How Much Protein Should I Have To Gain Muscle

What Is The Best Protein To Build Muscle


The best proteins to build muscle are those that contain all of the essential amino acids the building blocks for protein that the body cant make on its own which are called complete proteins.

Varying your protein sources in your diet can help assure you get a wide range of amino acids. Research shows that protein sources high in the amino acid leucine can increase muscle growth.3 Dairy foods, like whey protein, are high in leucine.

How Much Protein Should I Eat To Lose Weight

If youre looking to lose weight, eating plenty of protein will be an important part of the equation.

Why is protein important for weight loss?

Think of it this way: protein is the only macronutrient you dont store.

  • Carbs are stored as muscle glycogen.
  • Fat is stored as body fat.

Your body can use either as a fuel source while its in a calorie deficit.

Not so for protein.

Meaning most of the protein in your body is currently doing a job: building muscle tissue, making enzymes, strengthening bones, etc.

If you dont eat enough protein, your body will turn towards your muscles for its needs.

So if youre not careful when youre losing weight, you could lose muscle AND fat.

Obviously, from a health and physique standpoint, this is not good.

Thats why you need to eat plenty of protein and strength train when youre in a calorie deficit so you lose fat while retaining your hard-earned muscle mass.

The other important point about protein and fat loss: protein will help you stay full.

If youre trying to lose weight, keeping your hunger at bay will be critical. Luckily, studies have found that those on a high-protein diet tend to eat fewer calories overall.

If you cant seem to lose weight, start eating plenty of protein!

Are you currently on a weight-loss mission?

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How Much Protein Do We Need

Short answer: It depends.

Lets look first at the current Recommended Daily Allowance .

The RDA for protein is 0.8 g/kg the more you weigh, the more protein you need:

  • A 150-lb person would need 68 x 0.8, or about 54 grams of protein a day.
  • A 200-lb person would need 91 x 0.8, or about 73 grams of protein a day.

That generally works out to about 10 percent of daily calories coming from protein.


RDAs were originally developed as a way to prevent malnutrition to represent the minimum amount of a nutrient we need to not die .

Youre not dead is not the same thing as Youre kicking ass.The RDA for surviving may be different than what we need to thrive.

The RDA is also a very general recommendation. It doesnt take other things into account, such as:

  • How much total energy we eat or need
  • Our carbohydrate intake
  • What activities we do
  • How eco-friendly various protein sources are

The Institute of Medicine suggests a huge range in individual protein requirements from 0.375 g/kg to 1.625 g/kg body weight .

In other words, our hypothetical 150-lb person might have protein needs ranging from 26 to 111 grams per day.

Well that narrows it down nicely, doesnt it!?

Lets take a deeper look: Amino acidsProtein in our food is made up of many different building blocks, or amino acids.

Most people focus on Recommended Daily Allowance for total protein, but they dont think about how much of each amino acid they might need.

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Protein For Building Muscle

The more protein in your muscles, the bigger and stronger your muscles can get.

Bodybuilders have long known that there is an anabolic window after a workout during which muscles are especially greedy for amino acids.

So, if youd like to build muscle, make sure you eat a protein-rich meal within a few hours after training. Some advanced folks also like to add branched-chain amino acids or essential amino acids as a during-workout or after-workout supplement.

Here, it seems that a fast-digesting animal protein supplement is better at getting your body to make more muscle compared to plant-based protein . Of course, you can also just eat real food after working out.

How Much Protein Should You Consume If You Are Trying To Gain Weight

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Many people trying to gain weight prefer to gain lean muscle mass instead of body fat. Consuming plenty of protein is important to help maximize lean muscle mass gains. Increasing calorie intake and exercising are also important components of healthy weight gain. The American Dietetic Association reports that athletes trying to gain weight should consume protein at each meal and snack.

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Which Factors Could Affect Your Calculations

You might have higher or lower protein needs for different reasons. Women typically have less lean mass than men and require less protein in general.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have higher protein needs. Also, if youre recovering from any kind of injury, your needs may be higher as your body is in a state of repair.

If youre trying to lose weight and are currently consuming too many calories, you might have to cut back on protein intake as part of an overall lower-calorie diet.

However, keeping your percentage of calories from protein the same will help preserve your lean muscle mass and potentially promote muscle growth based on exercise.

How Much Protein Do You Need To Lose Fat

The only way to lose weight is to create a caloric deficit, meaning you eat fewer calories than you consume, Sauza says. Eating protein as part of a well-rounded diet can help satiate you so you eat fewer calories overall, but simply increasing your protein intake without creating a caloric deficit will not make you lose weight.

Another benefit to eating protein is that it helps your body build muscle, which can slightly increase your resting metabolism and help you burn more calories overall.

If you are trying to lose weight and are concerned about maintaining muscle mass, make sure protein comprises 10% to 20% of total daily calories, Sauza says. But, this varies depending on age, weight, and current strength training regimen.

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Based On Weight And Activity

There are other ways to get a more specific protein goal that may take into account lean muscle mass and/or physical activity level.

The average adult needs a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kg, would need about 60 grams of protein per day.

However, your protein needs may increase if you are very active. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Dietitians of Canada suggest that athletes need more protein.

These organizations suggest that athletes consume between 1.2 grams and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, with endurance athletes at the lower end of this range and strength and power athletes at the higher end.

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

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

One question that I get asked frequently is What is are the best sources of protein? To answer that, you should understand that there are two types of protein that occur in nature: complete proteins and incomplete proteins . Very simply, complete proteins are most commonly found in animal sources and incomplete proteins are primarily found in plant sources.

Getting enough protein to build muscle is often considered easier if you eat animal sources, but you can absolutely meet your protein needs as a vegetarian or vegan too. Just be sure that youre eating enough calories and getting a variety of foods throughout the day. Be sure to include legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and soy products in your diet, as well as eggs and dairy if youre vegetarian.6

You might have heard that you need to combine different plants foods, like beans and rice, to get all of the necessary amino acids to form a complete protein. Theres actually no need to consciously combine different foods at each meal as long as youre eating a variety of foods from day-to-day. Reason being, your body maintains a pool of amino acids that it uses to complement dietary proteins.7

That being said, if you are vegan or vegetarian and you want to build muscle, you should consider using a high-quality plant protein supplement. Including a plant-based protein powder can help ensure that youre getting enough protein to support muscle growth. A few great brands include: PlantFusion, and Sunwarrior Warrior Blend.

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Is Lentils High In Protein

Lentils are also a food high in protein that is also meat-free. Basically, lentils are a type of legume. They are known to be the worlds best plant-based protein. So, vegans as well as non-vegans love lentils as they are good sources of protein. This is one of the top protein sources for vegans!

Overall, the protein content in a cup of boiled lentils is about 18 grams. Besides protein, lentils are also high in other essential nutrients and minerals such as fiber, iron, magnesium copper, folate, manganese, etc.

Why Protein Is Important For Building Muscle

To build muscle, your body needs to synthesise more muscle protein than it breaks down, which is why anyone looking to build muscle needs to make sure they’re getting enough protein, as well as making sure the work they’re doing in the weights room is right too.

It’s not just us saying that, there’s a body of research that confirms the part protein plays in building muscle. A study published in the journal Nutrients, for example, found that “protein intake was shown to promote additional gains in lean body mass beyond those observed with resistance exercise alone.”

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How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle

The recommended dietary allowance for a healthy, non-pregnant adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But let’s be clearthe RDA is just the minimum amount you need to meet your baseline nutritional requirements.

So, that’s your RDA if you’re solely seeking to maintain your current muscle mass. But if you’re trying to build muscle, Calder suggests heeding the American College of Sports Medicine‘s guidelines, and consuming between 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight of protein daily .

According to Moreno, this number can shoot up even higher in athletic individuals with super high training demands. This is why she emphasizes the importance of taking your own unique needs into account. If you’re doing high-intensity exercise or heavy weightlifting five to six days a week, then your protein needs will be higher than they are for someone with the same bodyweight who’s sedentary or only engaging in light exercise two to three days a week. Because it can be a process of trial and error to find your “sweet spot,” she suggests monitoring your progress closely as you increase your protein intake, and tweaking as needed.

If Youre A Regular Person Who Just Wants To Be Healthy And Fit:

How Much Protein You Should Eat to Build Muscle
  • If youre over 65, eat more protein.This helps slow down age-related muscle loss, which improves long-term health and quality of life.
  • If youre a plant-based eater: Plan your meals carefully.Without animal products, youll probably have to work a little harder to get enough protein. You might consider adding a plant-based protein powder to help yourself out.

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How Protein Supports Your Muscles

Protein is made up of amino acids that act as building blocks for your bodys cells and tissues, including muscle mass. Meaning, your muscle is made up of protein.

These amino acids are essential for supporting numerous bodily functions. If you arent getting the required nutrients – like amino acids – through food, your body doesnt have what it needs and has to compromise. This involves stealing amino acids that are stored in your body which can lead to muscle loss over time.

The Effects Of Protein

Protein intake affects how much lean muscle you gain from exercise. If eating more protein enables more muscle growth, then any additional protein to your usual diet should help, right?

Its not quite that simple.

Researchers have discovered a phenomenon called the protein change theory. If you want to gain more strength and muscle by adding protein to a typical diet, theres evidence you cant just add a little more to make a difference.

Research has shown the increase in your diet must be significant.

The protein change theory was created after researchers noticed conflicting results of studies.

In studies when strength trainees increased their habitual protein intake, some gained strength and muscle, and others saw no change.

When looking closer at how much the intake was increased between those who got stronger and those who didnt, a clear answer stood out:

  • Studies showing noticeable strength and muscle gains averaged a protein consumption increase of 60%.
  • Studies with small increases, such as those under 20%, led to no changes.

In terms of actual amounts, a 60% increase for a person who eats 50 grams of protein per day is jumping to a daily amount of 80 grams .

To maximize muscle and strength growth, protein intake can have an effect. According to the protein change theory, a large increase, perhaps as much as two-thirds of your current intake, may be needed to notice extra results .

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Are You Eating Enough Protein To Build Muscle

When it comes to building some serious muscle, all the work you do in the gym is only half of the battle. The other half takes place in the kitchen. Diet is extremely important when trying to improve your body composition. Without proper nutrients, no matter how much time you spend weight training, youll have a tough time getting the results youre looking for.

Your muscles are made up of over 25% protein along with up to 75% water and stored glycogen . While people generally understand that consuming adequate protein is incredibly important to maintaining lean mass and supporting muscle growth, eating the right amount of protein can be the tricky part.

Ive seen recommendations that range from as low as 50 grams of protein per day to as much as 3 times your bodyweight. Although it sounds good in theory, the traditional more is better approach doesnt necessarily work here. So how much protein do you need when trying to get huge?

How To Calculate Protein Intake For Muscle Growth


To calculate the amount of protein you need to maximize muscle growth, multiply your bodyweight in pounds by 0.7. If you prefer metric, multiply your bodyweight in kilograms by 1.6.

230 lb167 grams

It is worth pointing out that the researchers dont rule out the possibility that a higher protein intake may be beneficial.

They say:

Given that the confidence interval of this estimate spanned from 1.03 to 2.20, it may be prudent to recommend approximately 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day for those seeking to maximise resistance training-induced gains in fat-free mass.

In other words, they think that the muscle-building benefits of protein plateau at around 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.

But, they acknowledge that there may be a small benefit to eating more around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight per day, or 2.2 grams per kilogram.

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Protein Helps You Feel Full Longer

One of the biggest things that impedes weight loss is hunger.

People are far less likely to stick with a nutrition or diet plan if they experience high levels of hunger.

Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients .

Several different lines of research have all pointed to the same thing: higher protein intakes tend to provide more satiety and less hunger.

For example, in one study, high protein snacks allowed people to go longer between eating and also caused them to eat less at subsequent meals .

Another study showed that including protein into a glass of water decreased hunger compared to water alone .

Depending on the source of protein, there does appear to be minor differences in the exact amount of satiety that protein provides, however these differences are minor and dont really make a meaningful impact for most people .

Currently, there is no consensus on the optimal level of daily protein intake in ones diet with regard to stay full. However, roughly 1.8 – 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram daily appears to provide substantial benefit on satiety .

How Does Protein Contribute To Muscle Growth

Much of our body is made up of protein, including muscle, bones, skin, and hair. Because its function is so widespread, theres a constant turnover of proteins in our body some being broken down and some being built up .

The amount of protein we consume in our diets can influence whether were in a building or breaking down state.

Exercising causes stress on our muscles, making tiny tears or injuries in the muscle proteins that need to be repaired. Consuming more calories and protein in our diet than were breaking down provides the building blocks for our muscles to repair and gain mass over time.

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