How Much Protein Should I Eat To Build Muscle

More Protein Than The Recommended Daily Amount Is Not Better For You

How Much Protein Should I Be Eating To Gain Muscle? Samson’s Bodybuilding Tips

More protein is not better for you, however, and too much of a good thing could be useless or even harmful for healthy individuals, causing a metabolic overload on the body, according to studies. Bodybuilders and dieters who routinely take in too much protein put a strain on their bones, kidneys, and liver, researchers state. “Moreover, high-protein/high-meat diets may also be associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease due to intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol or even cancer,” the study authors write.

Studies of what happens when people eat too much red meat have shown that they are increasing their long-term risk of heart disease. That study linked red meat consumption to elevated levels of TMAO, which is a marker that coincides with higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

So if you want to build muscle, add resistance training, and take in protein prior to exercise, according to the ACSM. “The process of protein turnover is increased with resistance training and can remain elevated for up to 48 hours in people beginning a new resistance training program,” according to their report. And before you use any protein product, discuss your supplementation plans with your trusted medical professional.

Muscle Protein Balance Determines Anabolism Or Catabolism

Muscle fiber hypertrophy is the result of a positive muscleprotein balance. This is achieved when muscle protein synthesis over a certainperiod exceeds that of muscle protein breakdown. If muscle protein synthesis islarger than muscle protein breakdown, the result is anabolism and musclehypertrophy.

The muscle protein balance during a single moment in time or a short period is not relevant over time. It might be of academic interest, but it does not translate to either hypertrophy or muscle loss. Even if the measured protein balance is, for example, negative at a certain time and under a certain condition, the protein balance of the entire day can still be positive.

The important thing is not muscle protein synthesis or muscle protein breakdown per se.4 It is quite possible for large amounts of muscle protein breakdown to occur during the course of a day, for example through physical activity, with the end result still being a positive muscle protein balance at the end of the day.

Do I Need A Protein Supplement

Some people can get all they need from food alone. But many others find it’s expensive, inconvenient, or just uncomfortable to eat that much. That’s when it can be helpful to use shakes, powders, and bars to help.

“Consider powders and drinks to be supplements of convenienceâand use them that way,” Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., recommends. “If a shake after training is the only way you’re going to get protein at that time, have the shake. If you’re trying to gain weightâor lose weightâand you’re in a position where you’d either have a shake or miss a meal entirely, have the shake.”

If you’re aiming to increase your intake, a shake or smoothie is an easy way to get 25 grams per serving, or more, as a snack or alongside your breakfast. Protein powder also works surprisingly well in many recipes for cooking and baking.

In the past, shakes were something most people associated with bodybuilders or athletes. Today, they’re far more common, and everybody from young people to the elderly regularly use them.

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How Much Protein Does A Woman Need To Build Muscle

High protein diets have gone in and out of style as a way to lose weight and build more muscle. Women most often are concerned with weight loss, but when it comes to muscle building, most believe more protein is the way to go. All nutrients, including protein, can be turned into body fat when consumed in excess quantities. Determining the proper amount of protein for your body will help you add the muscle you desire and control your body weight.

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What Grams Of Protein Really Means

How much calories do i need to gain muscle ...

This is a very common area of misunderstanding.

In nutrition science, grams of protein refers to the number of grams of the macronutrient protein, not the number of grams of a protein-containing food like meat or eggs.

An 8-ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams but only contains 61 grams of protein. Similarly, a large egg weighs 46 grams but only packs 6 grams of protein.

If youre at a healthy weight, dont lift weights, and dont exercise much, aiming for 0.360.6 grams per pound is a reasonable estimate.

This amounts to:

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Most People Should Aim For 16 Grams Per Kg Of Body Weight Per Day

For most people, 1.6 grams per kg of body weight is enough to optimise muscle protein synthesis, but if you want to err on the side of caution, then play it safe and aim for more. Like all things, we need to base our recommendations on the individual and consider multiple factors beyond just bodyweight. Most of you who work with me eat around 1.8 grams of protein per kg of your body weight. This is because many of you are in a caloric deficit, are lifting weights regularly and possibly even have a step target. Essentially you are super active, and due to these factors, your protein needs increase. On the other hand, I do have clients consuming under 1.6 grams per kg of their body weight, as 1.6 grams would be unrealistic given the calories required to induce weight loss in that individual. Striving for more protein can potentially take someone from a caloric deficit, to a surplus. We also need to consider body fat percentage, if someone is over 100 kg and is built like the 38th Governor of California, then they need more protein compared to someone who is the same weight with less muscle mass.

Calculating Your Protein Needs

While the above guidelines give you a good sense of where your protein intake should fall, calculating the amount of daily protein that’s right for you can help you fine-tune this further.

To determine your protein needs in grams , first, calculate your weight in kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.

Next, decide how many grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is appropriate for you.

  • Use the low end of the range if you are in good health and are sedentary: 0.8g per kg.
  • Use a higher number if you are under stress, pregnant, recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Then multiply your weight in kg times the number of protein grams per day.


154-pound male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights, but is not training at an elite level:

  • 154 lb/2.2 = 70 kg
  • 70 kg x 1.7 = 119 grams protein per day

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What Are The Benefits Of Dietary Protein

You probably associate high-protein eating with people trying to gain mass. And that’s because it works! Diets that are rich in high-protein foods, in combination with resistance training, have been shown repeatedly to help athletes add or retain lean mass.

However, diets that include moderate or high-protein foods have plenty of other advantages. For one, as Jose Antonio, Ph.D., writes in the article “3 Myths about High-Protein Diets Debunked,” “It’s very difficult to get fat if the only thing you overfeed on is protein.”

Most high-protein foods are themselves very low in fat and carbs. Chicken breasts have 2-3 grams of fat per serving, while cottage cheese has only 1-2 grams. Egg whites and fish are virtually fat-free, and in the case of fish, the fats they contain are often healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

High-protein diets can also help you lose unwanted weight. “Not only will this extra protein help you build more lean muscle mass, but it will also diminish your appetite, making you less apt to cave in to cravings,” says Jose Antonio, Ph.D. ” can help you lose weight because of its ability to act as a potent thermogenic agent. That means your body burns more calories digesting protein foods than it takes to digest an identical amount of carbohydrate and fat.”

Is 100 Grams Of Protein Enough To Build Muscle

How much protein do you need per day? To Build Muscle? To Lose Weight?

As stated above, people in general areadvised to consume a minimum of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, but people who prioritize building muscle should aim for more than that minimum. Although theres not one magic number and recommendations vary by person, theAmerican College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for athletes. Following that general guideline, consuming closer to 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be beneficial for bodybuilders and those looking to build muscle or maintain lean body mass. In the average 150-pound adult whos actively strength training or resistance training, that might look like 75-120 grams of protein daily 100 grams being most peoples sweet spot. It has been proposed that muscle protein synthesis is maximized in young adults at a dose of around 2025 grams of a high-quality protein.

You may have concerns that eating too much protein is bad for the kidneys, but 100 grams of protein per day is generally safe for healthy adults. High amounts of protein can be harmful to the kidneys if a person already has kidney issues however, for healthy individuals, consuming around 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram is fine, as noted in a 2010 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

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How Much Protein Do I Need For Weight Loss

If youre looking to build muscle while also losing weight, youll want to keep your protein intake high but lower your carbohydrate intake slightly. The goal is to get plenty of protein while controlling overall calorie intake. People looking to only build muscle should increase the amount of calories they consume for ultimate muscle growth, but if weight loss is part of the end-goal, then youll want to be mindful of total calories.

Your protein needs for weight loss will depend on what your activity level is roughly anywhere between 1.2-1.8 grams per kilogram, with 1.6 being the sweet spot for maintaining and building muscle while losing weight. Youll need to eat enough to ensure your body has the fuel it needs for necessary processes, but achieving weight loss might require a reduction or adjustment in your daily calorie intake.

Is Too Much Protein Bad For Your Kidneys

The idea that a high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys is something that people have been arguing about for years.

It dates back to the early 1980s when Dr Barry Brenner proposed a link between high protein diets and the progression of renal disease .

Its true that a low-protein diet helps to prevent the deterioration in renal function in patients with renal failure. Thats because one of the main jobs of the kidneys is to remove the end products of protein metabolism from your body.

They act a bit like a sieve, filtering out any unwanted substances in the blood and sending them to the bladder where they can be removed in the urine.

But the majority of scientific evidence cited by Brenner and his colleagues was generated from animal models and patients with existing renal disease.

While protein restriction may be suitable for treating someone with existing kidney disease, there is no evidence to show that high protein intakes can lead to kidney damage in healthy individuals.

A study by Belgian researchers Jacques Poortmans and Oliver Dellalieux examined the diets of young male athletes to see if their high level of protein intake had any negative impact on kidney function.

One group consisted solely of bodybuilders, while subjects in group two took part in a variety of sports, such as cycling, judo, and rowing.

Despite the high levels of dietary protein, blood and urine samples showed that all markers of kidney function were well within the normal range.

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How To Actually Calculate Your Protein Needs

Perhaps, then, the best way to measure how much protein you need to consume daily is based on lean body mass, or everything in your body that isnt fat. This could provide a more accurate figure than focusing on just your total weight.

Of course, if youre a fitness model sitting comfortably at four per cent body fat, then theres obviously not going to be much difference whether protein intake is expressed relative to your weight or lean body mass. For the average guy, however, it’s a considerably different story. They’re likely to be carrying more weight around their midriff and have a higher body-fat percentage.

On the flipside, let’s look at an obese man who weighs 135kg. In this case, it would be unwise to base his protein intake on his total bodyweight. Using the 2g of protein per kg, he’ll be eating a whopping 270g protein on a daily basis.

Needless to say, our hypothetical overweight man definitely doesnt need to be eating the equivalent of 10 chicken breasts a day, even if he’s looking to build muscle. In fact, most research shows little benefit to consuming more than 2.2g of protein per kg of lean body mass.

How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day To Build Muscle

How much protein do I need to eat to build muscle?

Well, the most comprehensive meta-analysis we have to reference was done by Robert Mortan and a bunch of other absolute Jedi’s in the sports science world. We have Brad Schoenfeld, Menno Henselmans, Eric Helms, the list goes on, the kind of sports science Jedi’s you want to have involved in your meta-analysis, so you know their review is going to kick ass! According to this meta-analysis, the average amount of protein required to maximise lean mass is ~1.6 grams per kg of body weight per day. Which isn’t that much my son probably gets more than that, and he’s four. Nah, that’s a lie, unless chips have more protein than I believe they do, chips being a quintessential staple in any four-year-olds diet.

Prefer to watch than read? Then please check out the video below:

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How Much Protein Should You Eat To Build Muscle

Many gym newbies assume that eating more protein = more muscle growth.

Sure, eating more than 1.4 g protein/lb LBM wont be detrimental to muscle growth, but it wont necessarily be better. People have this notion that excess protein leads to extra muscle growth, which is simply not the case.

Overfeeding on protein may be counterproductive for bodybuilders and athletes who want to build muscle. If anything, it will increase satiety and the thermic effect of feeding, preventing you from getting the calories you need to grow.

There is an intrinsic cap to muscle protein synthesis in response to high-protein meals. After MPS reaches its peak, a refractory period of roughly four hours sets in before skeletal muscle is resensitized to the anabolic effects of amino acids. Research scientists refer to this phenomenon as the muscle-full effect.

At any given meal, 20-40 g of a leucine-rich protein source will elicit peak muscle protein synthesis in most individuals. Intuitively, larger, muscular people require more protein to maximize MPS, and vice versa. The extra protein from a meal will be subject to fecal excretion, use for other biological functions , gluconeogenesis, or oxidation for energy.

What The Science Says

Some older studies suggest that an intake of at least 1.6 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight is needed to maintain lean mass with strength training .

More recent studies suggest intakes as high as 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight .

And a larger and more recent review of the research determined that for most, there aren’t any beneficial effects of eating more than 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.72 grams per pound of body weight .

All of these recommendations fall within the range suggested by the American College of Sports Medicine that suggests 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight , which would translate to 81 to 136 grams for a 150-pound adult.

Your ideal protein needs can also depend on your overall calorie intake.

Your macro diet ratio may have an impact on body composition when looking at a surplus or restriction of calories. A narrative review of the research and smaller studies have suggested that higher protein intakes between 2.2 to 3.4 grams/kg during a large calorie surplus results in lower gains in body fat – promoting more muscle overall .

So, looks like the debate continues around how much protein is actually needed to gain more muscle and we may not get a definitive answer any time soon, due to the multitude of individual differences among us all.

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What About Protein Powders And Supplements

Another way to get protein is through supplements, although whole foods should always be the main source of nutrients in a healthy diet. Supplements are just that, meant to supplement a diet. Your client may benefit from supplements if she struggles to get enough protein for various reasons: limited time to cook, not motivated to cook, or a vegan diet.

Some protein supplements you can recommend include whey or casein powders or pea, hemp, or rice protein powders for vegans. There are also more specialized supplements, like branched-chain amino acids for clients trying to restrict calories or meet very specific training goals.

Protein can be a confusing topic for your clients, especially women because most research and discussion is geared to men. Help your female clients by providing this important information about how, when, what, and how much protein to eat for health, weight maintenance, and strength and fitness.

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