excretion of the excess ammonia converted to urea), as well as being converted to glucose and ketones in the body.

It can have an affect on blood acidity, which in turn can cause calcium loss as the body tries to normalize blood pH.

If you can't exercise for a period of time, I would reduce all your macro-nutrients in proportion, then resume your regular diet when you can get back to full activity. There have been a few questions on the site on how to start back after a period off, as your strength and conditioning will fade a bit.

While it is a very general rule of thumb, personal observation and kinesiology classes that I've taken suggest that most people are ok with up to 7 days being off and having minimal losses. After that, it will take two days to gain back for every day you were off. Some people have greater losses, some have less, it all depends on your body.


Basically, all things being equal, your body will convert the excess protein into fat, which will be stored in the body.

I would recommend that you reduce your intake while your not exercising to prevent weight gain. Protein is a good, but have less.

  • Totally incorrect protein is not converted to fat
    – aaronman
    Jul 11, 2013 at 20:15
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    Protein can be converted into acetyl-coA, which can then be converted into fatty acids or glycogen. Therefore, protein can indeed be converted in to fat. Unfortunately fat cannot be converted back into protein though.
    – Kenshin
    Jul 14, 2013 at 9:53
  • Sorry excess protein comes out in urine, not to say that it is good for u
    – aaronman
    Jul 14, 2013 at 17:08
  • hey you removed the goodbye noob part, I took the question to mean "if I take too much whey protein" will I gain fat, and from experience and what I've read I don't think that you will gain weight from that
    – aaronman
    Jul 15, 2013 at 1:34
  • The nitrogen part of the amino acids gets excreted as urea in the urine, not the whole molecule or protein
    – PGnome
    Jan 26, 2017 at 4:10

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